CEE | Center for Experimental Ethnography
During our November Third Thursday convening, Sosena Solomon and Peter Decherney, directors of DREAMING OF JERUSALEM (a film about the Jewish community in Gondar), and Michelle Y. Hurtubise will discuss different forms of collaboration.
Sosena Solomon is an award winning social documentary film and multimedia visual artist from Ethiopia. Intuitively selecting subjects and stories, she is particularly interested in spaces of transition and change, acting as a cultural preservationist. Her work, whether presented as a film or an immersive 3-dimensional experience, explores cross sections of various subcultures and communities in flux, carefully teasing out cultural nuances and capturing personal narratives via arresting visual storytelling and cinéma vérité stylings. Sosena has worked for many years in the commercial and nonprofit sectors and has worked as a Director and Cinematographer on many short film projects including “Sole”, a documentary on sneaker culture that premiered on PBS affiliate MINDTV, and “MERKATO,” filmed on location in one of Africa’s largest open-air markets and exhibited internationally as an audio, visual, and sensory installation. Sosena earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Social Documentary Film from The School of Visual Arts in New York, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Television Production from Temple University. She is a recipient of The Leeway Foundation Art and Change grant (2013) and the Transformation Award (2014).
Peter Decherney is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher. He is Professor of Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar. Since 2015, he has directed a series of documentary and virtual reality films about global migration and on the political role of artists. FILMMAKING FOR DEMOCRACY IN MYANMAR (2015) took viewers into the world of Myanmar’s politically subversive straight-to-DVD film industry. His first virtual reality project explored an experimental refugee settlement in Kenya near the South Sudanese border. He followed with a 12-episode docuseries THE HEART OF PUERTO RICO (co-directed with Jean Lee) about artists after Hurricane Maria. The series won Best Virtual Reality Experience at the 2020 AT&T Film Awards. His most recent film, DREAMING OF JERUSALEM (co-directed with Sosena Solomon), about the Jewish community in Gondar, Ethiopia, is a Discovery+ Original. He is also the author or editor of six books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, and Inside Higher Ed, among other places. His free online course on the history of Hollywood has enrolled more that 65,000 learners.
Michelle Y. Hurtubise (she/her) is a Visual Anthropology Ph.D. candidate at Temple University researching narrative sovereignty, Indigenous media, and diverse festival networks through the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the development of Kin Theory, a global Indigenous media makers database. With a background in arts and activism, she did human rights and media work in Rio de Janeiro as part of her Master’s thesis at New York University, and she received a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Michelle was a Flaherty Film Seminar Fellow and a Society for Visual Anthropology/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellow. Currently a research strategist at the Nia Tero foundation, she has also worked with the Center for Artistic Activism and the Center for Media, Culture, and History.
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