“In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan is a counter-history of the midwest’s favorite lumberjack constructed from a wide assemblage of archival materials, including forgotten cartoons, decaying educational films, rotting theatre snipes, abandoned home movies, obscure historical documents, rarely seen film from the 1939 Bemidji Winter Carnival and original 16mm footage.
In The Shadow of Paul Bunyan tells the story of how the famous lumberjack and his big blue ox became the de-facto protagonists in Minnesota’s creation story. At the same time, it spans the unresolved histories of conquest and conflict that exist in Paul Bunyan’s shadow. This is the hidden part of Paul Bunyan – the stories of the labor strife and indigenous displacement that are hidden within the reassuring myth of the jolly logger. Filmmaker Nik Nerburn criss-crosses both real and imagined the landscapes of this folkloric fugitive, from their humble origins as a joke bandied around lumber camps and their lives as enduring advertising icons all the way to their mythic roadside entombment in fiberglass. In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan is a deeply personal expedition into the hidden corners of the land we call Minnesota.” TRT 38:06. An excerpt can be watched below.
With accompanying PAUL BUNYAN ZINE and other EPHEMERA for sale!
Also screening are two of Georg Koszulinski’s Frontier Journals, personal essay videos that explore conceptions of the frontier.
“Frontier Journals 1, Mythologies of the Conquerors (2013), considers animatronic
“Indians” in South Dakota, performances of displaced ancient traditions as
reimagined through colonialist fantasies of indigeneity, and mass pilgrimages to
sacred sights of power and spectacle as tourists flock to Mount Rushmore. TRT 7:00.”
“Frontier Journal 3, Aztec Baldwin Collage (2014), encounters the found footage filmmaker, Craig
Baldwin—an influential media-collage artist who repurposes found images to
challenge the dominant representations of indigenous peoples. TRT 9:00.”
With filmmakers IN PERSON!
About the filmmakers: Nik Nerburn is a research-based storyteller, experimental historian, filmmaker and zine maker who graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA. His work often involves essayistic interventions in archival materials to explore regional histories, focusing on stories that stand at the intersection of power, memory, nostalgia and place.
Georg Koszulinski is an award-winning filmmaker and educator who has directed over twenty-five films, ranging from documentary and narrative features to avant-garde films and videos. The documentary, Cracker Crazy (2007), explores the history of slavery and exploitation in Florida from first European contact to the present day. The film earned numerous festival awards and was nominated for a Notable Video of the Year by the American Library Association. Immokalee U.S.A. (2008) documents the experiences of migrant farm laborers working in the U.S.A. and was widely programmed at film festivals and universities. The Documentary Channel acquired both films in 2009.