Photo: Working still from Billy & Aaron
Image Maker: Rodney Evans, Part 2
We continue our conversation with director/writer Rodney Evans who will be at the Schomburg Center to showcase his short films as well as clips from his feature-length films including the forthcoming, The Happy Sad.
What motivates you to work in a visual medium like film?
I’ve always been interested in the ways that stories and emotions can be conveyed through a visual medium and how subtext gets communicated through movements, looks and gestures. At the same time I am fascinated by memory, dreams and the subjective nature of history.
Which stories get preserved & passed on, and which ones slip through the cracks?
I was always aware of the lack of film and television representation that reflected any aspect of my experience. I wanted to be an active agent in changing that situation as opposed to bemoaning the state of the things from the sidelines. Since I have also dabbled in the many different art forms (dance, music, fiction writing, acting, photography) film was always a way to combine all of these disparate interests within one medium.
Any films you’d recommend that are out now?
Funny enough, the one that I would recommend out now would be Portrait of Jason directed by Shirley Clarke in 1967. She is one of my favorite filmmakers and her two films Portrait of Jason (1967) and The Cool World (1963) are ones that I go back to over and over again. All of her works has been meticulously restored by Milestone Films and Portrait of Jason is currently playing at The IFC Center in New York.
I discovered her films on a dusty shelf at Kim’s Video in the early 90’s and found both of these films to be deeply affecting and inspiring. Jason is one of the first film representations of an out, black, gay man and is the sole focus of the film. He is a born storyteller and hysterically funny yet also kind of tragic in a way that I think we can all relate to. He is The Happy Sad in many ways…
The Ordinary People film series concludes with Director/Writer Rodney Evans who will showcase two of his earlier short films, “Two Encounters” (1999) and “Close to Home” (1998), a clip from “Brother to Brother” (2004), a recent short film, “Billy and Aaron” (2010) and an excerpt from his upcoming feature-length film, “The Happy Sad” (2013).
After the screening, there will be a Q&A with Evans. Free and open to the public.