Filmmaker bridges documentary, narrative

  • Courtesy photo—

Thursday, June 01, 2017 2:11PM

Starting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, filmmaker Jacqueline Goss will screen a short and an excerpt of a longer film before engaging the MacDowell Downtown audience at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. Both of films were shot in the state and Goss is herself a New Hampshire native and two-time MacDowell Fellow.

The program will open with “Hart’s Location” (28 minutes), a film that deftly inserts a fictional character into the very real events of last year’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Within the film’s narrative, the camera follows a voter to rallies and other New Hampshire locations. In Goss’s description, the short film “considers the textures and emotions of current political impulses” in the U.S.

The filmmaker will also screen a brief excerpt from “The Observers,” a film about climatologists working at the summit of Mount Washington, one of the last staffed weather observatories on the planet. The New York Times said the film “suggests a lament for a time ... when perhaps it was possible to record the weather in this place and feel as if you were the last human on earth.”

“There are Easter eggs of story stuck in here and there,” she says, describing her observational films as hybrids of documentary and narrative. “There are elements of fiction in both ‘The Observers’ and ‘Hart’s Location.’”

Goss says she makes films while teaching filmmaking at Bard College. “I always try to find ways to involve students in projects and I’m often inspired by their work,” she says. “It’s a really fluid relationship.”

“The Observers,” shot in five days in winter and five days in summer to capture the location’s extremes, relied on a student cinematographer and another student as a crew member. Having “looked at Mount Washington every day as a kid,” Goss says the peak has always fascinated her.

Goss, a 2008 Tribeca Film Institute Media Arts Fellow and the 2007 recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in Film and Video, is currently at work on a documentary about the visual and conceptual artist Lee Lozano who died in 1999. She says she learned about Lozano during a gallery visit in 2011 and “was really curious about who had made the art.” Goss adds that the impression made by Lozano’s work, which has been viewed as rejecting capitalism and traditional gender roles, stayed with her and so she decided to pursue the subject as a film.

To get a peek into the filmmaker’s process and practice of making movies about systems and the ways they change our self-perceptions, don’t miss MacDowell Downtown tomorrow evening, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. The doors at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture open at 7 p.m. with light refreshments served.