On January 15, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing and Today Art Museum invite you to a documentary screening of Leviathan and a discussion -- New Frontiers in Documentary: Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab, featuring Richard Peña, Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University.
Especially with the explosion of digital technology, American documentary has enjoyed a virtual renaissance. Yet, many of the fundamental questions for documentary remain. What is the relationship between filmmaker and the filmed subjects? Should the filmmaker always reveal his or her presence? How much background information is need for the audience to understand a film?
These and other issues have been creatively approached by Harvard University's Sensory Ethnography Lab, a group of filmmaking anthropologists, who have developed an exciting, 'immersive: technique that thrusts the viewer into whatever they are filming. In Leviathan (2012), perhaps the group's best-known work, the subject is the American commercial fishing industry, but the film deals with much more: the definition of work, point-of-view in the cinema, and the limits between the human body and the world.
Richard Peña has been at Columbia since 1989, becoming full time in 1996 and being named Professor of Professional Practice in 2003; from 2006 to 2009 was a Visiting Professor in Spanish at Princeton University; from 2015 to 2016 was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. Professor Peña has also served as the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival from 1988 to 2012. At the Film Society, he has organized major film series devoted to African, Chinese, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Japanese Soviet and Argentine cinema.