Monday, June 6, 2016

Bijou Presents: 'Chekhov for Children'

Sasha Waters Freyer (photo VCU)
Filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer (pictured left) has been the chair of Virginia Commonwealth University's Photography and Film Department since January of 2013. She directed "Chekhov for Children" (2010).

For its next Bijou Presents event the Bijou Film Center is delighted to be able to screen "Chekhov for Children," along with two short films, in a program called "Through the Eyes of Children."

The two shorts, "Les Mistons" (1957) and “Mouseholes” (1999), will be presented before the feature. The presentation will take place at 1708 Gallery in Richmond's Arts District. This will mark the Richmond theatrical premiere of "Chekhov for Children."

Prior to her stint at VCU, Waters Freyer put in 12 years as an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she taught in the Department of Cinema & Comparative Literature and was the director of film and video production. Her films have been exhibited in noteworthy film festival settings in the USA and abroad. For more about her a VCU podcast from Oct. 1, 2015 can be heard here.

Photo courtesy of the filmmaker.
Waters Freyer's film "Chekhov for Children" is a 72-minute documentary that employs a creative license that's both unusual and quite charming. When an artist stretches to combine elements that might seem unrelated, it's always risky; sometimes it's audacious. When the resulting assemblage creates a unique harmony that is both fresh and familiar, it can outweigh sum of the parts in a way that seems magical.

About the event: On Fri., June 10 and Sat., June 11,  "Chekhov for Children," “Les Mistons” by Fran├žois Truffaut and “Mouseholes” (1999) by Helen Hill will be screened at 1708 Gallery, 319 W. Broad St.. The films will start at 8:30 p.m.

Admission: The Bijou's members will be admitted free; their guests will be asked to make $5.00 donations to the film center.

From Waters Freyer's website:
Born in Brooklyn in 1968, Sasha Waters Freyer is a moving image artist who makes unsentimental films about the loss of innocence, real or imagined. Trained in photography and the documentary tradition, she fuses original and found footage in 16mm film and digital media ... "Chekhov for Children" tells the inspiring story of an ambitious undertaking – the 1979 staging on Broadway of Uncle Vanya by New York City 5th & 6th graders, directed by the celebrated writer Phillip Lopate. Using a wealth of never-before-screened student documentary videos and dramatic super 8mm films from the era, "Chekhov for Children" explores the interplay between art and life for a dozen friends across 30 years – including the filmmaker.
At the 10th Orphan Film Symposium, on Apr. 8, 2016, Waters Freyer was presented with the Helen Hill Award at the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center's Packard Theater in Culpepper. Established in 2008, by the NYU Cinema Studies and the University of South Carolina Film and Media Studies Program, the Helen Hill Award is presented every two years.

The award recognizes innovative work that is in line with Hill’s legacy of creativity and independence as a filmmaker, educator, and animator. Dan Streible, director of the symposium, said:
What interested me is that much of ['Chekhov for Children'] is built out of Super 8 films or consumer-grade videos the kids used at the time. It has an archival component to it, an orphan-y quality. The jury also thought that because it was about children, and is so arresting and engaging, it was a perfect fit for the Helen Hill Award.
Note: Beer, wine, coffee and soft drinks will be made available for purchase at 1708. Because of the way Facebook is set up we needed to create two different pages for the two nights. For more information click on the links below: