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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Antioch College professors work to create a singular classroom experience for students, but they are also producers of cutting edge work in their fields. Whether it be through research, activism, field work, or content production, professors here strive to bring fresh and innovative knowledge from the world to the classroom.

Antioch Media Arts professor Charles Fairbanks is a filmmaker and teacher. In his time at Antioch, he has collaborated with students to create films such as The Elephant in Our Room, and its corresponding short, Seriously Not Funny, which premiered April 21st at the Indie Grits Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. He recently released his latest film The Modern Jungle (La selva negra) in conjunction with Mexican artist Saul Kak. The film premiered in the US in January at the Slamdance Film Festival, where it received an Honorable Mention.

The documentary is centered on the Zoque community in Chiapas, Mexico, an indigenous group in the southeastern part of the country. The work aims to illustrate for viewers the realities of Zoque culture and their “cosmovisión,” as well as the ways in which the community interacts with various forces, including “capitalism and commodity fetish,” as well as “modernity and globalization” (from Charles Fairbanks’ The Modern Jungle Synopsis). The film also explores the boundaries of documentary film, the role of the director as a player in the production of film, and the realities of intercultural engagement in filmmaking. Additionally, The Modern Jungle is one of only three movies to have been made in the Zoque language, and the only one made since the 1980’s.

In the Synopsis, Charles writes the following: “Ultimately, we hope that by transgressing the conventions of documentary, viewers of THE MODERN JUNGLE will feel implicated, marked by the story because they’re part of it too – even on the other side of the world. ”

The Modern Jungle will be screened for the public at the local Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This will be a free event on April 29th, 2017. To learn more about the film, go to The Modern Jungle website. 

Text quoted is from the synopsis of THE MODERN JUNGLE: a film by Charles Fairbanks & Saul Kak.

The featured photo is courtesy of Charles Fairbanks.

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Ella Arnold is a fourth year Horace Mann Fellow at Antioch College. She is pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts in Visual Arts.

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