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Poster for RPM Fest Presents We Were Given These Instructions: Kelly Sears

RPM Fest Presents We Were Given These Instructions: Kelly Sears

Coming on January 28

Run Time: 90 min.

Post Screening Q&A with Kelly Sears & Shira Segal

Join us for an extraordinary cinematic experience as we kick off the new year with the first RPM24 screening of 2024! This event will showcase the unconventional works of experimental animator Kelly Sears.

Kelly Sears’ collection of 10 shorts, spanning from 2007 to 2023, offers a mesmerizing journey through time and imagination. Notably, her most recent creation, “The Last Season,” is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2024.

Sears, known for her idiosyncratic approach to animation, skillfully reinterprets American archetypes and institutions, providing a fresh perspective on our social and political legacy.

Program: 63 minutes

Maximum Umbra, 2022, 3:09

The Drift, 2007, 8:10

Voice on the Line, 2009, 6:45

The Body Besieged, 2009, 4:40

Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise, 2011, 7:30

The Rancher, 2012, 7:09

Pattern For Survival, 2015, :6:27

Applied Pressure, 2018, 6:22

Phase II, 2022,  6:30

The Lost Season, 2023, 6:09

Kelly Sears is more than an animator; she is a visionary who employs animation as a critical practice. Through cutting, collaging, and merging animated photographic and film documents with speculative storytelling, Sears creates films that challenge and expand our understanding of cultural narratives. Her work becomes a canvas where history converges with myth, resulting in uncanny and fantastical tales.

Sears’ award-winning films have graced esteemed festivals worldwide, including Sundance, South by Southwest, and the American Film Institute. Her shorts have been showcased at renowned institutions such as the Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Awards from festivals like Ann Arbor, Black Maria, Chicago Underground, and Oak Cliff underscore the impact of Sears’ unique cinematic vision.

A graduate of Hampshire College and the University of California, San Diego, Kelly Sears has left an indelible mark on experimental animation. Her journey includes teaching at esteemed institutions such as Pitzer College, Scripps College, Rice University, and the University of Houston. Currently serving as the Associate Faculty Director for Undergraduate Studio Arts in Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts at the University of Colorado, Sears continues to inspire and shape the next generation of filmmakers.

Please visit for more information.

Revolutions per Minute Festival (RPM Fest) is dedicated to short-form poetic, personal, experimental film, essay film, animation, documentary, video and audiovisual performance, and is co-hosted by Art and Art History Department and Cinema Studies at UMass-Boston, Brattle Theatre in Cambridge & Harvard FAS CAMLab.

Brattle Passes Not Accepted

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