Cinema Studies welcomed award-winning Director Athina Rachel Tsangari as the second annual visiting filmmaker in the Harlan J. Strauss Visiting Filmmaker Endowment. Tsangari engaged in a two-week university residency during spring term 2017 and was involved in a variety of campus activities, including teaching workshops and mentoring students in the CINE 408 “Art of Directing" course, as well as hosting a number of public and private events:
CINE 408 “The Art of Directing”
This course focused on the building blocks to develop a narrative director’s voice. Students explored how to build compelling characters, work with actors and non-actors, and use the power of cinematic language to affect audiences. The award–winning Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari guest taught during spring term, sharing her approach to directing and providing feedback on a specific film exercise. The class viewed and discussed Tsangari’s films, investigated narrative tools and aesthetics, and critiqued classmates’ work as a way to integrate theory into practice. By the end, students were empowered to generate strategies to create personal, original films.
Faculty, students, and the community were invited to join Athina Rachel Tsangari for a discussion on making a living as a film director. Athina Rachel Tsangari holds a B.A. from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and an MFA in Film Directing from the University of Texas, Austin. Through a small role in Richard Linklater’s seminal film Slacker (1991), Tsangari was introduced to cinema and since the mid-nineties has been steadily producing original work as a director, producer, and production designer. Tsangari’s first short film, Fit, was a finalist in the Student Academy Awards. Her first feature, The Slow Business of Going, a sci-fi film shot in nine cities across the world on a small budget, is now in the permanent film collection of the MoMA. Her second feature, Attenberg, premiered in the main competition at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Best Actress Award for its lead, Ariane Labed. In 2015, her feature Chevalier was part of the Official Competition at the Locarno Film Festival and is the Greek entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards® in 2017.
Screenings of Tsangari's Attenberg (2010) and Chevalier (2015) followed by “Question and Answer” Sessions with the Director
The Strauss endowment included two free screenings of Tsangari's films during spring term 2017 for University of Oregon students, faculty, staff, and the community. The first screening in the series featured Attenberg, which was screened at the Bijou Art Cinemas, and was the official selection at Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, AFI Film Festival. The second screening on campus featured Chevalier, which was the official selection at the Locarno Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and was the Greek entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Academy Awards®. Both events included introductions of the films by Tsangari as well as an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the director after the screening.