Visiting Artist Laura Poitras Named MacArthur Fellow

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation



MFAEDA Visiting Artist Laura Poitras has been awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  Poitras is one of twenty-three fellows announced by the foundation today.  MacArthur Fellows receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years, without stipulations or reporting requirements, offering recipients unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore.

An Academy Award and Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker whose illuminating works explore the realities behind the politics of war in our contemporary age, Poitras has been a visiting artist with the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts since 2011.  The MFA will have the pleasure of hosting her later this month, when she returns to Duke to meet with MFAEDA students over the course of a three-day residency.  In addition, Poitras will visit Duke as part of the university’s Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series, on October 24th at the Nasher Museum.  The conversation between  Poitras and Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel will focus on post–9/11 America from the perspective of the Middle East, the subject of Poitras’s latest work. All events are free and open to the public.  Prior to her visit, three of Poitras’s films will be screened on campus as part of ScreenSociety.

Upcoming Events
Wednesday, October 3, 7 p.m.: Flag Wars
Monday, October 8, 7 p.m.:  
My Country, My Country
Monday, October 22, 7 p.m.: The Oath
All showings, Griffith Film Theater, Bryan Center, Duke University West Campus / 125 Science Dr., Durham, North Carolina (Map)

Wednesday, October 24, 6–7 p.m.: conversation with Laura Poitras and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, reception to follow /
 Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
/ 2001 Campus Drive, Durham, North Carolina

Flag Wars (2003), for which Poitras won a CDS Filmmaker Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, looks at gentrification issues in an urban community where white gay homebuyers threaten to displace black working-class families. My Country, My Country (2006), “…the definitive nonfiction film about the U.S. occupation of Iraq” (The Village Voice) and The Oath (2010), “…a riveting portrait of Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdan, bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden” (The Los Angeles Times), are the first two films in a trilogy about post–9/11 America; Poitras is working on the third installment, about the ways that the war on terror has been imported onto American soil, including increased government surveillance.

Poitras’s  video installation, O’ Say Can You See – a projection of the imagery from Ground Zero on 9/11 with audio recorded weeks later at the Yankees’ come-from-behind Game 4 World Series victory – was also featured at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies in 2011.

Watch Poitras talk about her work here:

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