Filmmaker Willy Bearden hosts this hour long program which features both conversations with and performances by some of the most renowned musicians and entertainers of this generation. His in-depth interview style and this personal setting make Dialogue with Willy Bearden one of the most must-see programs available on cable television.
The Lantern – The Ohio State University
by Chase-Anthony Ray November 2017
When Lynne Sachs celebrated her 50th birthday, she wasn’t concerned about an impending midlife crisis. Instead, she decided to celebrate with 11 New Yorkers she had never met.
For her latest documentary, “Tip of My Tongue,” Sachs gathered a diverse group of men and women from different countries including Iran, Cuba and Australia, who shared one thing in common: age.
Together with Sachs, the group discussed strange and revealing moments of their lives in which uncontrollable events –– outside their own domestic universe –– have impacted who they all have become.
“Tip of My Tongue” will screen at the Wexner Center for the Arts Wednesday in the latest installment of its “Visiting Filmmakers” series.
Sachs is known for creating films, videos, installations and web projects that explore the relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. She also has a habit of weaving together poetry, collaging, painting, politics, and layered sound design.
Sachs wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, and guided her collaborators across the landscapes of their memories from the Vietnam War protests, to the Anita Hill hearings, to the Columbine massacre, and all the way to Occupy Wall Street, according to her website.
“I am happiest when my film ‘characters’ explore storytelling from various subjectivities,” Sachs said. “[To explore their] various selves and other selves … is a more authentic portrayal of being alive during a specific time, situation or place.”
The Wexner Center prides itself on bringing acclaimed filmmakers like Sachs to screen their works because it believes it is one of few institutions supporting this type of work, said David Filipi, director of film and video at the Wexner Center.
“We make it a priority to support personal filmmakers like Lynne, both by screening their films as well as providing post-production support to some through our studio program,” Filipi said. “There are fewer and fewer venues supporting this type of work, which makes it all the more imperative that we provide an opportunity for these types of films to be screened and seen by audiences in our region.”
Sachs said she chose to screen “Tip of My Tongue” because she believes Ohio State is in the small minority of universities with acclaimed museums.
“There are only two state universities in the United States that have extraordinary, world-class museums — the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [at University of California, Berkeley] and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State,” Sachs said. “I have had the honor to screen my films at both institutions, and have been deeply moved by my interactions with the students and members of the public who fill the seats in these theaters.”
Filipi said Ohio State students might be surprised and intrigued by what Lynne captures with her film.
“Right now, you’re surrounded by your friends and peers, and your shared experiences are immediately recognizable… [but eventually], your friend and peer group isn’t always as present and there are other commitments and distractions that accumulate as you get older,” Filipi said. “Lynne has a very personal approach to documentary, and this is one of the traits that sets her films apart from others.”
Gathering a group of middle-aged adults from all backgrounds allows the theme of self-reflection and recounting one’s own memories to drive the entire film.
“In ‘Tip of My Tongue’ I tried to dig down into my own and my collaborators’ pain and joy … I was looking for surprising intimacy that is different from simply ‘telling the truth,’” Sachs said. “To bare my own soul, I needed to begin with my own poetry and then move onto something more visual –– I wanted my camera to express this intimacy.”
The screening of “Tip of My Tongue” will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Wexner Center. Admission is $6 for students and $8 for the general public.
Read the full interview below: Can you explain the title a little bit? Well, tip of my tongue is an expression that people use for the experience of trying to remember something but not being able to verbalize it, knowing that it is there in the recesses of your consciousness but not having complete access to it. I like the physicality of the expression, the way it connects to our anatomy and to our bodies. I feel that this sensation – which can be both exhilarating and frustrating – articulates the communal memory experiment that I conducted in the making of the film.
Why bring your film to Ohio state? In my opinion, there are only two state universities in the United States that have extraordinary, world-class museums – the Berkeley Art Museum/ Pacific Film Archive at University of California Berkeley and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State. I have had the honor to screen my films at both institutions, and have been deeply moved by my interactions with the students and members of the public who fill the seats in these theaters.
What can OSU students expect from this film? To celebrate my 50th birthday, I gathered together other people, men and women who have lived through precisely the same years but come from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where I grew up. I invited 12 fellow New Yorkers — born across several continents in the 1960s — to spend a weekend with me making a movie. Together we discussed some of the most salient, strange and revealing moments of our lives. As a group, we talked about the ways in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe have impacted who we all have become. Together, we all move from the Vietnam War protests to the Anita Hill hearings to the Columbine Shootings to Occupy Wall Street. Using the backdrop of the horizon as it meets the water in each of NYC’s five boroughs as well as abstracted archival material, TIP OF MY TONGUE ultimately becomes an activator in the resurrection of complex, sometimes paradoxical reflections. We replace traditional timelines with a multi-layered, cinematic architecture that both speaks to and visualizes the nature of historical expression.
In addition, OSU students are going to hear music from Stephen Vitiello, one of the most recognized sound artist in this country!
How did you manage to find all these participants among the same age and get them to participate? I used all sorts of methods for finding the people in the film. I posted on Facebook stating that I was making a film project that needed people who were born around the same time that I was – in 1961. I also asked everyone I knew for suggestions because I was really committed to working with participants in the film who came from as many different continents as possible. I wanted as diverse viewpoints and life experiences as I could possibly find.
You wrote 50 poems for every year of your life. Explain to me why you did that and how easy/difficult that process was? When I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1970s, I had a great aunt named Isabel. Aunt Isabel was passionate about poetry. She was a devout aficionado of the works of poets such as Marianne Moore, Denise Levertov, Philip Levine, and Cathy Acker and expressed her love of the marriage of poetry and image through her life-long acquisition of artist made books. She had hundreds of these books and was thrilled to share her collection with me throughout my teenage years. Little did I know how affected I would be by the hours we spent together turning the pages of her books. It was during these exhilarating moments of discovery that I began to find my own artistic muse.
I’ve been making experimental and documentary films since 1983. When I turned 50 in 2011, I decided to return to my love of poetry, painting, drawing and photography – to further explore a conceptual thread I had been developing in my films for many years: In what ways are the private, most intimate moments in our lives affected by the public world beyond? While visiting the Museum of Modern Art, I discovered the work of Serbian conceptual and media artist Sanja Ivekovic. In one black and white video piece made over a period of 14 years in the 1970s and early 80s, she created a remarkable visual dichotomy between her existence as a mother at home with her child and her observations on the Yugoslavian police state. She simply cut back and forth between a tall glass of milk and a street tussle with soldiers, or an infant’s eye and some form of state TV propaganda and the effect, for me, was breathtaking.
Why did you choose self-reflection and recounting ones own past memories as a main theme for the film? I am happiest when my film ‘characters’ explore storytelling from various subjectivities,” various selves and other-selves, opening up, perhaps ironically, a more authentic portrayal of being alive during a specific time, in a specific situation or place.”
In “Tip of My Tongue” I tried to dig down into my own and my collaborators’ pain and joy. Then I tried to articulate these experiences as a shared exploration for the camera. I was looking for surprising intimacy that is different from simply ‘telling the truth.’ To bare my own soul, I needed to begin with my own poetry and then move to something more visual. I wanted my camera to express this intimacy through textures, objects, places, reflections, faces, hands. (from a conversation with Kelly Spivey, Brooklyn College Film Professor)
Tip of My Tongue (80 min. 2017) a film by Lynne Sachs
To celebrate her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers together other people, men and women who have lived through precisely the same years but come from places like Iran or Cuba or Australia or the Lower East Side, not Memphis, Tennessee where Sachs grew up. She invites 12 fellow New Yorkers – born across several continents in the 1960s – to spend a weekend with her making a movie. Together they discuss some of the most salient, strange, and revealing moments of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive examination of the way in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are. As director and participant, Sachs, who wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, guides her collaborators across the landscape of their memories. They move from the Vietnam War protests to the Anita Hill hearings to the Columbine Shootings to Occupy Wall Street. Using the backdrop of the horizon as it meets the water in each of NYC’s five boroughs as well as abstracted archival material, TIP OF MY TONGUE becomes an activator in the resurrection of complex, sometimes paradoxical reflections. Traditional timelines are replaced by a multi-layered, cinematic architecture that both speaks to and visualizes the nature of historical expression. (Anthology Film Archives Calendar)
“The past is deconstructed. Unremembered. Reconstructed. A charmingly captivating ride through a constructed dream-party full of reflection and recollection. Lynne Sachs’ inspired use of archival footage and poetry is wonderfully complimented by Stephen Vitiello’s vibrant music and Sean Hanley’s pleasurably stimulating visual style. The personal living memory processed through poignant imagery and evocative scribblings offer a great account of (un)known global history. Stephen Vitiello’s hypnotic music in Sachs’ latest ‘Film About a Father Who’ was a match made in Cinema Paradise. The collaboration was one of the primary reasons behind my desire to watch Tip of My Tongue. The expectations were surpassed by this enchanting documentary piece.”
Sibi Sekar was born on April 29th, 1997 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Sibi fell in love with cinema at an early age upon viewing the works of directors such as Luis Buñuel and Sergei Parajanov. His works have been screened at over thirty festivals across five continents. He recently graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras with a master’s degree in Humanities and Social Sciences and is currently working on explorative films that are primarily an ascetic representation of resistance. The thematic dispositions of his films concern the symbolic depiction of being, nothingness and the transcendental space.
“Tip of My Tongue is entrancing. As someone who was born in the mid ’90s, I am distantly removed from many of the events mentioned in the film. To hear personal accounts of the Iranian revolution or Nixon’s resignation was surreal for me, offering me a glimpse into a past I never experienced. I can only imagine the memories Tip of My Tongue would unearth for those who have lived through those same events. This film offers viewers a brilliant visual representation of what it means to remember. The metaphor one participant uses to describe the nature of political change can easily be applied to the human brain: ‘It’s like the paradigm of being part of an organism rather than part of a machine.’ It’s hardly simple, or even logical, but isn’t the complexity what makes it so interesting?” (Agnes Films, http://agnesfilms.com/reviews/review-of-tip-of-my-tongue-directed-by-lynne-sachs/)
“A mesmerizing ride through time, a dreamscape full of reflection, filled with inspired use of archival footage, poetry, beautiful cinematography and music. Raises the question of how deeply events affect us, while granting us enough room to crash into our own thoughts, or float on by, rejoicing in the company of our newfound friends.” (Screen Slate, Sonya Redi https://www.screenslate.com/features/366)
“An examination of one generation’s complex and diverse navigation between public and private experience.” (“Tip of My Tongue: Film Scratches: Public Stories, Private Memories” review in Film International) http://filmint.nu/?p=20232
“The past is unearthed, turned over and reconsidered in new and astonishing ways by three filmmakers marking their return to Doc Fortnight …. To mark her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers a group of her contemporaries—all New Yorkers but originally hailing from all corners of the globe—for a weekend of recollection and reflection on the most life-altering personal, local, and international events of the past half-century, creating a collective distillation of their times. Interspersed with poetry and flashes of archival footage, this poignant reverie reveals how far beyond our control life is, and how far we can go despite this.” (The Museum of Modern Art)
Featuring: Dominga Alvarado, Mark Cohen, Sholeh Dalai, Andrea Kannapell, Sarah Markgraf, Shira Nayman, George Sanchez, Adam Schartoff, Erik Schurink, Accra Shepp, Sue Simon, Jim Supanick
Music – Stephen Vitiello; Camera – Sean Hanley, Ethan Mass, Lynne Sachs; Editing – Amanda Katz; Archival Research – Craig Baldwin; Sound Mix – Damian Volpe
Museum of Modern Art Documentary Fortnight Closing Night Film; Athens Film & Video Festival; Indie Memphis; Festival Encuentros del Otro Cine (EDOC), Ecuador; Currents New Media Festival, Santa Fe; Maine International Film Festival; Wexner Center for the Art; San Francisco Cinematheque; Mill Valley Film Festival; Anthology Film Archives; Three Rivers Film Festival, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; Lightbox Theater, Philadelphia; Wellesley College; Hallwalls Center for the Arts; Union Docs Center for Documentary, Williamsburg, NY.
Supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts and a MacDowell Colony Residency
For inquiries about rentals or purchases please contact the Cinema Guild. For international bookings, please contact Kino Rebelde.
Tip of my Tongue
Director: Lynne Sachs
Competition Feature Thursday, April 6, 3:00 PM
Twelve New Yorkers born in the early 1960s across several continents “visit” every year of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive experiment about what it’s meant to live in America over the last half century. Director and participant Lynne Sachs, who wrote her own series of 50 poems for every year of her life, guides her collaborators across the landscape of their memories. She gives each person the same historical timeline as a catalyst for an exploration of the relationship between their personal lives and the times in which they have lived. Initially strangers with nothing in common but their age, the group works together writing, performing and filming.
Tip of My Tongue by Sonya Redi
Featured February 25th 2017
Most moments have a terrible tendency to surround us, enveloping us and swallowing us whole, before we have time to understand or process them. Much like waves, they pass through us, sometimes violently, taking our whole body for a spin and leaving us with nothing except an intense sensation and vivid memory. Lynne Sachs‘ latest film, Tip of My Tongue , grants us the impossible gift of trying to change that—letting us comfortably, over the course of a weekend, try to process those moments which impacted us so profoundly in the last half century. Sachs’ brilliant body of work has often focused on the curious dance between histories, the personal and global, so it is no surprise that her latest film moves across a myriad of topics with skill and grace.
Though singular in scope, the film’s premise is delightfully simple. In honor of her fiftieth birthday, Sachs gathers a group of New Yorkers from around the world, whose only common trait is that they were born around the same time. Together they spend the weekend conversing and sharing their personal memories from these turbulent years, reflecting on topics ranging from the assassination of JFK to Occupy Wall Street. Through this sharing of intimate fragments we are able to feel instantly connected, as if along for the journey. Sachs creates a magical, safe space for us to get lost in conversation, as well as take a step back and unfold on our own memories, however big or small.
It’s a mesmerizing ride through time, a dreamscape full of reflection and wonder, filled with inspired use of archival footage, poetry, beautiful cinematography and music. The film flows seamlessly across the years like one of the elusive waves it is trying to catch. It raises the question of how deeply events affect us, while granting us enough room to crash into our own thoughts, or float on by, rejoicing in the company of our newfound friends.
Review by Katie Grimes Developmental Editing by Alexandra Hidalgo Copy Editing and Posting by Elena Cronick
Tip of My Tongue(2016). 80 minutes. Directed by Lynne Sachs. Featuring: Dominga Alvarado, Mark Cohen, Sholeh Dalai, Andrea Kannapell, Sarah Markgraf, Shira Nayman, George Sanchez, Adam Schartoff, Erik Schurink, Accra Shepp, Sue Simon, Jim Supanick.
There is history, and then there is memory. Though both are hardly objective, memory is impossible to remove from personal experience. Often, what we remember from a historical moment is a strong emotion, an intimate moment, the people and objects who surrounded us when the event took place. In Tip of My Tongue, director Lynne Sachs explores the dynamism of memory through poetry, archival footage, and personal interviews; her artful collage of moments intelligently portrays the beauty that often lies hidden in the minds of those around us.
In her film, Sachs brings together twelve New Yorkers born in the early 1960s. Though strangers, together they explore their memories of the past five decades in the intimacy of Sachs’s home. From countries as wide-ranging as Australia, Iran, and the Dominican Republic, participants relive JFK’s assassination, the AIDS epidemic, Occupy Wall Street, and more. As Sachs describes in her narration, “Together we construct a collective distillation of our times, building an inverted history of deep breaths, illness we don’t understand, assaults, the death of a princess, a struggle of a president, a lost envelope, terror. … And so we begin our memory game.”
To my delight, Sachs isn’t afraid to experiment. Her film begins with flashes of color illuminating handwritten notes. Dates accompanied by lines of poetry, some crossed out, appear too quickly to read while archival footage plays in the background. Our eyes only catch a few words here and there: Bob Dylan, Russian spies, the Vietnam War. The montage reminds us of how memories often live in our minds as fragmented, half-remembered pieces sprinkled with bursts of emotion. Throughout the film, Sachs uses close-up shots to confront viewers with the faces of those who remember. We hear them recite their stories in their own words, the intimacy of which reflects the individuality of each of their experiences. Audio is faded in and out to represent the fragility of those memories. In one scene, two participants lie in opposite directions with their heads next to each other, eyes closed. Viewers can see one participant speaking but hear the other’s voice. Like so many elements of Sachs’s film, this scene has layers of meaning. When two people think about the year 1978, two completely different moments come to mind, offering a diverse experience of history.
Tip of My Tongue is entrancing. As someone who was born in the mid ’90s, I am distantly removed from many of the events mentioned in the film. To hear personal accounts of the Iranian revolution or Nixon’s resignation was surreal for me, offering me a glimpse into a past I never experienced. I can only imagine the memories Tip of My Tonguewould unearth for those who have lived through those same events. This film offers viewers a brilliant visual representation of what it means to remember. The metaphor one participant uses to describe the nature of political change can easily be applied to the human brain: “It’s like the paradigm of being part of an organism rather than part of a machine.” It’s hardly simple, or even logical, but isn’t the complexity what makes it so interesting?
The world premiere of Tip of My Tongue will include two screenings of the film at the Museum of Modern Art as a part of Doc Fortnight 2017: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media.
The screenings will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 25, and 5 p.m. Sunday, February 26 in Theater 1 in the Museum of Modern Art.
View the trailer for Tip of My Tongue and click here to visit Katie Grimes’s profile.
This consistently rewarding survey of some of the world’s most innovative nonfiction filmmaking wraps up this weekend. Two of its best entries are by great filmmakers who have screened films before at this festival.
Lynne Sachs’ latest film Tip of My Tongue, which has its world premiere as the festival’s closing night selection, is a beautiful, poetic collage of memory, history, poetry, and lived experience, in all its joys, sorrows, fears, hopes, triumphs, and tragedies.
Sachs has previously made such experimental, hybrid documentaries as Your Day is My Night (2013) and Every Fold Matters (2016), which incorporate documentary material, live and filmed performance, personal storytelling, and aural and visual collage to explore experiences of shared private and public spaces.
In Tip of My Tongue, to mark her 50th birthday, Sachs gathers together 12 people – all fellow New Yorkers, some friends, some relative strangers – born in the 60’s and thus around her age. The film uses archival and original footage, written text, Sachs’ own poetry, and first-person narratives of memories and experiences to explore how personal, political, cultural, and social histories intersect and affect individuals in unique ways. The cultural upheavals of the 1960’s, the Vietnam War, Nixon and Reagan, the start of the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, Occupy Wall Street, and other events figure greatly in the stories told by the people gathered here. The years covered here – the numbers of which are written on various surfaces throughout the film – are rendered in exquisite visual terms, creating an artful collective chronicle of history.
“To mark her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers a group of her contemporaries—all New Yorkers but originally hailing from all corners of the globe—for a weekend of recollection and reflection on the most life-altering personal, local, and international events of the past half-century, creating a collective distillation of their times. Interspersed with poetry and flashes of archival footage, this poignant reverie reveals how far beyond our control life is, and how far we can go despite this.” (Documentary Fortnight Festival of Non-Fiction Films, Museum of Modern Art, 2017)
Tip of My Tongue World Premiere
Documentary Fortnight: An International Festival of Nonfiction
Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53rd St., New York City
Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, Feb. 26 at 5:00 pm
Directed by Lynne Sachs
Cinematography by Sean Hanley and Ethan Mass
Editing by Amanda Katz
Music and Sound Design by Stephen Vitiello
Featuring: Dominga Alvarado, Mark Cohen, Sholeh Dalai, Andrea Kannapell, Sarah Markgraf, Shira Nayman, George Sanchez, Adam Schartoff, Erik Schurink, Accra Shepp, Sue Simon, Jim Supanick
Supported by a Guggenheim Fellow in the Arts and a McDowell Colony Residency.