We are excited to announce that Kathryn Ramey has been selected as the 2020-21 recipient of the Film Study Center-LEF Foundation Fellowship with her project “El Signo Vacío (the empty sign).” Using educational, touristic and military media/artifacts from the United States alongside contemporary voices, images and sounds from Puerto Rico, “El Signo Vacío (the empty sign)” is a feature-length cinematic essay interrogating the 120-year US occupation of Puerto Rico to reveal how US democratic narratives effectively obscure its role as a colonial power in the region. This is a re-educational film asking the filmmaker and the US viewer to reconsider their role in geopolitics.
Kathryn Ramey is a filmmaker and anthropologist whose work operates at the intersection of experimental film processes and ethnographic research. Her award-winning and strongly personal films are characterized by manipulation of the celluloid including hand-processing, optical printing, and various direct animation techniques. Her scholarly interest is focused on the social history of the Avant-Garde film community, the anthropology of visual communication and the intersection between avant-garde and ethnographic film and art practices. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the Social Science Research Council on the Arts fellowship, the LEF New England Moving Image Grant, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship; and she is a Creative Capital awardee. She has published articles in Visual Anthropology Review, The Independent, JumpCut and Ethnoscripts as well as the anthologies Women’s Experimental Cinema (Duke), Made to Be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology (U of Chicago), Anthropology and Art Practice (Berg), Experimental Film and Anthropology (Berg) and Looking with Robert Gardner (SUNY). Her films have screened at festivals and other venues including the Toronto Film Festival, the TriBeCa film festival, MadCat Women’s Film Festival, 25fps Experimental Film Festival, Jihlava Documentary Film Festival, Alchemy Film Festival and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC.
Ramey’s book Experimental Filmmaking: Break the Machine (Focal Press 2016) is a thinly veiled experimental ethnography on the contemporary experimental film scene masquerading as a textbook on experimental film techniques written in the freehand voice of a zine. She is a full professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College.
The FSC-LEF Fellowship, open to Boston-area nonfiction filmmakers who are not currently affiliated with Harvard, aims to foster connections between Harvard filmmakers and those in the surrounding communities. One filmmaker per academic year receives a $10,000 grant (jointly funded by FSC and LEF Foundation), access to FSC production and post-production equipment, and the opportunity to participate in the Harvard FSC community through work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and other activities. Applications are accepted in the January round of the LEF Moving Image Fund production and post-production grant cycle.
We look forward to welcoming Kathryn into the FSC community for the academic year 2020-21!