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Wex Celebrates Film/Video Studio with Picture Lock

Hope Madden Hope Madden Wex Celebrates Film/Video Studio with Picture LockPhoto from Picture Lock: Sixty Six Facebook page.
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In October of 2015, the Wexner Center for the Arts let its secret slip. Celebrating a 25th anniversary, their Picture Lock festival drew attention to the Wex’s Film/Video Studio department, a treasure almost unknown outside the artistic community.

The residency program has provided support – technical, financial and artistic – to film and video artists for more than a quarter century. All this weekend the art center shares some of the studio program’s rich heritage, as well as some of the work created with its help.

A slate of films and visiting filmmakers will emphasize the program and the remarkable art made here in Columbus.

Deborah Stratman’s The Illinois Parables will close the program Saturday night. The filmmaker has worked on and off with the Wex since 1998, having edited in their state-of-the-art postproduction facilities and filmed on campus and around town.

She will be in town for the festival to discuss her film, a piece that, “Breaks apart how it is we see history and how we tell our own stories,” she said.

Stratman’s grateful to the Wex’s residency program because it allowed her an opportunity to get away from everything except the work she was doing.

“To have access to an empty space where I could build the set was definitely useful,” she said. “In the residency, you’re away from your normal obligations and patterns or habits, and I find that I can get much more done in a much more condensed amount of time.”

Filmmaker Charles Fairbanks, whose The Modern Jungle screens Saturday afternoon, agreed that the Wex program is invaluable, but his connection to the art center is even stronger.

“I teach at Antioch College, but I’m not from Ohio,” he said. “I took this job in part because it was close to the Wexner. I’d never been there before, but I knew what kind of programming they did and I knew about the film and video studio. It just made it OK for me to move to Ohio — the fact of it being there.”

More than a fan of the place, Fairbanks relied on the support of the Wex’s residency program to help him complete his latest film.

“I’ve gone to the Wexner, seen screenings at the Wexner a lot, and now I’ve finished my latest film there at the film and video studio,” he said.

Like Stratman, Fairbanks appreciated the time and isolation the residency program offers. But for Fairbanks, there was more to it.

“There are a lot of residencies that can offer time,” he said. “But the thing that’s exceptional about the Wexner film and video program is the expertise, which is the most expensive part of postproduction. I would’ve had to raise $10-15,000 to have that kind of technical sound and color expertise.”

The weekend-long festival screens four features made, at least in part, with the help of their facility. Saturday afternoon also features a program of several shorter works made by accomplished female filmmakers Jennifer Reeder, Ericka Beckman and Cecilia Dougherty – artists supported by the studio throughout its now 27-year history.

It’s a history that’s meant a great deal in the cinematic community.

“I knew about the Wexner,” remembered Fairbanks, “because many films I loved were finished at the Wexner. I would see it come up in their credits.”

“They’re just an amazing resource,” Stratman says. “It’s great how many artists they’ve been able to facilitate over the years.”

Experience the rich legacy of Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Studio Program this weekend, April 7-8.

Full festival line-up:

Sixty Six
Friday, April 7, 7 p.m.
Lewis Klahr in person

This Woman’s Work: Ericka Beckman, Cecilia Dougherty and Jennifer Reeder
Saturday, April 8, 12:30 p.m.

The Modern Jungle
Saturday, April 8, 2:20 p.m.
Charles Fairbanks in person

Saturday, April 8, 5 p.m.
Evan Meaney in person

Cocktail Reception
Saturday, April 8, 6 p.m.

The Illinois Parables
Saturday, April 8, 7 p.m.
Deborah Stratman in person

Picture lock festival pas includes admission to all Picture Lock talks and screenings
$15 members, students, seniors
$20 general public

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her horror movie podcast, FRIGHT CLUB.


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