Ohio Humanities, Wexner Center for the Arts Announce Film Fellowship Partnership

COLUMBUS, OH—Ohio Humanities and the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University are thrilled to announce a three-year partnership to support independent filmmakers-in-residence at the Wex who are working on humanities-informed documentary films. The collaboration will support up to five Ohio Humanities Film Fellows at the Wex each year.

“For 50 years, Ohio Humanities has had a rich history of supporting documentary film projects and filmmakers,” said Ohio Humanities Executive Director Rebecca Brown Asmo. “We are so excited to continue uplifting Ohio’s stories and emerging storytellers with roots or connections to our state alongside the Wex.”

Ohio Humanities Film Fellows at the Wex will have a connection to Ohio or cover a topic that is highly relevant to Ohioans. Humanities-informed documentary film projects engage audiences with ideas and frameworks that tell stories of our shared human experience, strengthen communities, and help bridge divides.

“The Wex’s Film/Video department has had a longstanding commitment to Ohio filmmakers and their stories through our screening and residency programs,” noted Wexner Center Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange. “It’s incredibly gratifying to have our work affirmed and bolstered by Ohio Humanities. This partnership will allow us to deepen our support of Ohio productions and give them greater visibility.”

The first three fellows in this partnership are Mary Jo Bole, Zeinabu irene Davis, and Ruun Nuur.

Over an illustrious career, Bole, an emeritus professor of art at Ohio State, has explored various media including geological materials, printmaking, hand-drawn maps, artist books and installations. A Columbus resident originally from Cleveland, Bole is working on a feature-length autobiographical documentary, Family White Elephants. In it, Bole takes a historian’s interest in her family’s genealogy, which includes industrial titans like Carnegie and Rockefeller, and pieces together their story through photographs, newspaper articles, and other ephemera.

Davis is developing a hybrid documentary, Stars of the Northern Sky, that recounts the historic legal trials of three enslaved women in the North: Sojourner Truth, Phyllis Wheatley, and Marie Joseph Angelique. Based in Los Angeles, Davis is connected to Ohio through past filmmaking projects and her work as a professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs. She plans to return to the state to shoot portions of the Sojourner Truth section at the Akron site where Truth gave her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech.

A Columbus-based filmmaker, activist, curator, and critic, Nuur has initiated the restoration of a historically important film from her homeland of Somalia. It’s one of a very few produced by the country, and the film was considered lost until the recent discovery of an existing negative. Nuur intends to work with relevant archives to digitally preserve the film. She’s also launched pre-production on a parallel documentary about Somali poet, scholar, and filmmaker Said Salah Ahmed.

About Ohio Humanities
Ohio Humanities is a statewide nonprofit that shares stories to spark conversations and inspire ideas by hosting programs and awarding grants that support storytellers statewide, from museums to journalists to documentary filmmakers. For more information, please visit our website at ohiohumanities.org.

About the Wexner Center for the Arts
The Wexner Center is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary laboratory for contemporary art and culture. Through exhibitions, performances, screenings, educational programs, artist residencies, and publications, the Wex serves as a vital forum where artists test ideas and where diverse audiences engage the art and issues of our time. In its programs, the Wex balances a commitment to experimentation with a critical appreciation of the past. Our work affirms the university’s pursuit of civic participation, freedom of expression, and robust dialogue. More info is at wexarts.org.

Kiley Kinnard, Communications Manager kkinnard@ohiohumanities.org
Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager mstarker@wexarts.org