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Wex Brings “Secret TV” to Film/Video Program

Hope Madden Hope Madden Wex Brings “Secret TV” to Film/Video Program
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If you’re not familiar with The Eyeslicer, maybe you should be. Brainchild of Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell, it’s a series of independent and experimental short films, all thematically organized. Season 1, consisting of 10 episodes, included work from Ari Aster, David Lowery and Amy Steimetz, among others.

Season 2, available for preorder at The Eyeslicer website, includes the episode “Marlon said to me, ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s only a movie.’” It works as both a single episode of Eyeslicer’s “secret TV Show” as well as a standalone compilation of shorts on the theme of cinema’s entanglement with sexual assault and mistreatment.

Premiering at Museum of Modern Art in February, the episode consists of 10 shorts curated by filmmakers Kelly Sears, Lauren Wolsktein and Jennifer Reeder.

According to Reeder, Clintonville native and longtime friend of the Wexner Center, the theme came about almost by accident.

“We basically had a bunch of brainstorming conference calls. Did we want to do all new work, did we want to work with all women, did we want some archival stuff? And it was very coincidentally during the initial explosion of the #MeToo movement, and that became a side conversation during these conference calls,” she remembers. “And then it occurred to us that it might be a very interesting and timely but also timeless response to that.”

Reeder said the three took that notion and began to think through which films and filmmakers would be the most interesting to ask to contribute.

“We were very mindful about making sure the collection of videos was totally inclusive,” she says. “We are three white women and it just felt like we needed to do truth to power, do what we say is important to us and have a really inclusive program.”

Filmmakers contributing work to the collection include Kelly Gallagher, Karissa Hahn, Alli Coates, Walter Woodman, Marnie Ellen Hertzler, Nishat Hossain, Abigail Child and Akosua Adoma Owusu, as well as the three curators themselves.

“Vanessa asked if the three of us would contribute something and coincidentally we all did have projects that fit into these themes,” Reeder says.

Reeder’s contribution, I Dream You Dream of Me, is a surreal horror/western that follows an enigmatic woman in white.

“It’s a different kind of piece than I’ve done for a long, long time,” she says. “I wanted to also think about a tiny Western and a tiny kind of horror story.”

When it came to casting, Reeder knew who she wanted.

“I wanted to work with Angelica Ross,” Reeder says. “She has been on the show Claws and she was on the show Pose and she’s going to be in the new season of American Horror Story. She’s a trans actress and activist who I had met through friends and I really wanted to work with her, but she’s busy and in high demand. So I was like, ‘What if there’s no dialog, I’m going to put you in a weird old wedding dress and have you drag this mysterious kind of carcassy thing up a horse trail at the base of a mountain in LA?’ And she was like, ‘Fine. I’ll do it.’”

It was a challenge that intrigued Reeder.

“How do you make something that doesn’t have any dialog but does have some kind of pathos and some sort of interest?” she says. “I liked the image of her in a kind of cumbersome gown dragging something mysterious and heavy up this dusty trail and then discarding it. Whether it was something that we can imagine is a concrete thing or maybe it’s something that’s much more metaphorical, but we know she’s a woman on a journey by herself discarding something quite heavy and mysterious.”

I Dream You Dream of Me joins a slew of fascinating, unusual and often experimental shorts. Other highlights include Alli Coates’s disturbing documentary/social commentary American Reflexxx as well as Wolkstein’s balletic lucha libre contest, Takako vs. Nine Lives.

The Eyeslicer Presents: “Marlon said to me, ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie.’” Plays Friday and Saturday, August 23 – 24 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $6 for members, students and seniors, and $8 for general admission. Same-day gallery admission is free, as always, with a ticket.

For tickets and additional information, visit Wex Arts.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her weekly movie review podcast, THE SCREENING ROOM.

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