August 28, 2008

Bursell earns digital filmmaker residency

by Pete Rosenbery


CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For Cade Bursell, the opportunity to hone her creative filmmaking skills during an upcoming month-long residency will not only benefit her work, but also enable her to offer more creative strategies to her Southern Illinois University Carbondale students.

Bursell, an assistant professor in SIUC’s Department of Cinema & Photography, recently earned a four-week National Endowment for the Arts International Digital Filmmaker Residency at Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo’s Media Arts Center.

Bursell will participate in the residency later this fall. The residency is for a mid-career international experimental filmmaker interested in exploring digital media more fully, she said.

“Being able to work with other artists learn new software and have time to complete new work is a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to learn from the folks there and return with new skills that combine film and digital technologies in interesting ways.”

Bursell’s work covers a wide range of creative, socially engaged media arts practices focusing on human rights and environmental issues. Her work with motion picture film focuses on the hand-made; the manipulation of the film, including literally painting and scratching it. She experiments with the film image and soundtrack in order to impact how the viewer engages with the content.

During the residency, Bursell will present a workshop on sound and place, curate a program of films, including the work she will complete during the residency, and talk with a group of young filmmakers who are making documentaries about the environment.

“My work has to do with humans, nature and the environment and our responsibility and connection to the places we live,” she said.

The residency, which will allow her to work creatively with digital media, provides opportunities for filmmakers who may not have access to these programs or “time to explore a different way of working,” Bursell said. She will have a month to focus on production and post-production work on one of her current films, which focuses on how climate change will impact the Midwest landscape.

Bursell will have access to a film editing suite, a digital editing suite, and technical support. The residency also includes a stipend, provides housing and covers travel costs.

“It’s going to help in my own work but also expand what I can teach,” she said. “It’s a challenge to keep up with the changes in my field. Digital technologies have had quite an impact on the filmmaking workflow.”

Bursell is in her fifth year at SIUC, where she teaches film production, experimental film, queer cinema, and a graduate-level interdisciplinary environmental arts practice course that focuses on the Shawnee National Forest and Cache River. She received her master’s of fine arts in cinema from San Francisco State University. She has taught at San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Art Institute and Film Arts Foundation before coming to SIUC in 2003. Her experimental films have screened internationally.

She is grateful for the support of Gary P. Kolb, dean of the University’s College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, and Deborah Tudor, cinema & photography department chair.

“Luckily, I’m in a college and department that is supportive and sees the value of continued faculty development,” she said.

“We in the college are proud and excited to see Cade receive this prestigious international recognition,” Kolb said. “It is a testament to the quality, beauty, and intelligence of her work as a filmmaker. Over her years with us Cade has consistently demonstrated her commitment to her craft and she is highly deserving of this honor.”

Bursell’s most recent work, submitted with the grant application, “Heron Pond: Boardwalk View,” was selected earlier this month for screening in the Ninth Annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film and Video Festival. The festival takes place Oct. 22-26, in Toronto. The film, based on impressions of Heron Pond, details the changes in the pond over the course of one year.

For more information, contact Bursell at 618/453-2360.