Windsor, ON / Detroit, MI—Media City Film Festival (MCFF), Windsor’s annual international festival for film and digital art, celebrates its landmark 25th-anniversary virtual edition: February 8–March 1, 2022

In an act of global solidarity, all of Media City Film Festival’s screenings and events will be completely free to view online, offering public audiences in Windsor–Detroit and around the world industry-level access to rare cinematic gems at no cost. This is made possible with generous support from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, Knight Arts Foundation, and others. 

The first in a series of exciting program announcements, Media City is thrilled to share its 2022 SPOTLIGHT ARTISTS. The series casts a light on moving image artworks that deserve wider critical attention and global viewership, made by some of the most significant artists of our time. Festival Spotlights highlight a rich and varied selection of historical and contemporary film, video, and digital artworks (1978-2021), created by pioneering media artists and cinematic visionaries including Tracey Moffatt (Australia), Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico), Ulysses Jenkins (USA), Cecilia Vicuña (Chile), Ximena Cuevas (Mexico), Tânia Dinis (Portugal), Tony Cokes (USA), and L.Franklin Gilliam (USA). 

Guggenheim Fellow and Artes Mundi Prize recipient Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s new film The Raven, the Pit and the Mare (2021), recently commissioned for the 34th São Paulo Biennial, will have its virtual World Premiere at MCFF, alongside her earlier work The Head That Killed Everyone (2014), described by the filmmaker in plain terms as “instructions to destroy the war apparatus with a spell.”  

MCFF has partnered with New York-based distributor Women Make Movies to offer two seminal films by Aboriginal Australian contemporary art superstar and Dame of the Order of Australia Tracey Moffatt: Night Cries, a rural Tragedy (1990) and Nice Coloured Girls (1987). Masterfully executed, Night Cries is “a dazzling grand opera of silence and maternity” (New York Times), but has yet to circulate as widely as it warrants. A stark and surreal drama, the film follows a middle-aged Aboriginal woman as she tends to her dying mother. The story alludes to Australian assimilation policies that forced Aboriginal children into the hands of white families, with devastating and lasting effects on Indigenous communities. 

A transformative figure in the fields of visual, performing, and literary arts, Herb Alpert Award recipient, Chilean-born Cecilia Vicuña is represented with two films, including her first documentary What is Poetry to You? (1980). Created while living in exile in Colombia following the 1973 Chilean coup, the work investigates poetry’s transformative role in personal relations, as a basis of oral history and the revolutionary imagination. It represents an important evergreen sentiment of social engagement that the festival hopes to encourage, especially during these distanced times. 

African American video art pioneer Ulysses Jenkins, whose first major retrospective will open at the Hammer Museum in February 2022, is a profoundly influential figure who has inspired generations of practitioners for over 50 years. Examples of his early video art pieces, including Mass of Images (1978), engage elements of both performance and video to address racial stereotypes in the media. Jenkins’s works are presented in partnership with Electronic Arts Intermix. 

Celebrated as one of the most important post-conceptual artists of the last three decades, Tony Cokes is no stranger to Media City Film Festival. Cokes’ solo exhibitions at Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein München are forthcoming in 2022. 

No Sell Out (1995) and Ad Vice (1999), two of the artist’s early video experiments tackling themes of racial politics through the lens of pop culture, mass media, and entertainment, will be on view, alongside L.Franklin Gilliam’s classics Sapphire and the Slave Girl (1995) and Apeshit (1999), the latter of which appropriates footage from Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) to challenge xenophobia, homophobia, and white supremacy. Gilliam will be in residence at the Center for Afrofuturist Studies in 2022.

The delirious multi-award winning music video Bleeding Heart (1993) by filmmaker and media artist Ximena Cuevas parodies Mexican nationalist iconography with an intensity akin to religious reverence. All of these, along with many other groundbreaking programs, will be on offer as part of the festival’s upcoming Spotlight celebrations.   

MCFF’s SPOTLIGHT SERIES is curated by Almudena Escobar Lòpez (Galicia, Spain) and Greg de Cuir Jr (Belgrade, Serbia), with input from MCFF Artistic Director Oona Mosna (Windsor, Canada). Media City Film Festival’s 25th Anniversary virtual edition will be available online, free of charge: 

About MCFF: Media City Film Festival is an international festival of film and digital art dedicated to the creation, exhibition, and dissemination of the cinematic arts in Windsor/Detroit since 1994. MCFF is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Knight Arts Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with support from private donors, sponsors, members, audiences, artists, and viewers like you. 

Image credit: Night Cries (1990) courtesy Women Make Movies and the artist © Tracey Moffatt. 

MCFF’s Spotlight Series is co-presented with Women Make Movies, Video Data Bank, Electronic Arts Intermix, and Three Fold.

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