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Indie director speaks at Wexner Center

Kit Lewis / Lantern photographer

Kevin Jerome Everson is an artist of many talents, including painting and photography. But with five feature-length films and more than 70 short films, the independent filmmaker seems to have found his artistic niche.

“No matter what I was gonna do I was gonna make art,” Everson said. “I’m not a doctor, I don’t heal. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t advocate. But as a citizen, as an earthling, I gotta make some art.”

Everson participated in an Artist’s Talk at the Wexner Center for the Arts where he shared several of his short films and discussed the process of filming them, as well as the message they send to their audiences.

The event started Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Wexner Center and lasted just over two hours. About 30 people were seated within the 298-seat auditorium.

He explained to the audience that he captures gestures and common tasks to create both scripted and documentary-style films. His films mostly depict actions within the lives of working class African-Americans and the history of African-American migration within the United States.

“He comes back to Ohio a lot, and makes a lot of his films in Ohio, especially within African American communities within Mansfield and Cleveland,” said Chris Stults, assistant curator for the Wexner Center Film/Video department.

The Wexner Center, which has featured Everson’s work previously, continued their two-day event with Everson with a screening of one of his recent feature films.

His film, “Erie,” which was released in 2010, includes single-take shots filmed in different locations surrounding Lake Erie, and has been featured at multiple international film festivals including the Images Film Festival in Toronto and the European Media Art Festival in Onsabrueck, Germany.

“‘Erie’ has probably become his most acclaimed feature,” Stults said. “It’s all beautiful, long, 11-minute shots, on black-and-white, 16mm film.”

Many in the audience knew Everson personally, and came to enjoy his lecture while supporting his art.

“I met Kevin at a filmmakers mixer and he told me about this event going on at the Wexner Center, and I decided to come out and support him,” said Tiffany Wilson, a graduate of Temple University with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Wilson said she is interested in film as a career and was happy she decided to attend the lecture because she was inspired to do this kind of work on her own in the future.

Everson graduated from University of Akron with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and is currently an associate professor of fine arts at the University of Virginia.

“I like being around the 20-year-olds, they’re a source of energy,” Everson said. “I get something from them, they get something from me. At least they’re supposed to get something from me.”

The Wexner Center shows film about three to four times a week, and brings in at least two filmmakers a month, Stults said.

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