Kevin Jerome Everson has made more than 131 shorts and nine features—so far—exploring the intersections of work and geography among African Americans and other people of African descent. Often mining events from his own life, local history, and vignettes from his actors’ lives, Everson scripts ordinary behavior and dialogue into theatrical gestures. In reediting or restaging personal stories or archival footage, the prosaic becomes specific and distinct. Everson looks for “frames that connect the necessity and the coincidence,” where “necessity” is the plot or character driving the film, “coincidence” the scenes that seem accidental or are lifted from found footage. Ratner engages Everson on his oblique approach that prizes his subjects’ dignity over his viewers’ comfort. At a time when weightless spectacle dominates imagery, Everson responds to her questions and to his craft with nuanced gravity.

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