Filmmaker reveals places on the margins: Anita Doron to speak at Bennington College
BENNINGTON -- Anita Doron’s film-making career has taken her across the globe to Mexico, Hungary, Afghanistan, Canada’s North west Terri tories and other far-off destinations. Now, thanks to Susie Ibarra’s Cities Arts Forum, her next stop is Bennington College.
The director of feature films like 2012’s "The Lesser Blessed," an adaptation of a novel by Richard Van Camp starring Benjamin Bratt, Doran has been artistically motivated since her childhood in Ukraine and Israel.
"From a very early age, I was very interested in creating emotions in people and making people feel things," she said. "When I connected poetry and film making, I was gone. There was nothing else I wanted to do. I was completely intoxicated by it."
Over the course of her career, Doron has committed herself to exploring and advancing the art of storytelling, gravitating toward whatever media she finds most effective.
"I always found that drama and fictional storytelling was the most truthful way to tell a story," she said. "I can try to create a word which is authentic for a certain character in a certain setting -- then I can let the audience get lost in this world."
She is also currently working on a graphic novel about the human microbiome, in collaboration with scientist Jessica Green and her husband, a fellow storyteller and writer. Doron said she has really enjoyed the unique narrative capabilities of animation.
"It gives you complete freedom," she said. "In film, you’re used to being somewhat bound by the laws of reality and your budget, but in animation and graph ic novels it’s basically limitless. So it’s very, very exciting. You can do anything."
During her visit to Bennington on Mon day, March 24, Doron will lead a creative workshop with students from the college’s Cities Arts Forum, which is lead by faculty member Susie Ibarra.
The forum "looks at the relationships be tween the arts, artists and cities; how cities have influenced artists’ work and how artists have influenced communities and events that have happened in cities," Ibarra said.
Having set her stories in a wide range of locations around the world, Doron said settings are a key component of her work.
"Cities, settings and places are a form of identity. They’re part of who we are, and the reverse -- cities are formed by the people who live there," she said. "I want to understand places through the people that inhabit that place."
"Places on the margins and places that are often misunderstood, those are the places I like," she continued. "For example, Budapest. It’s seemingly the Paris of Eastern Europe, but under the surface there’s lots of darkness and turmoil and politics that are not understood and need to be talked about."
Ibarra said that she invited Doron to speak to her students because her work addresses the capacities and values that art can bring to a city, especially a sense of empathy and the ability to make the foreign feel intimate. She said Doron has an unique perspective on the subject, having lived in both cities and rural areas around the world.
Bennington College will also host a screening of her most recent feature film, "The Lesser Blessed," in its Kino teca theater space. The film tells the story of a Tlicho Indian teenager attending high school in Canada’s remote Northwest Territories. Doron adapted the screenplay herself from the same-titled novel by Richard Van Camp, who lives in the Northwest Territories.
"It was my first adaptation of a novel," said Doron. "I was given this book by a friend of mine, and I fell in love with it."
In adapting the screenplay, Doron said, "I learned how to connect to a story that isn’t inherently mine, and is very different from my experience, yet I found a way into it on an core emotional level that is truthful."
Doron also said she’s excited to work with the students at Bennington, offering some advice to young prospective artists.
"Don’t get disheartened along the way," she said. "Just focus on what you love and the process of creating. The result is not as important as the process of creation. Setting goals for yourself is not as important, what’s important is to make things." If you go ...
What: Filmmaker Anita Doran will speak at the Cities Arts Forum
Where: Center for Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) at Bennington College,
1 College Drive, Bennington
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, March 24
Admission: Free and open to the public
Information: (802) 447-4267,
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