Shaving Feet: The Premonition of Black Female Experimental Filmmaking

Los Angeles Filmforum and Ways of Seeing present Shaving Feet: The Premonition of Black Female Experimental Filmmaking

Expired November 6, 2022 6:00 AM
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Los Angeles Filmforum and Ways of Seeing



Shaving Feet: The Premonition of Black Female Experimental Filmmaking


Program curated by Mariam Kere (Mars) of Ways of Seeing


October 15 – November 5, 2022

Online via Eventive


Tickets: $12 general, $8 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members


Including pre-recorded conversation with filmmakers Safiyah Chinere, Sonya Mwambu, Paige Taul, Sylvie Weber, and curator Mariam Kere!

Shaving Feet inquires into how filmmaking is a practice heavily influenced by the values of premonition and thought, rather than industrial processes. This objective places film as a revolutionary act for psychic intervention -- birthed out of the knowledge that creating has insisted, for oppressed peoples, a limiting of ancestral pasts. Black people head moving political landscapes, create social trends, and new communal and kaleidoscopic futures through narrative forms. This use of ancestral history to create art, specifically films, is that of a prophetic nature.

Shaving Feet features documentary and narrative films from Black women, exclusively curated by Ways of Seeing, a project which aims to curate, canonize, and archive the artistic works of women of color. As a result, the filmmakers in this program intercept Brazil, Germany, Canada, and the United States. This roster showcases mid-career filmmakers with previous exhibitions.

This roster, exemplified by Sylvie Weber’s The Prophetess, shot and filmed in Congo, tells the story of the great mother spirit, Kumpa Vita, whose revolutionary myth allows for an all-female community to set out for a new future. Liliane Laborde-Edozen’s Saudade implores the origins of Afro-Brazilian identity as a longing for African kindredness. Lastly, this program is personified by Sonya Mwambu’s circa, which is an experimental reimaging of the infamous haunting of the Austin family, redefined as a legend that is Black and queer.

Each film in the collection, centered on the mythic, ghostly and psychohistorical, has been exhibited at Blackstar Festival, Toronto History Museums, Andy Warhol Museum, The Flaherty, as well as been under the tutelage of Director X. Shaving Feet by Ways of Seeing expands and coincides with other independent curatorial projects like New Negress Film Society, No Evil Eye Cinema, and as of recently Straight Lick. The program also seeks to continue the work and to elaborate on the visual language of filmmakers like Madeline Anderson of I Am Somebody, Julie Dash, Camille Billops of The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks, Ngozi Onwurah, and Cauleen Smith of Drylongso. Thematically, it excitedly explores how film is a fundamental aspect of an emerging Black spirit theory, coined by Akwaeke Emezi.

Ways of Seeing is a curatorial project meant to bridge the gap between three sectors—Black and women of color filmmakers, historic community spaces, and most importantly the communities and individuals they create for. Its basis is to elevate film culture in local communities by using the iconoclast visions of women. In introducing community members to a burgeoning culture, it creates an immersive space for filmmakers to exchange services, time, and visibility between respective institutional spaces and themselves, demystifying mysteries around filmmaking and practice.

Mariam Kere (Mars) is a film programmer and curator. Her first curatorial program "FEMMES" premiered at the NYC Cultural Institutions Group, Weeksville Heritage Center. She has collaborated with the Schomburg Center for Black Research, Los Angeles Philharmonic, assisted the Brooklyn Academy of Art, and is a program assistant for the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, Washington. A child of Ivorian and Burkinabe peoples, her film administration practice is a conviction about the liberatory relevance of African cinema and the amassed legacies of Afro-diasporic film cultures and auteurs. In line with lineage, she is invested in the speculative, the transcendental, the flying Africans, the unseen burial grounds of the diaspora. She develops an anthology series bordered by a concatenation of Andinkra symbols self-created in moments of reverence and joy. She is creator of Ways of Seeing, a film hub that canonizes, archives, and curates the work of Black women and women of color filmmakers by screening.

Why do we get sick? We are dependent on systems. We see harmful images on television screens, social media and even witness what others do. Unsure about what to do with ourselves, we ask what does it truly mean to be alive?

Safiyah whose work is grounded in the spaces between those whose stories we tell and those we don’t brings the stories of women, people of color, queer people, to the fore. Most often, Safiyah’s subject matters exists at the intersection of all three. The specific space of her subject matter gives Safiyah firm footing to develop a visual style necessary to operate within the fertile interior spaces of these communities. Safiyah presents a stimulating and refreshing approach to capturing the faces, bodies, and various expressions of intimacy; slowing down the pacing and magnifying spaces to highlight that which is so often overlooked, dismissed, or delegitimize, all while maintaining her wholehearted and sincere storytelling.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    3 min.
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Safiyah Chinere
  • Filmmaker
    Safiyah Chinere