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Announcing the North Quad Documentary Film Night

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It may be a mind-bogglingly busy Autumn at the University of Michigan – filled with coursework, events, projects, and (of course) massive quantities of caffeine – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough time to travel the world. Join us once a month in Space 2435 for the North Quad Documentary Film Series and experience the lives of telemarketers in India, University students in Southeast China, astronomers in the driest desert on Earth, and even wealthy tourists in a Bolivian silver mine. See more details below:



BurdenofdreamBurden of Dreams

Monday, September 9th: 6-8pm

1982, 95 minutes, directed by Les Blank


A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog’s epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively driven director. Not only does he have major casting problems, losing both Jason Robards (health) and Mick Jagger (other commitments) halfway through shooting, but the crew gets caught up in a war between Peru and Ecuador, there are problems with the weather and the morale of cast and crew is falling rapidly.




Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night

Monday, October 28: 6-8pm

26 minutes, directed by Sonali Gulati

A documentary about the outsourcing of American jobs to India. From the perspective of an Indian immigrant living in the United States, using humor and satire to capture the lives of Indian telemarketers who undergo voice and accent training to speak to US customers with an American accent. A complex look at life as per Eastern Standard Time in India.

*Post-screening discussion led by Prasanna Vengadam: Outsourcing of jobs is a reality in today’s global economy.  What’s the impact of this phenomenon on the culture and people in India – a common destination for global business?  How does it affect the Indian American community living here in Michigan? And in the greater society we live and work?   

Prasanna Vengadam is the founding president of South Asian American Voices For Impact (SAAVI).  SAAVI is a non-profit, non-partisan community organization to serve specific issues of South Asian Americans through advocacy, education, and outreach efforts (

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The Dialogue

The Dialogue

Monday, November 11: 6-8pm

2013, directed by Arnd Wacther

The Dialogue is a feature documentary that follows four American and four Chinese university students as they travel together through Hong Kong and Southwest China. Intrigued by the complex context of Sino-US relations, the characters engage deeply with one another by exploring elements of meaningful dialogue and cultural identity. Their shared travel adventures, emotions of culture shock, honest confrontations and discoveries about each other become doorways to deepen their understanding of the “other” and themselves.

A post-screening discussion hosted by the Global Scholars Program will follow. Screened in collaboration with the Language Resource Center and Global Scholars Department as part of International Education Week. Film was created by Crossing Borders Education (CBE) and co-produced by Michigan State University (MSU).

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Say My NameSay My Name

Monday, December 9: 6-8pm

2009, 75 minutes, directed by Nirit Peled

In a hip-hop and r&b world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of SAY MY NAME speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female emcees. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on [a] vibrant tour of urban culture[s] and musical movement[s], from hip hop’s birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside and all points Philly, Detroit, Chica go, Atlanta, and L.A. in between … Delves into the amazing personal stories of women balancing professional dreams with the stark realities of poor urban communities, race, sexism, and motherhood, as the more than 18 artist featured in [the film] battle for a place in a society that creates few chances for women. From emerging artists filled with new creativity, to true pioneers like MC Lyte, Roxanne Shante, and Monie Love, these are women turning adversity into art

*Post-screening discussion and performance co-hosted by the Hip Hop Congress.

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Nostalgia for the LightNostalgia for the Light

Thursday, January 23: 7-9pm

2011, 90 minutes, Directed by Petricio Guzman

Director Patricio Guzman travels to the driest place on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, where astronomers examine distant galaxies, archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilizations, and women dig for the remains of disappeared relatives.

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All in theis Tea

All in This Tea

Thursday, February 13: 7-9pm

2007, 70 minutes, directed by Les Blank & Gina Leibrecht

During the 1990s, David Lee Hoffman searched throughout China for the finest teas. He’s a California importer who, as a youth, lived in Asia for years and took tea with the Dali Lama. Hoffman’s mission is to find and bring to the U.S. the best hand picked and hand processed tea. This search takes him directly to farms and engages him with Chinese scientists, business people, and government officials: Hoffman wants tea grown organically without a factory, high-yield mentality. By 2004, Hoffman has seen success: there are farmer’s collectives selling tea, ways to export “boutique tea” from China, and a growing Chinese appreciation for organic farming’s best friend, the earthworm.

Special tea-tasting hosted by TeaHaus Ann Arbor

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Koryo SaryamKoryo Saram, the Unreliable People

Thursday, March 13: 7-9pm

2006, 60 minutes, Directed by David Chung and Matt Dibble. Executive Producer: Meredith Jung-En Woo

In 1937, Stalin began a campaign of massive ethnic cleansing and forcibly deported everyone of Korean origin living in the coastal provinces of the Far East Russia near the border of North Korea to the unsettled steppe country of Central Asia 3700 miles away. The story of 180,000 Koreans who became political pawns during the Great Terror is the central focus of this film.

Screening will be followed by a presentation and discussion with the filmmaker, David Chung, who is also a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.

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Can't do it in EuropeCan’t do it in Europe

Thursday, April 10: 7-9pm

2006, 46 minutes, directed by Charlotta Copcutt, Anna Weitz & Anna Klara Ahrén

A look at the unlikely tourist destination of Potosí, Bolivia, where wealthy travelers pay for the right to experience an authentic Third World silver mine.


Taring Padi Main Poster 1920x1080

Taring Padi Exhibition in Space 2435

By | event, exhibition, indonesia, north quad, screenings, space 2435, taring padi, university of michigan | No Comments


Through art, they began building an understanding amongst the people to fight against injustice, helping to forge a community aware of environmental, social, political, and cultural issues, inviting the community to be active and courageous in voicing their real life experiences and their opinions on the performance of government. (Sinaga)

The year 1998 is a period of Indonesian history marked by political unrest, ethnic conflict, and general disorder following the end of Suharto’s New Order regime. It is also, however, a period marked by student activism and the fight of the Indonesian people to rise above such chaos. It was in this context that the group Taring Padi (translated as “the fang of the rice plant”) emerged in the city of Yogyakarta, a city that is known for its vibrant and long tradition of both arts and activism.

Taring Padi, commonly referred to as TP, was first formed by students from Yogyakarta’s institute of art known as ISI (Institut Kesenian Yogyakarta). Influenced by an ideology of budaya kerakyatan or people oriented culture, these individuals had a desire to pick up where student activists had left off following the beginning of the reformation period in early 1998. As Toni Volunteero, one of Taring Padi’s initial founders states, there were still many social, political, and economic concerns faced by the Indonesian populace at this time. With a desire to represent those whose voices were rarely heard, Taring Padi set forth with a goal to create art that would both help to educate and give a voice to marginalized communities.

While Taring Padi was initially formed by art students from ISI, it did not take long for individuals with no background in the arts to join in the collective action of this group. An important characteristic of Taring Padi is the democratic collectivism that underlies all artistic production and activity. While in the last decade Taring Padi has been recognized as a part of Yogyakarta and Indonesia’s art history, at its core, Taring Padi is first and foremost a collective of social activists.

Nearly fifteen years after its inception, Taring Padi’s message has not only reached various communities in Indonesia but has also travelled abroad creating a network that is truly global. Taring Padi has participated in workshops in countries including Australia, East-Timor, and Thailand. The relaxed nature of this group and the desire of the second generation of Taring Padi members, who are now carrying on the activities of their predecessors, reinforce the significance that continues to be placed on the necessity of drawing attention to issues faced by marginalized populations in Indonesia as well as abroad.

Since the inception of Taring Padi in December 1998, the work of this group has focused on themes related to the social and political concerns of the Indonesian people. Resembling the style of propaganda posters, the imposing realism of Taring Padi’s work leaves a strong impression on the viewer. While themes present in Taring Padi’s work such as anti-violence, humans rights, and equality are universal, a particular emphasis is placed on the struggles of laborers and farmers. In order to examine in more depth the ideology of Taring Padi expressed through their art and activism, this exhibition divides the twenty prints on display into four categories including: anti-violence, anti-corruption, empowerment and activism, and politics. Working through these larger themes, the context in which each print was created and the message it portrays demonstrates the universality and density of meaning present in each print. As one views these images it cannot be ignored how the concerns of artists and activists in Indonesia reflect the issues faced by marginalized populations throughout the world.

Sinaga, D. (2011). “Taring Padi: Not for the sake of a fine arts discourse.” Taring Padi: Seni membongkar tirani. Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Lumbung Press.

EXHIBITION DATES: February 22 – March 16, 2013
Space 2435, North Quad (located on the corner of S. State & E.
Washington St. in the North Quad building)


  • Friday, February 22, 1-6pm:
    Opening Event: T-shirt printing workshop with visiting Taring Padi member Sudandyo Aprilianto. Space limited- RSVP at Refreshments will be served.
  • Monday, February 25, 7-9pm:
    Screening: In the Eye of the Day by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Trilogy #1)
  • Thursday, February 28, 7-9pm:
    Screening: Shape of the Moon by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Trilogy #2)
  • Friday, March 1, 3:30-5pm:
    Gamelan music demonstration by Anon Suneka.
  • Saturday, March 16, 2-6pm:
    Closing Event: Indonesian Dance Workshop & Performance with Sanggar Bhineka Tunggal Ika. Refreshments will be served.

    For more information about Taring Padi, visit:
    For more information about the exhibition and events, Contact North Quad Programming