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Ephraim Asili: Traversing Historic Time

Ephraim Asili: Traversing Historic Time

American Hunger by Ephraim Asili

Los Angeles Filmforum is thrilled to welcome New York-based filmmaker Ephraim Asili for his first solo show in Los Angeles. This program includes the Los Angeles premieres of Many Thousands Gone (2015), Forged Ways (2011) and Points on a Space Age (2009). 

Beautifully filmed on location in Ghana, Brazil and Ethiopia as well as in Philadelphia and Harlem, Asili’s complex, poetic documentaries fuse travelogue to archival investigation in order to explore how history and memory bear on the present – shaping the navigation and inhabitation of places. 

Ephraim Asili is an African-American Artist, Filmmaker, D.J, Radio host, and traveler. Inspired by his day-to-day wanderings Asili creates art that situates itself as a series of meditations on everyday experience and media culture. Through audio-visual examinations of societal iconography identity, geography, and architecture Asili strives to present a personal vision. The results are perhaps best described as an amalgam of pop, African-American and “moving image” culture filtered through an acute sense of rhythmic improvisation and compositional awareness.

Ephraim Asili currently serves as Technical Director for the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College and hosts a radio show on WGXC 90.7 FM Hudson, New York. His films have screened at venues including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Wavelengths, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Programmed by Alison Kozberg


"Many Thousands Gone" by Ephraim Asili

Many Thousands Gone

Los Angeles Premiere!

2015, 16mm transferred to digital video, color, sound, 9 minutes

Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, New York (an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee to use as an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and a modified version of McPhee’s real time “sight reading” of the score. - EA



Forged Ways by Ephraim Asili

Forged Ways

Los Angeles Premiere!

2011, color and b/w, sound, 16mm transferred to digital video, 16 minutes

Photographed on location in Harlem, Ethiopia, Forged Ways combines elements of documentary, narrative, and experimental film form. Structurally the film cycles between the first person account of filmmaker, the third person experience of a man navigating the streets of Harlem, and day-to-day life in cities and villages of Ethiopia. By subduing any definitive story-line or "message" the film functions as an audio visual meditation on the constructs surrounding African American cultural identity while simultaneously examining some of the more subtle implications involved in maintaining an identity that spans hundreds of years, and thousands of miles. - EA



Points on a Space Age by Ephraim Asili

Points on a Space Age

Los Angeles Premiere!

2009, color, sound, video, 33 minutes.

Points on a Space Age explores the recent activity of the remaining members of the influential Sun Ra Arkestra since the passing of its founding member, Sun Ra and examines their current work (in the physical absence of Sun Ra) under the direction of Marshall Allen. - EA

American Hunger

American Hunger by Ephraim Asili

American Hunger

2013, color and b/w, 16mm transferred to digital, 19 minutes.

Oscillating between a street festival in Philadelphia, the slave forts and capitol city of Ghana, and the New Jersey shore, American Hunger, explores the relationship between personal experience and collective histories. American fantasies confront African realities. African realities confront American fantasies. African fantasies confront American realities. American realities confront African fantasies. - EA