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The Bang Straws Screening + Q&A with Michelle Williams Gamaker

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FACT Liverpool

88 Wood Street

Liverpool

L1 4DQ

United Kingdom

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FACT presents a special screening of The Bang Straws by filmmaker Michelle Williams Gamaker, followed by a live Q&A with Future Ages Will Wo

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The Bang Straws draws its vision from the production history of The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin, 1937) which was one of cinema’s most notorious cases of casting discrimination, with American-German actress Luise Rainer winning the high-profile lead of the Chinese farmer’s wife O-Lan. To do so, she wore racist “yellowface” as so many Hollywood actors did. Despite Anna May Wong’s talent and clear desire to play O-Lan, MGM only offered her the role of sex worker Lotus instead. Dahong Wang does the screen test to play O-Lan, asking the rhetorical question: "They want my body, but they don't want me?"

While the focus on Anna is now no longer directly present, the casting discrimination she faced in 1930s Hollywood remains, alongside the violence of the casting process, a recurring motif in Williams Gamaker’s work. The Bang Straws re-casts O-Lan, and reconstructs the film's then-innovative analogue special effects, including a swarm of locusts made from tea leaves and a storm in a wheat field condensed into a film studio.

Enacting a form of fictional activism, Gamaker’s film utilises storytelling to reimagine problematic legacies of filmmaking and cinematic practice.

After the screening, filmmaker Michelle Williams Gamaker will be joined by Annie Jael Kwan, curator of exhibition Future Ages Will Wonder, for a conversation about the practice, thinking and making behind the filmmaker’s work.

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FACT Liverpool

88 Wood Street

Liverpool

L1 4DQ

United Kingdom

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Organiser FACT

Organiser of The Bang Straws Screening + Q&A with Michelle Williams Gamaker

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK's leading media arts centre, based in Liverpool.

Our award-winning FACT building houses three galleries (showing four exhibitions per year), a café, bar and four cinema screens, run by Picturehouse and showing the best in independent and mainstream film. FACT also runs its own film programmes, focusing on classic and art house.

Since the organisation was founded in 1988, we have commissioned and presented over 250 new media and digital artworks from artists including Pipilotti Rist, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Isaac Julien.

Our Engagement and Learning programmes offer a range of opportunities for people to get involved with creative technology and digital projects, and our Research team works with partners across the creative industries, health, high education and arts sectors to develop innovative projects.

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