An Open Letter to NYC: From the Other Side

Wednesday, February 24th, 6:30pm
The Maysles Cinema and the Documentary Forum at City College Present:

From the Other Side

Q&A with Anjanette Levert, journalist, documentary filmmaker and live events producer for the Documentary Forum at the City College.


From the Other Side
Chantal Akerman, 2002, 99 min

At City College of New York
Shepard Hall
160 Convent Ave. (SE corner of 140th and and Convent)
Rooms 290 and 291





The third in a cycle of geographically titled documentaries concerned with the politics of place, From the Other Side finds the late, great Belgian-Jewish filmmaker, and City College Filmmaker in Residence, Chantal Akerman (June 6th, 1960 – October 5th, 2015) traveling to the dusty, windswept towns that line the Mexico-Arizona border in an attempt to put a human face on the United States government's broken immigration policy. Interspersing interviews with civilians and officials on both sides of the border among deliberately extended views of the surrounding landscape, desolate and eerily emptied, Akerman constructs a dialectic between the sparse signs of human presence she discovers in Agua Pietra, Sonora, and Douglas, AZ and the enveloping sense of absence that haunts these huddled communities. Tragic tales of would-be immigrants who disappeared somewhere in the desert or met gruesome ends at the hands of vigilante justice are imparted against a silence as ghostly disquieting as it is respectful and observant. Shot in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when American xenophobia had reached a fever pitch not to be matched until the Paris attacks last November, Akerman's film demonstrates just how little has changed in the last fifteen years.

Q&A with Anjanette Levert, journalist, documentary filmmaker and live events producer for the Documentary Forum at the City College.

This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films

Starting with the periods before, during, in between, and after the two world wars -- until present day -- the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to immigrant filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including filmmakers of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. This series is programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi and takes place at City College in the winter 2016 and City College and Maysles Cinema in spring 2016.

This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.