June 11, 2015 by J.C. Pérez-Duthie
To win a Fulbright is an honor that still, more than 60 years after the Fulbright U.S. Student Program was created, equates achievement, excellence and leadership.
And those were the very qualities that made it possible for one Miami filmmaker, Andrew Hevia, to join over 1,900 other U.S. citizens awarded the grant to work on a project that aims to increase the understanding between the peoples of the United States and of other countries.
Hevia, who recently graduated from Fordham University with a master’s degree in media entrepreneurship, will be heading to Hong Kong in the fall, taking his experience as a filmmaker with him. Hevia is one of the founders of the Knight-funded Borscht Film Festival, and part of a growing community of indie filmmakers in South Florida gaining recognition nationally. He plans to document the art world in a city that shares commonalities with Miami.
Though Hong Kong is a former British colony whose sovereignty was transferred to China in 1997, it, like Miami, is a multicultural and multiethnic city that has seen its art scene grow and gain an international reputation.
June 11, 2015 by J.C. Pérez-Duthie
Above: Alterations trailer by Juan Carlos Zaldívar
For some eight years now, filmmaker, video artist and programmer Juan Carlos Zaldívar has been working on seeing his interactive short film Alterations come to fruition.
Based on a script of his own, the story is in tune with what has been happening lately with the transgender community in its struggle for civil rights and respect.
Securing funds for a film is no easy chore, however, especially for one where there are no superheroes, explosions, or aliens. This work focuses on the relationship between a young trans person, J, looking to reconnect now as a woman with her mother, who has suffered a heart attack.
Thanks to a $7,500 fellowship from The Robert Giard Foundation and to a Hatchfund campaign, Zaldívar is on the way to finishing Alterations. Of the film, the foundation’s president, Carl Sylvestre, has stated: “With humor and tenderness, Juan Carlos depicts two individuals working to come to terms with the past while navigating their immediate pains.”
The film, shot in Miami, stars performance artist Dani Arranka as J and Betzaida Ferrer as mother Mary Jane. It’s an example of the growing community of indie filmmakers in Miami who are gaining attention nationally for their work.
November 20, 2015 by J.C. Pérez-Duthie
The updated showing schedule is below.
Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass exemplifies perhaps better than any other recent musical piece that it’s not just the spirit can move us, but the music as well.
Originally commissioned by Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church to celebrate its 200th birthday in 2008, the piece bridged the gap between the secular and the religious by bringing together jazz, gospel, vocals, and instrumentation in a unique, original, and exhilarating special liturgy.
Two years ago, the Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning Marsalis embarked on a 16-city tour, “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration,” with the big band that he leads, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the Chorale Le Chateau, directed by Damien Sneed.
Now, viewers of PBS affiliate stations across the country will be able to experience being in those audiences, when the stations screen “Everyone Has a Place,” a behind-the-scenes look at the Knight-funded Charlotte performance at the city’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
“Everyone Has a Place” made its debut this past February on Charlotte’s local PBS TV station, WTVI, and over the next two years, will be shown by close to 100 PBS affiliates covering, covering 80 percent of the country. (The December showings schedule, including in San Francisco, San Diego, and Flint, Mich., are below.) The documentary, made by Miami filmmakers Marlon Johnson and Dennis Scholl and produced by Knight Foundation, has also been exhibited in several film festivals.
“When the piece came to Charlotte, it was the very first time that it had been performed in a southern, African-American church,” says Scholl, former vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “And that was to us an important moment.”
April 18, 2016 by J.C. Pérez-Duthie
Above: Jérémy Gobé, Installation view at bassX in Miami Beach. Photo: Christiaan Lopez-Miro.
This post is part of series on how Knight Arts Challenge winners have taken their arts projects from idea to fruition. You can find the entire series linked below.
The thought of reaching out to, seeking help from, or working with a city agency may induce visions of bureaucratic webs. Certainly, as with any partnership, and especially one that involves the public sector, there can be stumbling blocks. But four Knight Arts Challenge winners have worked their way through the system to build fruitful relationships.
We checked in with four grantees, Miami Beach’s Bass Museum of Art, South Florida-based choreographer Hattie Mae Williams, Detroit’s Skyspace Project and a public art project in St. Paul, to gather insights on how they worked with local governments to pull off their ideas.
The Detroit SkySpace. Map design by Eric McClellan.
1. Pick a partner as excited as you are about the project
Last year on its 50th anniversary, the Bass Museum of Art embarked on a year-long renovation of its Miami Beach facility. But instead of depriving visitors of the museum experience, an ideal collaboration surfaced: bassX, a hybrid concept based primarily in the Miami Beach Regional Library, which happens to be next door. The library now showcases projects, exhibitions, talks and education programs stemming from the museum, and expanding and redefining the library’s role at a time when such institutions are under siege.
“From day one, they were so happy that we were going to build a gallery in their lobby,” Silvia Cubiñá, the museum's executive director and chief curator, said. “And I think that is the most important ingredient: that your partner really must want this to happen. They can’t be halfway. And we’ve had a very excited partner.”
So much so, that what initially emerged as a temporary idea may just grow into something more permanent at the library, Cubiñá said.
Hattie Mae Williams. Credit: Alex Markow.
2. Seek and find the right support
Through her Miami Sites Project, choreographer Hattie Mae Williams took her creativity to specific sites in South Florida with the purpose of showing how spaces could be reclaimed and reintroduced to communities through art, dance, film, music, photography and installations.
December 11, 2014 by J.C. Pérez-Duthie
For decades now, the image of Miami has gone from retirement haven to paradise lost to playground of the world. It’s also sometimes viewed as a bit strange. Lucas Leyva wants to make sure it remains that way: weird.
Leyva is one of the founders of the Borscht Corp., a collective of homegrown creative talents whose most visible and noise-making project is the biennial Borscht Film Festival, a cinematic celebration of an alternative Miami.
This year’s edition runs Dec. 17-21 in various locations, including Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall on the 20th. Every day a major event is scheduled to take place, along with many other smaller ones.
In all, 12 feature films, 29 short films commissioned and aided in their development by Borscht, and many shorts made without Borscht involvement will be exhibited, a total of about 60 shorts across all of the programs, Leyva said.