Virtual Cinema | Signs of the Times: “Cinetracts ’20” November 7, 2020

In 2019, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, commissioned short films from 20 filmmakers around the world. Virtual Cinema presents the result: Cinetracts ’20, and you can watch it for free.

The Commission
Reflect the current sociopolitical climate where you live. Or to put it another way, “Capture the zeitgeist in your own backyard.”

The Guidelines
• No longer than two minutes
• Shot in one day
• No extra sound added
• Explicit reference to the date and location

The Reality
When 2020 turned out to be such an anomaly, many of the filmmakers reconsidered their work in light of current events. “Most did not start production until COVID-19 had set in,” said Dave Filipi, one of the Wexner curators. “Then, when the George Floyd protests began, a number of artists said they didn’t have the mental and emotional space to deal with what was happening in the streets and to be creative. Ultimately, the stories of each artist were as interesting and inspiring as the films.”

The Filmmakers
Among the participants are Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep); Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives); and Cameroon native Rosine Mbakam, who had to cancel her trip home. At first she wondered how she could create a film from her residence in Belgium, but then she saw a video of health workers explaining how to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Shockingly, the video showed no Africans or Blacks. “It’s not possible to go to a hospital in Belgium without seeing Black people,” she said, and she dedicated her film to raising awareness of Belgium’s Black and African health workers. “I discovered that the real virus in our society is social inequality and racism.” She plans to expand her footage into a larger future project.

Cinetracts ’20 WATCH HERE This Virtual Cinema presentation is available for free through November 25. SEE THE TRAILER

Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation. Generous funding is provided by Nina and Michael Zilkha; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Lynn S. Wyatt; ILEX Foundation; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.