|Director: Jules Rosskam|
United States, 2018, 82min
Format: Digital (screening) - HD, 8mm, 16mm (shooting)
Festival Year: 2019
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|Crew: ||Producers: Jules Rosskam, Marc Smolowitz - Screenwriters: Jules Rosskam - Animator: Neely Goniodsky - Sound Design, Music Score and Re-Recording Mix: Kadet Kuhne - Sound Design Assistant: Edward Avilla - Dialogue Editor: Jeremiah Moore
Paternal Rites is a first-person essay film that examines the secret underbelly of a contemporary Jewish American family as they grapple with the aftereffects of physical and sexual abuse on their present-day lives. It is also a groundbreaking film about the nature of trauma and memory itself: the ways in which trauma encrypts in uncanny ways; the function of speech and narrative in the process of decryption; and the role of film and filmmaking in the practice of healing. Paternal Rites draws inspiration from podcasts like This American Life and Radiolab and the long lineage of LGBT essay filmmakers in the U.S. such as Jenni Olson, Marlon Riggs, and Richard Fung.
Jules Rosskam is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and educator. Through the use of autoethnography and hybrid forms, Rosskam's interdisciplinary practice investigates the means by which we construct individual and collective histories and identities.
Born in Chicago and raised in Philadelphia, Rosskam received a BA in Visual Arts from Bennington College in 2001. He then moved to New York City, where he developed a successful editing and production career working for MTV, The History Channel, Curious Pictures, and a wide variety of independent artists. While in New York, Rosskam joined the non-profit media arts organization Dyke TV, which produced an award-winning cable access television show for the queer community. Rosskam rose through the ranks to Executive Producer, and became one of the key members of the show and organization.
In 2005 Rosskam premiered his first feature film, transparent, which was released to critical acclaim and awards both internationally and stateside. Frameline Distribution acquired the film in 2006, and it continues to be one of their most popular films. The film has screened in over 50 film festivals and had its broadcast premiere on PBS in June 2008.
In 2006, Rosskam moved to Chicago to obtain a MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with artists such as Gregg Bordowitz, Frédéric Moffet, Sadie Benning, and the late Barbara DeGenevieve. While in Chicago, Jules co-founded the popular monthly screening series, Threat Level Queer Shorts, which ran from 2008-2010.
In Summer 2007, Jules received a Fellowship from The Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, to support the development of his second feature documentary, against a trans narrative. The film went on to play at film festivals worldwide and had its broadcast premiere on the CBC in June 2010. The Video Data Bank also acquired the film for distribution in 2010.
With the generous support of the Center for Independent Documentary and the LEF Foundation, he is currently in post-production on his fourth feature-length film, Paternal Rites, a first-person essay film that explores the extraordinary and quotidian trauma of being in an American family.
Rosskam is also a fine artist whose paintings, installations, and performances have shown in galleries and venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. Additionally, he is a noted lecturer and speaker, who currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.