The World Must Be Measured by Eye



2019
65 minutes


Distributor: Video Data Bank








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Ellen Altfest is known for her still life paintings in which she renders every detail of her subjects on a one-to-one scale. The World Must Be Measured by Eye follows the meticulous, repetitive and painstaking creative process of Altfest — the painter studies the subject, mixes paint, matches colors, measures the distance and puts the paint on the canvas with a small brush. Through observing Altfest at work, The World Must Be Measured by Eye examines the act of creation and the act of seeing. As the painter’s excessive realism and careful composition push the painting to the realm of abstraction, the film also explores the boundary between representation and abstraction. 



Screening

2020
National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)








Learning from Buffalo



2018
100 minutes
English









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Buffalo, New York, which was once a prosperous city, is home to several architectural masterpieces built in the late 19th century to the early 20th century, such as the Darwin D. Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guaranty Building by Louis Sullivan, and Kleinhans Music Hall by Eliel and Eero Saarinen. While some important buildings, including the Larkin Building by Wright, were demolished, the preservation movement has been active for the past several years. Architecture is embraced as a treasure, but it can be a burden to the city at the same time. Like many other American cities, Buffalo has suffered from economic downturn for decades. Industries have left and the population has declined almost by half. One of the issues that Buffalo has been facing is vacant properties. Since 2000, the city has demolished thousands of vacant homes and buildings to clean up some neighborhoods, which created vacant lots in turn. Exploring the architecture and cityscape of the post-industrial American city, this film meditates on the relationship between architecture, city, society, and history.



Selected Film Festivals & Screenings

2020
National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

2019
Cinéma du réel, International Competition (Paris, France)
Anthology Film Archives  (New York, NY)

2018
Buffalo International Film Festival  (Buffalo, NY)



Awards

2020
Honorable Mention for SAH Award for Film and Video

2019
Special Mention for the Library Award, Cinéma du réel



Press

“Cinéma du réel 2019: Learning from Buffalo by Rima Yamazaki”
by Alonso Castro. Desistfilm (March 15, 2019)








Racksraw Downes: a painter



2014
40 minutes
English

Distributor: Video Data Bank









 ︎︎︎ Watch the film on Vimeo On Demand

For educational use, please contact the distributor.



Since the early 1970s, Rackstraw Downes has committed himself to painting from observation, on site, from start to finish. He has painted both urban and rural landscapes as well as interior spaces, in New York, Texas, and Maine. Although he simply paints exactly what he sees, the ordinary sites become transformed into extraordinary scenes. In 2014 Downes spent the summer painting the site located in the northern part of Manhattan and his studio in SoHo. This film captures the painter working on site, outdoors and indoors, in an observational style. It expresses the atmosphere of his work as well as the surroundings. Some of his past works, which he painted in New York City, are also included in the film along with the footage which I shot, visiting those sites on my own. In addition, known as a skilled writer, Downes recites a couple of texts specially for this film. This film is a unique but truthful portrait of the painter, captured through my point of view and inspired by the painter’s art.



Selected Film Festivals & Screenings

2017
Anthology Film Archives (New York, NY)
MOVECINEARTE Film Festival (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

2016
The National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

2015
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia, PA)



Press

“A Film About the Painter Rackstraw Downes”
by Robert Sullivan. The New Yorker (September 21, 2018)

“Patient and Transcendent, "Rackstraw Downes: A Painter" Honors the Act of Creation”
by Chris Packham. The Village Voice (April 26, 2017)








Schist



Forthcoming
15 minutes
English









A rock. Buildings. Trees. Nothing happens. But something is always moving. People walk by. Time passes by. Seasons change. The Earth’s tectonic plates are in constant but imperceivable motion. They slowly move apart or crash together.

When landmasses collided about 450 million years ago, the collision created a single continent known as Pangea. Movement, heat, and pressure over millions of years transformed shale into schist. New York City is built on this tough, old rock called Manhattan schist, which holds skyscrapers.

While most of Manhattan schist lies under the ground, the ancient rock sometimes interrupts the urban fabric. Outcrops of the rock appear throughout Manhattan, especially on the northern part of the island.

Observing a massive Manhattan schist outcrop on a quiet residential block, this film examines the dichotomy between nature and human life, the past and present, human time and cosmic time, and stillness and motion.




Title I



2022
13 minutes
English








The 1949 Housing Act, often seen as the beginning of urban renewal, reshaped the landscapes of many American cities. One of the nation’s largest urban renewal projects was the Lincoln Square Title I Project in New York City led by the powerful public official Robert Moses, which created Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts along with Fordham University’s Manhattan Campus and middle- to high-income housing. The area selected for the project was a working-class, predominantly Black neighborhood with a large population of Puerto Ricans. While it was a tight-knit community with a vibrant culture, Moses declared the area a “blighted slum.” More than 7000 families and 800 businesses were forced to relocate, and the community was dispersed. Lincoln Center, which emerged as a product of urban renewal, has helped to make New York City the world capital of art and culture ever since.

This film meditates on the history of the Lincoln Center site by listening to the voices of residents who opposed the Lincoln Square Title I project, which are narrated only in subtitles. These are quotes from the public hearing before the city planning commission, held on September 11, 1957 at City Hall in Manhattan. The film is an exploration of how to memorize history and understand the place where we stand. It also examines the architecture of Lincoln Center and its relationship to the public streets today.


© 2023 Rima Yamazaki. All Rights Reserved.