T H E  U N S E E N  F E S T I V A L  2018

Remnants of a Dream

Join us on Wednesday, September 19, 7:30pm, for night 19 of the Unseen Festival, with films curated by Amir George. We will screen work by A.J. McClenon, Terence Price & Reginald O’Neal, Onyeka Igwe, Ayo Akingbade, Vonnie Quest, and Stefani Saintonge. Preceded by a performance curated by Steven Dunn, featuring Suzi Q. Smith, Bianca Mikahn, and Jenee Elise Donelson.

He Kind of Like Skipped Over Me and Tells All My African American Friends to Go Sit Down” A.J. McClenon – USA – 2015 – 9 min

Echoes from an interview with Dajerria Becton, a 15-year old girl who was attacked by a McKinney Texas police officer in attendance of a pool party in a predominantly white neighborhood & from audio footage from the McKinney, Texas pool party “incident”, where Black teens were forcibly removed from a predominantly white pool party.

A.J. McClenon was born and raised in “D.C. proper,” and is currently based in Chicago using performance practices, sound, video, movement, theatre and writing to share experiences living in a Black body. A.J. holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in creative writing from the University of Maryland, College Park and has also studied at The New School. A.J. hopes that all the memories and histories that are said to have “too many Black people” are told and retold again. A.J. has performed and shown work throughout the US, at locations like Steppenwolf, The Promontory, Woman Made Gallery, Echo Park Film Center, Chicago Filmmakers, Terrain Exhibitions, Gallery 400, Compliance Divisions, Fine Art Complex 1101 and Longwood Arts Center. A.J. is currently a co-founder of F4F, a domestic venue that cultivates a femme community, centers blackness, and expands upon understandings of what domestic space can be. A.J. also really enjoys being a teaching artist on the West Side of Chicago.

Summer Before Spring’s EndTerence Price & Reginald O’Neal – USA – 2015-16 – 9 min

A young man dreams of a perfect day but suddenly gets hit with a harsh reality, which tampers his views on the best season of the year.

Terence Price II uses photography and video to give us a glimpse of life in Florida outside of the glamour we see in popular ads. Price has been photographing local life in Miami for nearly 10 years. His photos show the changes in its landscapes over time and are a visual documentation of the effects of gentrification on the city and its residents. He captures his own neighborhoods, from Carol City to Eatonville – the neighborhoods that raised him and generations before him – to show the real people who live through times of social strife, joyful and coming together when life demands stress. Price aims to raise awareness to structural inequities by localizing them and highlighting communities and people in Miami. “Summer Before Spring’s End,” a film set in Overtown, is a commentary on the alarming rates of black youth dying by gun violence. The film won the Audience Choice Award at FilmGate Miami’s “I’m Not Gonna Move to L.A.” monthly film festival and has shown at The Living Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery400 in Chicago, IL, and most recently at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, FL. Price is currently a resident artist at Art Center South Florida.

L.E.O. (Reginald O’Neal) was born July 24, 1992 and raised in Overtown, Miami, Florida. Reginald began making music at the age of and painting in 2012. He painted his first mural in the summer of 2012 then in 2013 he met his friend and mentor who will teach him classically. In 2014, Reginald took his first trip to Europe and would complete 3 murals in (Austria, Norway, and Spain) and will enter a collective show alongside his teacher in Berlin, Germany. In the same year, he was invited to his first mural festival in Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic. And since then he’s been doing canvas work, residencies, and murals.

Her Name in My MouthOnyeka Igwe – Nigeria/UK – 2017 – 6 min

Invoking a lineage of female ancestors through embodiment, gesture and the archive, Her Name in My Mouth reimagines the Aba Women’s War, a major anti-colonial uprising in Nigeria.

Onyeka Igwe is an artist filmmaker, programmer and researcher. She is born and based in London, UK. Her video works have shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Nuit Blanche,Toronto and the London, Edinburgh Artist Moving Image, Rotterdam International and Hamburg film festivals. in 2018, she has exhibited at articule, Montreal, Trinity Square Video, Toronto  and The Showroom, London as well as screenings at LUX, Northwest Film Center, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival and Berlin Berlinale.

Tower XYZAyo Akingbade – UK – 2016 – 3 min

Accompanied by a lilting soundtrack, characters wander through London’s concrete jungle as the narrator reflects on the current state of the the city and her imagined future.

Ayo Akingbade is a British Nigerian artist and filmmaker who lives and works in London. She experiments with a range of material, drawing attention to the psychogeographic realities of everyday life. Tower XYZ (2016) speaks to the imagined future of a young woman and her reflections on the ever-changing city of London produced under the STOP PLAY RECORD initiative (2015-2018). The film received a Special Mention Award at International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and won the inaugural Sonja Savi? Award at Alternative Film/Video Festival, Belgrade. Akingbade is a recipient of the Sundance Ignite Fellowship (2018) and Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2018).

Remnants of a Room Vonnie Quest – USA – 2017 – 4 min

Remnants of a Room reflects on a series of paranormal encounters that Vonnies father experienced at age twelve. Vonnie interviews his father as a way to get him to talk about not only the paranormal, but also about the feelings he is harboring toward his estranged father. The interviews are juxtaposed with the recurring images of a house destroyed by fire.

Vonnie Quest was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2017. His interdisciplinary practice allows him to move fluidly between mediums using film/video, installation, zine making and curatorial work as a means to communicate with his audience. He has screened work at Community Frames in Milwaukee WI, Milwaukee Short Film Festival and Milwaukee Film Festival in Milwaukee, WI, Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois Chicago in Chicago, IL, The 12th Annual Heritage Film Festival in Baltimore Maryland, and the 72nd Annual Student Film Festival. His work has been reviewed by Vernacular magazine and 89.7 NPR radio. He currently lives and works in Durham, North Carolina

Fucked Like a Star Stefani Saintonge  – Haiti/USA – 2017 – 8 min

An experimental documentary short based on a paragraph in Toni Morrison’s novel, Tar Baby, about the meditative, mystical life of an ant.

A Haitian-American filmmaker and educator, in 2014 Stefani Saintonge won the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her short film, Seventh Grade. Her documentary, La Tierra de los Adioses, won Best Latin American Short Documentary at the Festival Internacional de Cine en el Desierto. Her work, which focuses on women, youth and immigration, has screened at several festivals in the US and abroad. A member of New Negress Film Society, she is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant, and works as an educator and adjunct professor in New York. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film Studies and Production.

Amir George is a filmmaker and curator who creates spiritual stories, juxtaposing sound and image with a non-linear perception. He creates fragmented vignettes that conjure the secret life of objects both found and collected. The characters that inhabit his stories tend to dwell outside of social norms and exist in the space between and in the process of becoming. Following up from his Better Made Progress collection of work presented in Denver in September 2017.

Reading Curator and Readers

Steven Dunn is the author of the novels Potted Meat and water & power. His work can be found in Rigorous, Best Small Fictions 2018, and Granta.