In my art work, I try to expose the limitations of verbal language by complementing it with complex emotional and visual imagery. My experimental documentary films push the borders between genres, discourses, radicalized identities, psychic states and nations.
I begin my films by immersing myself in a community, asking questions and listening. With Sermons and Sacred Pictures (1989), I returned to my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee in order to piece together a portrait of a person whose historic identity seemed to be tumbling into oblivion. I listened to eleven people as they explored their almost forgotten pool of memories of Reverend L.O. Taylor, an African-American minister who made films in the 1930's and '40's. AVAILABLE FROM WWW.FRIF.COM
In The House of Science: a museum of false facts (1991), I continued using conversations, this time with grown women and young girls from my neighborhood who explored the impact that science and art had on their conceptions of their bodies. AVAILABLE FROM WWW.MICROCINEMA.COM
In the process, I also came to a better understanding of my own teenage fears and awakenings. Which Way Is East (1994) juxtaposes a constantly inquiring camera eye with journal reflections kept by my sister Dana and myself while traveling together through Vietnam. Our conversations with a Hue teacher, a woman in a Cholon temple and a boy on a Danang street reveal to us another side to the Vietnam War, bringing into sharp focus the different experiences of our shared history. AVAILABLE FROM WWW.MICROCINEMA.COM
A Biography of Lilith (1997) weaves together mystical texts from Jewish folklore, interviews, music and poetry as a way of reclaiming a cabalistic parable. The story unravels in fits and starts, like a secret trying to reveal itself, eventually becoming a canvas in which I am able to frame my own role as a mother. AVAILABLE FROM WWW.MICROCINEMA.COM
In 2001, I completed Investigation of a Flame, an experimental documentary portrait of the Catonsville Nine, a disparate band of Vietnam War protesters who chose to break the law in a defiant, poetic act of civil disobedience. While making this film, I received fellowships from the Maryland Arts Council and the Rockefeller Foundation. AVAILABLE FROM WWW.FRIF.COM
In 2002, I worked with artist Jeanne Finley on The House of Drafts (house-of-drafts.org), an Artslink sponsored collaborative website and videotape produced in Bosnia using epistolary correspondences between fictitious characters who contemplate notions of home and exile. The 1990's war in the Balkans serves as a backdrop all of the stories.
I recently finished States of UnBelonging, another cine-essay on war and its effects on the creative spirit. This time I look at one filmmaker killed in the turmoil of the Middle East. This work was funded by the Jerome Foundation and the New York State Council for the Arts and premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in the Fall of 2005. AVAILABLE FROM LYNNE SACHS DIRECTLY AS OF 2/06.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, I live with my partner, Mark Street, and our daughters Maya and Noa in Brooklyn, New York. I currently teach a course called Media Mavericks in the film program at New York University. My work is distributed by Women Make Movies, Canyon Cinema, Filmmakers' Cooperative, First Run/Icarus Films and Microcinema.