Based on extensive historical research and embodying a strong sense of place, the films of Kevin Jerome Everson combine scripted and documentary moments with a rigorous formalism, with his filmic subjects inspired directly by gestures, tasks, and conditions of working class African American life. Avoiding traditional strategies of cinematic realism, Everson instead focuses on actions and statements, which are then abstracted into theatrical gestures, re-editing or restaging archival footage, and incorporating non-actor performers enacting fictional scenarios based on their own lives. In these films, historical observations intermesh with contemporary narratives.
Everson appears in person to present a selection of works examining overlooked aspects of American life including SUGARCOATED ARSENIC, a fascinating archival re-enactment exploring African American intellectual, social, and political life at the University of Virginia during the 1970s (made with UVA colleague, historian Claudrena Harold) and the paired films FE26 and SOUND THAT, two divergent looks at work, employment, and the underground infrastructures and economies of Cleveland, Ohio. (2013/2014, 40 min, digital)