Empty Quarter. Film screening & presentation with filmmakers Pam Minty & Alain LeTourneau
Free and open to the public.
Empty Quarter (2011, 16mm black & white/sound, 71 minutes) is a film about the region of Southeast Oregon, an area populated by ranching and farming communities, in Lake, Harney, and Malheur counties. The region is roughly one-third of Oregon’s landmass yet holds less than 2% of the state’s population.
Southeast Oregon, though familiar by name is a foreign place, particularly to those who reside in urban environments. It is a landscape in the making, constantly undergoing change, being re-worked. It is a highly politicized landscape, evoking differing opinions concerning resource management and land use. It is also a landscape that is, despite some beliefs, rich with diversity, as seen by the presence of East Indian and Japanese families, ancestors of Basque sheepherders, home to the Paiute tribes people, and to Latinos who have come to help work the land.
Empty Quarter departs from a documentary form that utilizes “talking head” interviews and “B-roll” or “cut-away” images tied together with occasional narration. The film instead presents stark portraits, waiting to be explored and digested by the viewer. Meaning is extracted in the slow process of accumulation and measured response. Through a series of stationary shots, recording open landscapes and the activities of local residents, Empty Quarter reflects on the character of the region. Natural areas are viewed among images of industry, various labor processes, resource management and recreation. Voices of local residents describe the history of pioneer settlement, social life of rural communities and the struggles of small town economies.
Pam Minty and Alain LeTourneau are Portland, Oregon based media artists. They co-founded 40 Frames, a 16mm conservation and advocacy organization that maintains the web resource 16mmdirectory.org, houses a collection of 16mm prints, and provides technical services to artists and organizations. Pam and Alain's film/video work has been exhibited at Anthology Film Archives, Images Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Portland Art Museum, University of Chicago Film Studies Center, Vancouver International Film Centre and other venues throughout North America. Empty Quarter is their first co-production, and has been self-distributed since its release in 2011.
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