Walis J

I am an experimental filmmaker, educator and researcher whose work documents experiences of the urban landscape through oral history, film essay, sound, performance (walking practices) and short narrative. I am particularly interested in the intersection of documentary film and performance. Early on, when 16 mm film was the primary material of documentary practice, I trained as a documentary film editor. I have a Master’s degree in international/intercultural relations and am working toward a final thesis project in Integrative Media Arts and Advanced Documentary film and Video from Hunter College. I’ve researched conflict resolution in the early years of post-apartheid South Africa and, later, in New York, became involved in educational philanthropy working toward creating equity in under -resourced neighborhoods in New York and across the country.

My thesis project is a participatory performance video focused on the practice of redlining by banks and other government institutions in  New York, particularly African-American neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant, Weeksville and Fort Greene. The performance and filmed documentation will expose critical links between housing segregation, urban gentrification, economic displacement and cultural/historical erasure. I am a member of the recently formed Diverse Filmmaker Alliance, a collection of documentarians, narrative and experimental who workshop, formulate and support new artistic strategies for our work.

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