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From the Executive Director: Behind the Scenes with the Production Team

This month, I am proud to welcome our director of video programming and production, Nick Ravich, into this space to address our monthly newsletter subscribers. —Tina

Well, we here on the production team at Art21 are in an equal state of Halloween-like shock too. 2019 has come with a startling number of achievements and honors. Coveted Vimeo staff picks for the New York Close Up films “Jes Fan in Flux” and “An Artist Walks into a Bar.” Three films screening at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival this November—including “Alex Da Corte: 57 Varieties” by staff producer Ian Forster—which makes ten festival and industry screenings and counting for the year. The tenth season of our Art in the Twenty-First Century series is in full shooting swing at locations around the world. And by the end of the year, we’ll be close to four hundred total digital films released since 2008. That’s one hundred times four everybody!

For me, the above image encapsulates a lot of what the production team has achieved over years, and where it continues to go. That middle print in the above image—of the camera crew—is a behind-the-scenes picture of long-time Art21 filmmakers Ava Wiland and Rafael Salazar, a.k.a. RAVA Films, in the Arizona desert for an upcoming Season 10 episode. And that very excited artist to the left is the photographer who took that picture of Ava and Rafa, an artist they’ve been following for our new season. Of course, the postmodern meta-ness of it all is a lot of fun; this is the only Art21 artist-produced work of an Art21 camera crew that I know of. But what I especially love about the image is that it’s an affirmation of something we’re constantly striving to achieve here in the production department: extended, one-on-one access to artists in the places they live and work. So if an artist is in the desert, well then we go to the desert. If they’re in a Balinese rice paddy field, we’re there too. And if they’re on the set of their vampire horror film passion project, well…you get the idea.

What this photograph also tells me is that the collaborative experiences of these shoots and the on-going interactions between the filmmakers and our artists crucially lay the groundwork for Art21’s future films, public events, articles, and educational programs—the full flower of what we offer to our audiences. So thank you Ian, Rafa, Ava, the mystery artist, and all the folks in front of and behind the camera who so successfully nurture these relationships.

And thank you, our faithful viewers and supporters, for continuing to give us reason to produce these films. We’re always curious to hear what some of your favorite Art21 film moments are. Please share your stories with us at [email protected].

Nick Ravich
Director of Video Programming and Production
October 30, 2019

Watch our latest film

When artists and documentarians collaborate

As I mentioned above, collaboration is a major part of what we do. Last month, we premiered a film featuring Aki Sasamoto that fully captures the spirit of artist/filmmaker collaboration. So why not hear us talk about it in person?

I’m proud to be moderating an upcoming conversation between Aki and the filmmakers (the aforementioned RAVA Films) on November 25 at Borolami Gallery in New York City. It’s a free event, you just need to register in advance. Please join us!

Hello DOC NYC!

DOC NYC is one of the premiere documentary film festivals in the United States. This year’s edition starts soon, running from November 6 to November 15. It’s a unique opportunity for New Yorkers to see Art21 films in the flesh and with an engaged and discerning audience. And in general the festival is highly recommended one-stop shopping for the best in documentary from around the world. Our screenings happen on November 9 and November 10. Come look for us. We’ll definitely be there!

Thank you for supporting our work

As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity of viewers like you to help us continue to produce engaging films and educational resources on contemporary artists and art. If you’ve felt inspired by Art21 films, please consider donating today. Your gift will ensure the stories, art, and ideas of the most innovative artists of our time continue to inspire audiences around the world. Thank you for supporting our work.