Copyright Kevin Jerome Everson; courtesy the artist; Trilobite-Arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures
Tonsler Park (Dir. Kevin Jerome Everson, 2017)
Date: September 18, 2018
Location: Downtown Independent
Address: 251 S. Main St, Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Los Angeles premiere! Co-presented by MUBI!
This portrait of the black staff members in the polling station at Tonsler Park in Charlottesville, Virginia was filmed during the US Presidential Election Day on November 8, 2016, the day when the battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was decided. Kevin Jerome Everson records the staff taking an oath, seeing rows of voters pass as they hand out voting slips, while no one seems aware of the camera that is standing there motionless. Conversations change to hubbub, backs block the camera’s view ––this is democracy in practice and every vote counts.
Everson is a very productive filmmaker who has made countless short and long films about the work culture of black Americans. His choice for this location is not without significance: Tonsler Park is named after Benjamin Tonsler, a local Afro-American school director who continued to teach older Afro-American pupils against the law in the era of segregation. (IFFR)
Screening presented with the participation of Trilobite-Arts DAC and Picture Palace Pictures.
A careful study of people at work, positioned at the intersection of race and politics. This is the cinema we need.
Erika Balsom, Artforum
Instead of being another film in Everson’s oeuvre that focuses on the processes and practices of everyday life for black Americans, Tonsler Park has acquired a level of monumentality.
Helen de Witt, Sight & Sound
A work of great beauty, simplicity, and hope... An act of artistic and political clout that should run as a permanent installation on museum walls across the country in a continuous loop.
Tony Pipolo, Artforum
Everson’s films are examples of just how fiercely cinema’s plain vernacular can be rooted in politics. Tonsler Park softly plays out such monumental concerns over the fate of the political system, access and power in the US from the micro-level.
Ela Bittencourt, Frieze
Reveals itself beautifully and with incremental, unexpectedly moving force. Mr. Everson is asking you to look, really look, and he is asking you to think, including about documentary cinema’s history of representing black people as problems.
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times