Skip to main content

10.11.2018 | 20H

la lumière collective
7080-506, rue Alexandra
Montréal [QC]


En présence de la cinéaste.


7$ à la porte.

Présenté par

la lumière collective


la lumière collective presents a special program of short works + an experimental documentary feature (Liahona, 2013) by Talena Sanders, who will be screening her newest film, Between My Flesh and the World’s Fingers, at RIDM.

Reasonable Watchfulness
​2018 | sound | col. | 16mm transferred to HD | 5min30
Transitions while longing for other places and people, like a fox on the run.
2015 | sound | col. | 16mm transferred to HD | 13min29

Experiments in 19th century acculturation of two groups living thousands of miles apart, but sharing the same name, depending on whom you talk to and what language you say it in. Parallel histories of invasion, assimilation, aspirations, and appropriations, from the first colonization to the mid-century modern and today. Prospectors, colonists, and tourists seeking future sites of luxury, resources, and romance.

Text/audio drawn from Lord Macaulay’s Minute on Indian Education (1835) as performed by Samarth Naik, Captain Richard H. Pratt’s speech printed in “The Advantages of Mingling the Indians With Whites” (1892) as performed by Bobby Bass, G&E Show n’ Tell PictureSound Record “Indian Pow Wow” (1965), songs from “Christopher Columbus” Mel-O-Toons (1960), language lessons from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, promotional materials from Jaypee Greens luxury homes, Lord Macaulay’s Minute on Indian Education as read by Vikram Chandra from “The Big Fight Over Language” NDTV (2014), field recordings recorded on location in and around New Delhi (2013). All image original, except for still images from G&E Show n’ Tell PictureSound Record “Indian Pow Wow”.

“Talena Sanders’s Prospector is a collagelike essay about the effects of Western imperialism on northern India and on Native American communities in the southwestern U.S.; interwoven shots of untouched landscapes and tourist kitsch suggest an ongoing conflict between past and present…Prospector uses 16-millimeter film to evoke feelings of nostalgia, fragility, and irreparable loss.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

2013 | sound | col/b&w | 16mm film transferred to HD | 69min30
Liahona is an experimental documentary examining the culture, history, and lived experience of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, often referred to as the Mormon faith. The film creates a portrait of Mormonism through documentation of LDS cultural dominance in Utah, the suppressed history of folk magic in the early church, landmark Mormon life experiences, and Sanders’ personal history and connection to the church. Found media with the voices of outsiders and insiders illuminate a religion that intrigues many, but is seen as mysterious or inaccessible. Liahona shifts through perspectives on the faith – from reverence to questioning, presenting the complexities of the vast institution of Mormonism contrasted with the tenuity of individual faith.

�Liahona is an examination of how mysticism becomes mundane, the balance and the tension in Mormon life experience between the illogical and the pedestrian, the public face of Mormonism and gaps in accessibility. What is it about the Mormons that make them so distinctively different? Recorded on 16mm film, Liahona traverses Utah, Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois and Independence, Missouri to piece together this portrait of a faith.


Talena Sanders makes moving image works that explore the development of individual and collective senses of identity in affinity groups. Her films and videos are informed by an interest in presenting the many ways that social institutions can shape individuals’ lives on both the broader geopolitical level and the most intimate, personal scales. A common starting point for developing new projects begins with an interest in interrogating narratives from histories and how historical records can influence senses of identity, especially as it relates to ideas of national and regional character.

She believes there are endless means to present and interrogate materials from the real on the spectrum from nonfiction to narrative production approaches. Her work often places historical found/archival footage and audio in dialogue with contemporary media captured on location to question constructs of privilege and power in who gets authorized to tell the story of a shared experience.
She holds an MFA from Duke University’s Experimental and Documentary Arts program and a BFA from the University of Kentucky. Her work has been screened, exhibited, and collected internationally, including at the New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde, FID Marseille, Montreal International Documentary Festival, Fronteira Festival, Viennale, DokuFest Kosovo, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Her first feature documentary, Liahona, is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources and Doc Alliance. She has previously taught film and video production and film studies at Duke University and the University of Montana. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Sonoma State University.