"A gem of a piece, historical and personal in both its craft and its content, a film in which one can almost feel the breath of the ancients." - John Gianvito
WEST: What I know about her is an experimental documentary about Elizabeth Crandall Perry: adventurer, midwife and distant ancestor to the filmmaker. Ramey and her then 5-yr old son, explore the path Perry took across the American West and film side-by-side through monuments to American expansionism until they arrive at the family farm in Oregon. Juxtaposing found footage, historical narrative and contemporary looks at the Willamette Valley, the film is a meditation on how to understand a past fraught with contradictory points of view and the role of the artist in the making of meaning.
This film was funded in part by a LEF Moving Image Grant and a Faculty Advancement Fund grant from Emerson College. The film played at BIDEODROMO, Bilbao, Spain, the 14th Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris where it won a jury prize. The film is also playing at the 100$ film festival, Calgary, OTHERCINEMA in San Francisco and the 51st Ann Arbor Film festival. WEST won best 16mm film at the $100 film festival, Calgary, 2013 and Grand Champion at The Haverhill Experimental film festival, Haverhill, MA 2013!
Kathryn Ramey is a filmmaker and anthropologist whose work operates at the intersection of experimental film processes and ethnographic research. Her award winning and strongly personal films are characterized by manipulation of the celluloid including hand-processing, optical printing, and various direct animation techniques. Her scholarly interest is focused on the social history of the Avant-Garde film community, the anthropology of visual communication and the intersection between avant-garde and ethnographic film and art practices. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the Social Science Research Council on the Arts fellowship, the LEF New England moving Image Grant and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship. She has published articles in Visual Anthropology Review and The Independent as well as the anthologies Women’s Experimental Cinema (Duke), Made to Be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology (U of Chicago), Anthropology and Art Practice (Berg), and Experimental film and Anthropology (Berg) has screened films at multiple film festivals and other venues including the Toronto Film Festival, the TriBeCa film festival, MadCat Women’s Film Festival, 25fps Experimental Film Festival in Zagreb, Croatia and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC.Her book Experimental Filmmaking: Break the Machine is due out from Focal press in Spring 2015. It is a thinly veiled experimental ethnography on the contemporary experimental film scene masquerading as a textbook on experimental film techniques written in the freehand voice of a zine.