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 rigorous 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 - made available for the first time - 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

“Kevin Jerome Everson’s films about ordinary African-American life are completely unordinary. [It’s] Remarkable work… driven by the same restless, probing, experimental impulse.” – The New York Times
“A brilliant artist and an incisive observer.” – Shadow and Act

“Everson's Erie captures the quotidian and every-so-often revelatory experiences of working-class African-Americans… In this sense Erie's abstraction of context is illuminating rather than alienating, creating a detailed community portrait that repositions the frame that surrounds it." – LA Weekly
“Working in numerous film and video formats, Everson has presented images of the lives of African Americans—and other people of African heritage, worldwide—through his own distinctive practice of cinematic portraiture… Because so much of his output feels fragmentary and evocative, with connecting themes hidden behind what only seems to be a documentary lucidity, his filmmaking benefits from cumulative viewings, patterns emerging slowly over time.” – Artforum

"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