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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Stan Brakhage, Gilbert & George, Marlon Riggs, 33 wild films like these on OVID for September

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When you tell this story, many people find it hard to believe, but occult filmmaker Harry Smith was at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics during my time there as the Ted Berrigan Award winner, and he was one interesting creature of cinema. Anyway, he and Stan Brakhage the experimental filmmaker were friends.


Some strange conversations ensued, mostly about when Harry pulled a fire alarm at a restaurant because an investor had just given him only $1000, and that was not enough to make his film, but enough to pay the fine for pulling the false alarm where this fat cat was seated in his restaurant.

Being young had its advantages then, because you really didn’t know who these people were or what their work meant.

This is the segue to OVID showing something with Stan Brakhage in it later in September, as part of a slate of 33 films to unspool.

It’s exciting, all of this rarely seen content, on tap like this.

First “The Untutored Eye” and Stan Brakhage Explains His Work



OVID’s official details on the September fest of their very own…

OVID to Release 33 Films in September, Its Most Ever in a Single Month, With a Diversity of Content Including Seven Films by Iconic Black, Gay Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Other highlights include the newly restored and first time available on any platform version of Chantal Akerman’s 

From the East, acclaimed German cinematic essay Heimat Is A Space In Time, Let the Fire Burn, which echoes clashes between citizens and the police today, and more.

NEW YORK, NY - Jonathan Miller, director of, the curated streaming destination for documentaries and art-house films, announced today that OVID will be adding 33 films, its most ever in a single month, to its September streaming lineup—a roster of films with a diversity of approach, form and content unlike that on any other platform. He pointed out the selections of contemporary global cinema, personal essay films, meticulous archival films, oddities and classics from film history (and about film history), and the first release on any platform of the restored version of Chantal Akerman’s From The East on Sept. 24. And as part of its growing library of Black Lives Matter films, OVID is proud to add a collection of seven films from iconic Black, gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs (1957-1994), beginning Sept. 10. 

“If you’ve never heard of Marlon Riggs, you’ll wonder why the hell not. How could an artist this smart, this prescient, this frank, transparent, curious, ruminative and courageous — this funny — escape your notice? Why haven’t these trenchant, masterful video essays, with insinuatingly tangy names like ‘Color Adjustment,’ ‘Ethnic Notions’ and ‘Black Is… Black Ain’t,’ been a part of not just your movie diet but also your sense of self-understanding? How come nobody told me?!” - Wesley Morris, The New York Times. Riggs was an American filmmaker, educator, poet and gay rights activist.

Riggs created aesthetically innovative and socially provocative films that examine past and present representations of race and sexuality in America. The seven documentaries he produced, wrote and directed, which will stream on OVID, include, the Emmy winning Ethnic Notions (1987), the Teddy winning Tongues Untied (1989), Affirmations (1990), Anthem (1991), the Peabody winning Color Adjustment (1991), Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) (1992) and the the IDA and Sundance award-winning Black Is…Black Ain’t (1995). When Tongues Untied aired on the PBS series POV in 1991, it brought about controversy as some public TV stations refused to air it, and it also riled some groups in the religious right.

In 1988, Riggs was diagnosed with HIV. He continued to teach and work on his films, even as his health deteriorated. He passed away on April 5, 1994. The Marlon Riggs Collection is now housed at Stanford University Libraries. Women directors in the spotlight in September include Vivian Qu’s narrative feature Angels Wear White (Sept. 4), about the assault of two teenage girls in China, for which Indiewire called “the perfect film for the #MeToo movement.” 

There is also Julie Bertuccelli’s The Tree (Sept. 11) starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nancy Cooperstein Charney’s Who’s Next? (Sept. 23), which examines how the lives of Muslim-Americans have been affected in the aftermath 9/11, Anna Moot-Levin & Laura Green’s The Providers (Sept. 23), Nancy Buirski’s Afternoon of a Faun (Sept. 29) and Jo Ann Kaplan’s Invocation - Maya Deren (Sept. 29) about the legend of avant-garde cinema.

September also brings Thomas Heise’s cinematic essay through 20th-century Germany history Heimat Is A Space In Time (Sept. 8), the four-part docuseries The Hitler Chronicles (Sept. 8), the epic drama Lumumba (Sept. 11) directed by Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro), Andrei Ujica’s documentary The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Sept. 18), which tracks the rise and fall of the infamous Romanian dictator through his own propaganda footage, and the gripping found-footage documentary Let the Fire Burn (Sept. 17), which chronicles a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and a controversial radical urban group, which came to a deadly climax in 1985.

First-time filmmaker Jason Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history. Other highlights include Tony Manero (Sept. 15) from director Pablo Larraín (Ema, Jackie), a duo of docs that take to the waters include 90 Degrees South (Sept. 22), Herbert G. Ponting's spellbinding chronicle of Captain Robert Scott's heroic and ultimately tragic race for the South Pole, and Drifters (Sept. 22) by early silent filmmaker John Grierson, who creates a ‘city symphony’ out of the North Sea herring fisheries, and a contemporary classic, Camille Claudel  (Sept. 24) starring Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Depardieu.

Films like Gilbert & George’s Absurdist Amusement Like So…



The World of Gilbert and George (1981) Directed by and starring Gilbert & George; BFI, Experimental/Documentary U.K. Gilbert & George are renowned for presenting themselves as ‘living sculptures,’ fusing their art and identity with the external world. Their exploration of the bleak urban surrounds of 1980’s London, powerfully evoke the desires and tensions of its disillusioned youth alongside their own eccentricities. Poetic narration combines with vivid imagery that moves between the startlingly beautiful, the humorous, and the absurd.

Who is OVID? With the help of an unprecedented collaborative effort by eight of the most noteworthy, independent film distribution companies in the U.S., Docuseek, LLC launched an innovative, new, subscription video-on-demand service, OVID is available in the U.S. and Canada. New subscribers can sign-up for a free 14-day trial. After that, subscriptions are just $6.99/mo or $69.99 for an annual subscription. Available on multiple devices including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Roku, Fire TV and web browsers. thanks Signifyin' Works, Vivian Kleiman and Louise Rosen for their help in bringing Marlon Riggs’ films to our platform.

Learn more about OVID at here and their full slate of films.




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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

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