Speakers Table

Last Chance to See Katie Pumphrey's Primal Art at Susan Calloway

June 8, 2016

Visit Susan Calloway Fine Arts Gallery this week to see "Heavyweight," new artwork by Katie Pumphrey. The exhibition explores themes of confrontation, reflex, territory, instinct, and interaction. Pumphrey's large scale drawings and paintings investigate the primal instinct to move and to be competitive. 


Through both the imagery depicted and the action-oriented application of marks on paper and canvas, Pumphrey explores pushing the body to and beyond its limits, its reactions from threats, and the emotions that drive us to compete.


Artist talk and closing reception is June 11 from 4:00- 6:00 pm.


Susan Calloway Fine Arts is located at 1643 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.

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William Merritt Chase at The Phillips Collection

May 4, 2016

The Phillips Collection is hosting an exhibition of  paintings by William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916) from June 4 through September 11, 2016.


A renowned figure in the international art circles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chase was a brilliant observer of contemporary life, an innovative painter, and an influential teacher. Presented on the centennial of his death, this retrospective—the first in over three decades—will explore the interrelationships in Chase’s work across subject and media, from portraits and figurative paintings, to urban park scenes, domestic interiors, still lifes, and landscapes. Featuring more than 70 artworks, this exhibition examines the full breadth of Chase’s achievements spanning his four‐decade long career to shed new light on the artist’s aesthetic philosophy, artistic practice, and working methods while positioning his art and life within the vibrant international cultural climate at the turn of the century.


For more informaton, visit The Phillips Collection.

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Filmfest DC Celebrates 30 Years

April 12, 2016

Written by Lou Cannon, Feature Writer for The Current Newspapers.


Filmfest DC is celebrating its 30th anniversary this spring, making it the oldest international film festival in Washington, D.C. This film festival brings the best of world cinema—chosen by juries worldwide and selected by Filmfest DC for their emphasis on underserved communities and rarely-heard stories—to the nation’s capital. The festival runs April 14-24, screening 75 films from 35 countries, many of which cannot be seen anywhere else, not even on Netflix. 


This year, films are screening at AMC Mazza Gallerie and Landmark E Street Cinema, with a special screening taking place at the Embassy of France. Information is available on the web


Founder and Director Tony Gittens and Deputy Director Shirin Ghareeb were available for comment recently at the Filmfest DC office in the University of the District of Columbia (UDC).


Before he officially founded Filmfest DC, Gittens was Professor of Media Services at UDC. He and some friends decided to organize a series of films from developing nations and underserved cultures. It was even more of a success than they hoped, which sparked in Gittens the dream of creating an international film festival in Washington.


“It took two years of work to figure out how to make it a festival,” said Gittens. “We screened films you couldn’t see otherwise, and in venues you wouldn’t be otherwise – we went into prisons, schools and nursing homes.” 


Filmfest DC launched in 1986 and welcomed 5,000 film-lovers its first year. Now, Filmfest DC hosts about 16,000 patrons each year. To keep the festival vibrant and the moviegoers coming back for more, Gittens and Ghareeb make a yearly pilgrimage around the international film festival circuit to discover the best of world cinema.

(Photo by: Courtesy of Meridian Hill Pictures) "City of Trees"


“It all starts in May with Cannes, and then we go to Toronto in September and a few others,” said Gittens. “Shirin and I don’t just program films to our taste; we need to see the audience’s reaction. We hear the laughter, we get excited, and we want to share the experience with people.”

Gittens, Ghareeb and the programming committee choose 75 films from a list of 300 to 350 for the final slate, arranging them into series: World View (best of world cinema), Justice Matters (themes of social justice), Trust No One (thrillers), The Lighter Side (comedies), Rhythm On & Off Screen (global music), Shorts (short films), and Cine Cubano, a new and timely series of Cuban film.


Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include: the anticipated opening night feature starring Kate Winslet, The Dressmaker; the world premiere of The Sweet Smell of Spring, a Tunisian comedy; City of Trees, a documentary about D.C.’s own Oxon Hill Park; Tanna, an Australian love story; Roaring Abyss, a film featuring Ethiopian music; Angry Indian Goddess, a social drama focusing on women’s issues in India; My Internship in Canada, a timely political satire; Nahid, a family drama from Iran; Argentina, an exploration of Argentina’s gorgeous traditional dance and music scene; and Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr, a documentary about Guantanamo Bay.


“Our audience is loyal, and they care. They are very thoughtful. They want to discuss the film in the lobby afterward,” said Gittens. To cater to this involved audience and add extra richness to the Filmfest DC experience, the committee schedules special events in tandem with the many of the films, such as director appearances, question-and-answer sessions, discussion panels, Skype interviews, receptions, and dance performances before films.


Gittens said, “We have a strong slate again this year and we keep adapting. We’re still fresh and looking forward to the next 30 years.”


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