The African Desperate
The African Desperate follows artist Palace Bryant on one very long day in 2017 that starts with her MFA graduation in New York’s Hudson Valley and ends at the Chicago Blue Line Station. Set against the lush backdrop of late summer, Palace navigates the pitfalls of self-actualization and the fallacies of the art world.
Shot through with Sym’s celebrated conceptual grit, humor, social commentary, and vivid visual language, and starring artist Diamond Stingily, The African Desperate leads us on an intimate and riotously funny journey through picturesque landscapes and artists’ studios, from academic critiques to backseat hookups, and from the night of a wild graduation party to the morning of a lonely trip back home.
A conversation with Martine Syms will follow the screening.
Dates + Tickets
EMPAC Fall 2022
Written and directed by Martine Syms and starring artist Diamond Stingily, The African Desperate is co-written by Rocket Caleshu and edited by Nicole Otero, with cinematography by Daisy Zhou and an original score by Aunt Sister, Colin Self, and Ben Babbit. It is produced by Vic Brooks and Rocket Caleshu with executive producers Sadie Coles, Bridget Donahue, Lana Kim, and Jett Steiger.
The African Desperate was filmed on-location, with production support from EMPAC’s staff, at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, White Feather Farm Foundation, and TechCity in Ulster County, with post-production sound by EMPAC audio engineer Stephen McLaughlin undertaken in conjunction with Sym’s fall 2021 residency at EMPAC.
The film is produced by Dominica Inc., Ways & Means, Sadie Coles HQ, Bridget Donahue, and EMPAC at Rensselaer.
The African Desperate premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam in Europe and in the US as the closing night feature at MoMA and Lincoln Center’s New Directors / New Films festival in Spring 2022. It is distributed world-wide by MUBI.