Published: July 28, 2022

By Hannah Stewart (Comm’19)

The third annual Mimesis Documentary Festival will be held in Boulder from Tuesday, Aug. 2, to Sunday, Aug. 7. The festival, which is open to the public and University of Colorado Boulder community, is hosted by the College of Media, Communication and Information’s Center for Documentary and Ethnographic Media (CDEM).

Mimesis is a unique festival that highlights socially relevant subjects explored largely through documentary film. Many of the workshops and screenings are available both online and in person, and special events will take place in Boulder at the Dairy Arts Center and B2 Center for Media, Arts & Performance.

Eric Coombs Esmail, CDEM director, said the festival is special because it “builds on Colorado’s tradition of avant-garde media art and grounds it firmly in the 21st century.” 

Notably, 80% of the projects come from open submissions in a variety of categories, like traditional documentary, ethnographic and emerging/students. This year, there were more than 200 submissions.

The opening night feature, Song of Salt, is set in the isolated mining town of Trona, California, on the outskirts of Death Valley. In Emma Baiada and Nicolas Snyder’s documentary, viewers can glimpse the struggles and celebrations within a tight-knit community as it faces the present realities of an eroding economy. 

This feature will be screened online and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Dairy Arts Center’s Boedecker Cinema. Baiada and Snyder will host a conversation about their film following the screening.

Another notable screening is Aleph, a travelogue film created by 2022 Artist in Focus Iva Radivojević that follows its protagonists across 10 countries and five continents. The Boedecker Cinema will screen the film at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, followed by a conversation with Radivojević. On Saturday, Radivojević will also present a masterclass discussing film elements at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6.

“We don’t send any special invitations or curate in advance,” Esmail said about the artist in-focus selection process. “We try to pick an artist who is relevant in the contemporary documentary landscape.”

Attendees may also see installation-based documentary art pieces and participate in workshops.

In addition to CMCI, the Dairy Arts Center and the B2 Center, festival supporters include the Departments of Anthropology and Critical Media Practices, the Research and Innovation Office, and festival partners and individual donors.

Tickets are available online through the Mimesis website. Space is limited, so members of the public must obtain a pass and reserve tickets prior to attending in-person or virtual screenings.