Film Blackness

Michael B. Gillespie
Ephraim Asili

January 25, 2024, 6:30pm
Géza, 306 Maujer

Centering his new three-channel film Song for My Mother (2023), artist Ephraim Asili joins film theorist Michael B. Gillespie for a conversation on and around the elusive concept of “Black Film”.

In an extension of the explorations outlined in Michael’s seminal text Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film (2016), they consider how notions of embodiment, materiality, visibility, and viewership manifest throughout Ephraim’s filmmaking practice, and in relation to the book’s central thesis: “that the idea of black film is always a question, never an answer.”

Image: Song for My Mother (video stills), 2023. Courtesy of Ephraim Asili.

Michael Boyce Gillespie is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies in the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. He is author of Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film (Duke University Press, 2016) and co-editor of Black One Shot, an art criticism series on ASAP/J. His work focuses on black visual and expressive culture, film theory, visual historiography, popular music, and contemporary art. His recent writing has appeared in Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971, Film Quarterly, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. He was the consulting producer on The Criterion Collection releases of Deep Cover, Shaft, and Drylongso.
Ephraim Asili is an African American multidisciplinary artist and educator whose practice centers the African diaspora as a cultural force. Often inspired by his quotidian wanderings, he creates art that situates itself as a series of meditations on the everyday. Ephraim’s art has been exhibited in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His 2020 feature debut The Inheritance premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was later acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art.