Vivian Ducat’s portrait of a remarkably talented folk artist had its world premiere at last year’s Hamptons International Film Festival. The doc also screened at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival, where it picked up an award.
What’s immediately clear in Ducat’s film is that Rembert is a born storyteller. His meticulously crafted leather artwork illustrates his past, growing up African-American during segregation in smalltown Georgia. Ducat, recognizing Rembert’s ability to connect to audiences in this way, places the endearing sixtysomething in the position of storyteller for her portrait. He explains his artwork, the characters who populate it, and the often painful history that inspired it, drawing the viewer into his painstaking process of transforming memories of Jim Crow into indelible objects of cultural preservation. Noting the popularity Rembert’s work has enjoyed among white collectors, and its recent “legitimization” through exhibitions at noted universities, the film presents a subtle commentary on the history and memory of American race relations of the last half century.
Note: Director Ducat and doc subject Rembert will both be present for a post-screening Q&A.