The Northwest Film Center, Oregon Arts Commission, and The Oregon Community Foundation announced Julia Oldham, Howard Mitchell, Roland Dahwen Wu, and Arianna Gazca as the winners of the 2018 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship (OMAF).
Julia Oldham’s work combines live action video with traditional animation to create narratives about science and nature. She creates fantastical worlds by layering animated sequences and video footage, and through this process explores the far reaches of outer space and the deep seas, has dreamlike encounters with animated birds and coyotes, and finds the potential for romance in mathematical equations. Her work has been screened/exhibited at Art in General in New York, NY; MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, NY; BRIC in Brooklyn, NY; Northwest Film Center in Portland, OR, and many other locations.
Oldham’s OMAF funded project will concern packs of dogs living in the wake of the Chernobyl Power Plant disaster. She plans to make a dialogue-free short film called Fallout Dogs in the exclusion zone of the region, following and filming the strays littered throughout the zone in order to capture an impression of Chernobyl through the eyes of the dogs.
Portland-based director Howard Mitchell (aka El Gato Negro) was born in Panama to an Afro-Panamanian mother and an American father. As an artist, he’s taken what he’s learned from his background as a painter, poet, and musician and combined these disciplines. Mitchell says, “I believe in viewing art and cinema as a means of elevating consciousness, politically and culturally…as a liberating art.” Mitchell’s work has screened at the Toronto International Film and Video Awards, the Portland International Film Festival, and other festivals, and has also appeared on OPB’s Open Lens program.
The OMAF funding will support the production of Mitchell’s short film Killingsworth, a noir thriller that touches on issues surrounding displacement and gentrification in the African American community, shedding light on voices and experiences that are being misheard, misrepresented or worse, muzzled.
Roland Dahwen Wu is a filmmaker whose work explores migration, race, and memory. His films and installations have been shown at CalArts, Time Based Art Festival, Northwest Film Center, and numerous galleries. He is a 2018 artist-in-residence at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Creative Exchange Lab. His films span nonfiction, experimental, and narrative genres, and are commonly marked by poetry: from his first documentary about the whistling language of the Canary Islands (There are no birds in the nests of yesterday) to his recent short film about 20th century Asian migration (Haft-Seen).
Wu’s Fellowship award will help fund his upcoming short film Borrufa. Based on true events and shot on Super 16mm, Borrufa involves a grown son and his parents when they learn that his father has a secret, second family. Following the lives of an immigrant family in Oregon, Borrufa is a subtle, introspective work about loneliness, betrayal, and reconciliation.
Arianna Gazca is a Portland-based artist and filmmaker who works with mixed media through the moving image. Her work often deals with visual music and color psychology, and has been featured in screenings and exhibitions including the Punto y Raya Festival 2016, the Melbourne International Animation Festival 2017, Bogota Experimental Film Festival/CineAutopsia 2017, and Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal’s Night Lights Series 2016. She holds a B.F.A. in Animated Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Gazca will apply her OMAF grant funds towards producing a short, experimental animated visual music film called Metanoia. Inspired by the work of avant-garde artist and filmmaker Viking Eggeling, Gazca intends to, “create a genuine, significant connection with its audience through abstraction and characters that don’t explicitly represent anything concrete or realistic, but are still understood for something.” The completed project will combine live action footage with post-production digital manipulation and traditional ink and paint based animation to realize a highly textured visual accompaniment to the musical elements of her piece.
The Oregon Media Arts Fellowship supports filmmakers who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the media arts. Jurors reviewed 50 submissions from applicants throughout the state, weighing artistic merit, the potential of the proposed activity to advance the artist’s work, and the feasibility of the projects proposed. This year’s combined $23,000 of Fellowship awards are funded by the Oregon Arts Commission and The Oregon Community Foundation and administered by the Northwest Film Center.
The application deadline for the 2019 Oregon Media Arts Fellowships is January 1, 2019. Applications are available online.