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Film in Context Series

Organized by Karen Sztajnberg (ASCA) | January 18, February 15,March 15, April 12, May 1, 2021 | This is a guest speaker series about film and television as dynamically evolving media.

We will attempt to offer researchers an in-depth look at different facets of the creative craft, the distribution and exhibition aspects always establishing connections between the guest and topic to our emphasis on cultural analysis.

As the ways in which we consume and think of audio-visual media evolves, we will bring our critical lens towards a vaster debate on the transformations under way.


  1. To give ASCA and NICA researchers deeper insight into the makers/artist perspective and to provide an opportunity for dialog outside of theoretical thinking.
  2. To form a sense of community during this challenging COVID19 year. It will take creative solutions to help the new cohort coalesce into a peer group. This is just one palpable attempt to foster a small sense of belonging to a group, where we can grow from hearing each other’s contribution in the form of questions and comments on the guest’s work.


This is a monthly series happening on zoom, where a guest is paired with a topic that gives them a starting point from which we can launch our own meditations on the subject at hand. Such sessions will be filmed and made available for other UvA participants. 

ASCA researchers get to actively interact with guests. Less of a lecture, more of a conversation.

Attendants will be expected to watch a film or two, or do some moderate reading ahead of time and to prepare questions. This way we can make these conversations beneficial to our research and promote an expansion of our understanding of the medium as it transforms.

Topics and Guests

  1. The Future of Curating and Programming  ( Jan 18th, 5pm AMS time)

Richard Peña (Rome Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Center). In a context where algorithms are increasingly in charge of tipping what we watch, and where hyper access to information is carried in every pocket, how will the role of the film curator evolve and what demands will arise? The question of whether auteur film should be seen as part of a continuum or on its own terms will also be explored in this session, broaching filmmaker curator loyalties, forming and unsettling audiences.

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  1. Decolonizing Screens (Feb 15th, 5pm AMS time)

Carlos Gutierrez (Cinema Tropical), runs the biggest organization responsible for distributing, publicizing and measuring the impact of Latin American films in the USA. This conversation will breach the challenges and unique offerings of transnational circuits, the future of foreign film distribution and what gets lost and gained in translation.  

            RSVP Here

  1. Cultivating a Cinematographer’s Signature or Making Visuals Subaltern to Storytelling?  (March 15th, 5pm AMS time)

Andrij Parekh (Succession, Brave New World, Blue Valentine) will discuss the value of attending to the director’s vision versus creating a personal style that will carry out throughout their oeuvre. With the “vulgarization” of the photographic image via phone-cameras, and IG filters, what does a visual style even mean?  


  1. Editing for Binge Watching  (April 12th, 5pm AMS time)

How does the awareness that previously interspersed episodes are now being watched in a feeding frenzy? Beyond the cliffhanger ending, how have editorial strategies changed to appeal to a new form of viewership? 

  1. False Dichotomies (May 1th, 5pm AMS time)

Must there necessarily be a hierarchy between the filmmaker and the subject they are filming? Have we completely blurred the lines between fiction and non-fiction with designations such as auto-fiction, hybrid and documentaries where subject and filmmaker collaborate? This session will focus on rising genres that meet in the middle of these heretofore distinct genres.

 Guest Speaker Bios

 Richard Peña

Richard Peña is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema. From 1988 to 2012, he was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival. At the Film Society, Richard Peña organized retrospectives of many film artists, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami,  King Hu, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Fei Mu, Jean Eustache, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura, Nagisa Oshima and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Turkish, German, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema. Together with Unifrance, he created in 1995 “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema,” the leading American showcase for new French cinema. A frequent lecturer on film internationally, in 2014-2015, he was a Visiting Professor in Brazilian Studies at Princeton, and in 2015-2016 a Visiting Professor in Film Studies at Harvard. In May, 2016, he was the recipient of the “Cathedra Bergman” at the UNAM in Mexico City, where he offered a three-part lecture series “On the Margins of American Cinema,” and December, 2017, gave a course in “International Cinema After 1990” at Beijing University. He also currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.


Carlos Gutierrez




Carlos A. Gutiérrez is co-founder and executive director of Cinema Tropical, the New York-based media arts non-profit organization that has become the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the U.S. As a guest curator, he has presented several film/video series at different cultural institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, Film at Lincoln Center, the Guggenheim Museum, BAMcinématek, and Anthology Film Archives. In 2007, he co-curated the 53rd edition of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar and serves as co-director of the Tucson Cine Mexico film festival. He is a contributing editor to BOMB Magazine, a member of Film Forum’s Board of Directors, and has served as a member of the jury for various film festivals including Morelia, SANFIC, Seattle, Margaret Mead, DocsMX, and Austin’s Cine Las Americas. He has served as both expert nominator and panelist for the Rockefeller Fellowship Program for Mexican Film & Media Arts, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Tribeca Film Institute’s Latin America Media Arts Fund, and the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.


Andrij Parekh


Emmy-nominated Andrij Parekh is of Ukrainian and Indian descent, and was born in Boston, MA in 1971. He studied Media Studies and Sociology at Carleton College (BA 1995- Northfield MN), and cinematography at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (MFA in 2001), and at FAMU (Prague, 1998).  His interest in filmmaking was launched by his travels around the world with a Nikon 35mm and a Super-8mm camera during a hiatus from college in 1992. Over his twenty-year career as a cinematographer, He has shot over twenty features, including Half Nelson‚ (Director Ryan Fleck), Cold Souls‚ (Sophie Barthes), Blue Valentine‚ (Derek Cianfrance), Madame Bovary‚ (Sophie Barthes), and the HBO miniseries Show Me A Hero. Recent work includes, The Zookeeper’s Wife‚ (Niki Caro), the television pilots‚ Thirteen Reasons Why (Netflix) & Succession‚ (Adam McKay for HBO) and the Watchmen‚ pilot for HBO. As he has transitioned into directing, Andrij has directed three episodes of HBO’s Succession (S1 Ep6, S2 Ep2&3), HBO’s Watchmen (S1 Ep4) and two episodes of NBC Peacock’s Brave New World, based on the Aldous Huxley novel.  He is nominated for his directorial work on Succession for the 2020 Emmy Awards.