On April 29 the Park Center for Independent Media and The Flaherty hosted the international launch of Scott MacDonald and Patricia R. Zimmermann’s new book Flash Flaherty: Tales From A Film Seminar (Indiana, 2021). Attended by over 120 academics, students, and independent film enthusiasts, the event – which occurred via Zoom – featured readings by editors and contributors of the book.
Flash Flaherty, the follow-up volume to The Flaherty: Decades in the Cause of Independent Cinema, is a collection of personal memories and ruminations from attendees of the prominent Robert Flaherty Film Seminar over a span of more than 60 years. The Flaherty Film Seminar is an annual event where participants challenge and reimagine the creative process surrounding multiple forms of documentary.
The list of readers featured at the launch included filmmaker Portia Cobb, international film publicist Lucius Barre, filmmaker Susana de Sousa Dias, and author and scholar Laura U. Marks. Their passages detailed experiences at the seminar as well as the lasting impressions it left with them.
Stories read by contributors spanned funny anecdotes, nostalgic reflections, and pensive considerations. Contributor Susana de Sousa Dias read from her passage, “writing this text some years later, I can evoke my Flaherty experience with two words: thoughts and community.”
Editors Scott MacDonald and Patricia Zimmerman also took the opportunity to read excerpts from their accounts at The Flaherty. “For the first time, I experienced how documentary programmed with experimental films could fire up new conceptual thinking,” recalled Zimmerman of her first experience with the seminar. MacDonald recounted his own first experience as well, saying, “I finished that Flaherty and I came back many times because … this was an event that included filmmakers and films that I would otherwise never get a chance to see.”
The event was moderated by Girish Shambu, editor of Film Quarterly’s Quorum, who commented on the variety of the anecdotes recounted during the reading, “it’s hard to imagine this single space encompassing this range of experience”.
International launch book discount with IUP Press: Flash30
Flash Flaherty: Tales from a Film Seminar, coedited with Scott MacDonald, (Indiana University Press, 2021) https://iupress.org/9780253053985/flash-flaherty/
Watch the full book launch here: