2019-20 Lecture Series


Charles Burnett

Thursday, April 9, 2020
6:30 PM

Higgins Hall Auditorium, Brooklyn Campus
Film/Video Speaker Series
Co-sponsored by Black Lives Matter and the Center for Diversity Equity and Inclusion

BA, MFA, University of California, Los Angeles. Charles Burnett is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker and 2017 recipient of a Governors Award (honorary Oscar) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His films have been lauded for their poetic storytelling and incisive observations of class, race, and social relationships. His first feature film, Killer of Sheep, which depicts the problems confronting working class African Americans in South Central, California, was originally submitted as his master’s thesis at UCLA. Hailed as “an American masterpiece” by Manohla Dargis of the New York TimesKiller of Sheep was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 1990. The narrative and documentary films that followed—My Brother’s WeddingTo Sleep with Anger (added to the National Film Registry in 2017); The Glass ShieldSelma, Lord, SelmaThe WeddingNightjohnNat Turner: A Troublesome Property; and Annihilation of Fish, among them—form a body of work that many critics believe offers the richest and most expansive exploration of African American culture and history of any filmmaker of Burnett’s generation. The 2007 rerelease of Burnett’s first two films, theatrically and on DVD, augured a renewal of interest in his work and its discovery by a new and younger audience. In January 2008, his oeuvre was honored by the New York Film Critics Circle.

Burnett is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including MacArthur, Rockefeller, and Guggenheim fellowships, as well as the Horton Foote Screenwriting Award. Killer of Sheep shared first prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was awarded a top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2006, a retrospective of Burnett’s films was presented at the Louvre as part of an exhibition on the theme of exile, curated by Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison. Selected honors also include a Golden Thumb Award, Roger Ebert Film Festival; Career Achievement Award, Chicago International Film Festival; Paul Robeson Award, Howard University; Best Screenplay Award for To Sleep with Anger, National Society of Film Critics; and the American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award, also for 1990’s To Sleep with Anger. Retrospectives of his work include: “The Power to Endure,” Museum of Modern Art (2011); “The Outsider,” Louvre Museum (2006), and “Witnessing for Everyday Heroes,” Film Society of Lincoln Center and Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (1997).

John Cameron Mitchell

Thursday, March 12, 2020
6:30 PM

Higgins Hall Auditorium, Brooklyn Campus
School of Art Dean’s Conversation

Pratt’s School of Art and Pratt Presents bring you a special evening featuring multifaceted artist John Cameron Mitchell. Mitchell is best known for originating the role of Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. His most recent work, Anthem: Homunculus, a musical podcast, was released last fall to great reviews. Join us for a compelling discussion about Mitchell’s creative process moderated by independent filmmaker and School of Art Interim Dean Jorge Oliver. A reception will immediately the conversation.

Mitchell has directed four feature films: How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018), Rabbit Hole (2010), Shortbus (2006), and the legendary Hedwig and the Angry Itch (2001). His numerous awards include a Teddy Award for Best Feature Film, a Sundance Directing Award, a Drama League Award, an Obie Award, and a Special Tony Award. Mitchell’s critically acclaimed musical podcast, Anthem: Homunculus, starts himself, as well as Laurie Anderson, Madeline Brewer, Marion Cotillard, Cynthia Erivo, Ben Foster, Patti Lupone, Alan Mandell, Nakhane, Denis O’Hare, and Glenn Rose.

Jeff Preiss

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Katharine L. McKenna Screening Room, Film/Video Building, Brooklyn Campus
Co-sponsored with the Photography Department

Jeff Preiss is an award winning, New York based filmmaker known across a wide spectrum of filmmaking milieus.

In the 1980s he was co-director of the Lower East Side film venue Films Charas, and a board member of The Collective For Living Cinema. His work from this time was included in MoMA’s survey on the history of 8mm and has been recently preserved by The Warhol Foundation and Anthology Film Archives. In 1984 he traveled to Berlin to shoot the Rosa Von Praunheim produced Vampire Film, Der Bis directed by Marianne Enzensberger. He became a highly influential DP after collaborating with photographer Bruce Weber on a series of films including the Oscar nominated Let’s Get Lost. Soon after he took on directing commercials and music videos (for Iggy Pop, Malcolm McLaren, REM, B52s / Apple, Nike, Coke, etc.). In 1989 he co-founded the production company Epoch Films.

Since that time he has also produced a serial project of experimental film installations exhibited at venues including MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, MOCA Los Angels, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Musée dʼart Moderne de la Ville Paris, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin and the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam. He has made collaborative work with artists including Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, R.H. Quaytman, Christian Philipp Müller, Josiah McElheny, Nicolás Guagnini, Karin Schneider and Anthony McCall. In 2004 he completed an 8 screen film installation on architectural cinematography commissioned by Rem Koolhass that traveled with the OMA retrospective CONTENT. His work is in the collection of MoMA, MOCA Los Angeles, The Reina Sofia in Madrid, The Hessel Museum and Anthology Film Archives. In 2005 Preiss cofounded the experimental gallery, ORCHARD in New York. His program there was instrumental in the founding of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn where he currently serves on the board.

He won the Venice Film Festival Critics Awards for the documentary Let’s Get Lost, which also was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2012 his experimental film STOP was a selection for the 50th New York Film Festival and in 2014, his first feature narrative Low Down won the Sundance Film Festival for cinematography and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for best actress: Elle Fanning. Preiss is currently in preproduction on a second feature film and working on new collaborative projects with Josiah McElheny, Leslie Thornton and Madeline Hollander.

Kirsten Johnson
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
7 PM

Katharine L. McKenna Screening Room, Film/Video Building, Brooklyn Campus
Open to the public

Kirsten Johnson is a New York-based documentary director, producer, and principal cinematographer on over 40 feature-length documentaries. 

Kirsten Johnson’s CAMERAPERSON, premiered at Sundance 2016, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, won the National Board of Review “Freedom of Expression” prize, and won three 2017 Cinema Eye Honors. Named one of the "Top Ten Films of 2016" by The New York Times​​ and ​The Washington Post,​ it was the Grand Jury Winner of 9 international festivals, won the ARRI Cinematography Award, and is distributed by The Criterion Collection. Her short, THE ABOVE, premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and was nominated for the IDA’s ‘Best Short Award’ for 2016. Kirsten’s camerawork has appeared in the Academy Award-winning CITIZEN FOUR, Cannes Premiere RISK, Academy Award-nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR, Tribeca Documentary winner, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, Cannes winner FAHRENHEIT 9/11. She shared the Sundance 2010 Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for their work on THE OATH. She and Katy Chevigny co-directed the Berlinale premiering DEADLINE, which won the Thurgood Marshall Award. In 2017, she was awarded the Chicken and Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and she is currently a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow. She is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow and was recently invited to be one of the 4% of ASC members who are women.

About the film: THE ABOVE documents a military surveillance blimp over Kabul and its impact on the Afghans living beneath it. 

Kirsten Johnson poster

Access to Pratt Programs and Activities

Not all buildings and spaces on Pratt's historic campus are readily accessible. However, Pratt strives to make all programs, services and activities accessible, and will provide assistance to accommodate any individuals with disabilities. Security personnel, located at booths at 200 Willoughby Avenue and other campus locations, are available for assistance. Additional accessibility resources are available at pratt.edu/accessibility.


Previous visiting artists/filmmakers include:

Trinh T. Minh-ha (2018)
Jim Jarmusch (2018)
Lucrecia Martel (2017)
Werner Herzog (2017)
Jeremiah Zagar (2017)
William Caballero (2017)
Anna Rose Holmer (2016)
Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair (2016)
Terence Nance (2016)
Edward Lachman (2016)
Peggy Ahwesh (2015)
Kelly Reichardt (2015)
Sam Green (2015)
Alex Rivera (2015)
Barbara Hammer (2015)
Lynne Sachs (2014)
Travis Mathews and Keith Wilson (2014)
Peter Snowdon and Bruno Tracq (2014)
Sebastian Silva (2014)
Peter Mettler (2013)
Debra McGuire (2013)
The Yes Men with Igor Vamos (2013)
Chico Pereira (2013)
Eve Sussman (2013)