Our third quarter Lunchtime Lecture was with filmmaker and the Chair of the Department of Photography and Film at VCU, Sasha Waters Freyer. Freyer attended The School of Visual Arts in NY where she got a BA in photography. She went to graduate school at Temple where she got an MFA in filmmaking. Freyer spoke to us about her art practice and her teaching.
I was particularly interested in how she described the relationship between her personal work as a filmmaker and her Chairship at VCU. Freyer said that teaching is part of what allows her to support her artistic practice. This is something which I do not think about often. Professors of arts are able to use that position to support their own work. They probably also gain lots of insight and inspiration from their students.
Freyer also mentioned how a large part of her process for short films was helped along by attending an artist colony. She went to MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and was able to get a lot of work done there. I had never heard from someone who had actually been to an artist colony. Thus, it was really cool to hear about her experience there!
She spoke to us about how the financed the documentary film, Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable, which was of particular interest to me. Freyer said that she financed in a hodgepodge manner. It was a combination of an NEA grant, Kickstarter, and a grant from a documentary foundation. Together, this allowed her to make the film itself. Beyond that, after it had been created and premiered at festivals, PBS wanted to license the film. This gave Freyer and her team a payment from PBS which was able to raise additional funds.
Freyer also noted that documentaries take much longer to make than her shorter, experimental work. They are also collaborative as opposed to her short films which are done mostly independently.
When talking about her short 16mm films, Freyer said some interesting things. She noted that the medium of film is her artistic medium of choice and it IS an artistic medium. Her short films focus on what is different, not normal, and not obvious. Freyer has a painterly attention to color and form combined with poetry. This and the fact that her work is more personal sets her apart from other artists.
Below is the trailer for Freyer’s most recent feature.
Sasha Waters Freyer’s Website
Articles, Links, and Interviews
Q&A: Documentarian Sasha Waters-Freyer in Richmond Magazine
CV on Visura.co