Director Spotlight: Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat

On Tuesday August 2, the Northwest Film Center is proud to present Speculation Nation, the latest documentary by artists Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat, who will introduce the film and lead a Q&A following.

Speculation Nation is an incisive look into the housing crisis in Spain, exploring through first-hand accounts the intersections between money, politics, and home life, and the devastating consequences in Spain and internationally. The film dwells in the nuances of the situation in Spain, but’s not difficult to draw parallels to the United States’s own housing crisis in the context of our globally connected world. The film, completed in 2014, is powerful on its own, but the political spirit embodied in its creators takes it to the next level.

This screening and Q&A is an example of their longstanding commitment to the importance of distribution and exhibition, ensuring that their films find an audience and that each screening offers a unique experience, an interaction with community that goes beyond simply watching images on a screen.

Bill Brown is a Chapel Hill, NC-based filmmaker, photographer, and author who has been active for over 20 years, creating innovative and challenging video and multimedia works that explore the relationships between geographical space, memory, technology, and humanity. His films include Roswell (1995), Buffalo Common (2001), and Chicago Corner (2009), as well as collaborations with Sabine Gruffat. His interest in the life of art beyond its production has led to several film tours.

Sabine Gruffat is a Chapel Hill, NC-based filmmaker and multimedia artist whose exploratory, thought-provoking films have screened at festivals worldwide. Her projects span video and animation, mobile media and performance, interactive installation, and more, the main commonality being an urgent sense of contemporaneity and playfulness of form, with works that include The Expeditionists (2007), The Free Translators (2008), and I Have Always Been a Dreamer (2012). Like Brown, Gruffat takes a special interest in the exhibition of her works, and has collaborated with Brown for several exhibitions. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at the prestigious University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The collaborations between Brown and Gruffat are as numerous as they are unique. One of the pair’s longest running collaborations was The Time Machine, a multimedia performance piece that travelled all across the country. Utilizing real-time audiovisual performance including an analog video mixer and game controllers, along with reading, slide projection, digital video, and records, the Time Machine was a futuristic and psychedelic piece that was as fluid and changing as our modern world, epitomizing the innovation of Brown and Gruffat’s collaborations.

Another notable collaboration between the two was “La Cyclo-Cinémathèque”, a program of Brown and Gruffat’s films which explore the invisible borders that shape our lives and identities. Brown and Gruffat biked across Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain to show the films over a period of a month, camping along the way. The openness and unconventional resistance behind the bicycle tour was thematically related to the invisible borders of their films, one of many examples of the connections that Brown and Gruffat make between production and exhibition.

Speculation Nation is the latest collaboration between these two dynamic artists, and the screening on August 2nd will be an excellent opportunity to see the filmmakers present the film, and discuss their work and their collaborative creative process.

 

Written by Vincent Warne, PR & Marketing Intern