A film by Kevin Jerome Everson
2010, 81 minutes
No. 184

Two young men spar in a fencing duel; a seated girl seemingly hypnotized stares at a candle flame; a man with a screwdriver and hanger tirelessly attempts to open his locked car door; a group of young girls laugh and talk on a rainy boat ride.

In this landmark documentary, filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson -- whose rich body of work has been acclaimed for its rigoration and poetic exploration of the African-American experience -- presents a series of single-take, black and white, 16mm sequences filmed in and around communities near Lake Erie, including Buffalo, Cleveland, Mansfield, Ohio and Niagara Falls. 

Beautifully photographed and mostly free of dialogue (save for one conversation between three former General Motors employees), Erie is an incisive and major work that connects Black migration from the South to North to economic hardships facing working class communities today for one of the most compelling portraits of life in the United States.

Official Selection, Rotterdam Film Festival,
Winner, Best Film, New York Underground Film Festival
Winner, Jury Prize, Images Film FEstival
Official Screening, Tate Modern
Official Screening, Museum of Modern Art

"Everson, who was born in the working-class community of Mansfield, Ohio, depicts details in the lives of people living and working in similar American communities: a mechanic repairing an old car in a backyard, a black beauty queen in a segregated pageant, men boxing, snowplow operators in winter, young men walking into a courtroom, the aftermath of a murder. Some of Everson’s films are constructed from appropriated news and film footage, uncovering forgotten details of African-American life in the 1960s and 70s. In other films, the artist explores the waxing and waning of a community’s sense of itself and the migration of black people from the South to the North in order to find work. Everson approaches race, sexuality, and economic circumstances with a poetic yet unflinching eye." - Whitney Museum of American Art