American Fringe Cinema Workshop

Editor's note:

This workshop was featured at WMC - and the Tunisian Press Agency TAP

June 09, 2023

Columbia Global Centers | Tunis, in partnership with L'Agora, recently hosted an engaging workshop that took participants on a journey through the realm of American Fringe Cinema.

From June 8th to June 10th, attendees had the opportunity to explore a curated selection of thought-provoking independent films, offering a unique perspective on storytelling.

"American Fringe" is a series dedicated to showcasing the genuine essence of American independent cinema. In the past three decades, the meaning of "independent" in American film has become diluted. Films premiering at festivals like Sundance or South by Southwest are often perceived as stepping stones to commercial filmmaking, rather than representing alternative movements to Hollywood production.

The event was led by Professor Richard Peña, a renowned film expert and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University School of the Arts. With his extensive experience in the field, Professor Peña provided invaluable insights into the world of American independent cinema.

Throughout the three-day event, participants had the chance to discover six remarkable films that showcased the "true face" of American independent cinema. The selected movies included "Jethica" and "Markie in Milwavkee" on June 8th, "Actual People" and "Residue" on June 9th, and "Rocio" and "Warm Blood" on June 10th. Each film presented new ways of storytelling and provided glimpses into communities rarely represented in mainstream Hollywood productions.

More about the speaker: 

Richard Peña has been at Columbia since 1989, becoming full time in 1996 and being named Professor of Professional Practice in 2003; he has also taught at Harvard, Princeton, University of Paris/La Sorbonne, Beijing University and the University of São Paulo. Mr. 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 retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Gabriel Figueroa, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Chinese, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Japanese Soviet and Argentine cinema. He is also currently the host of Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.

Check out Pr. Peña's previous conferences in Tunisia: