Open Secret:
Workshop with Ephraim Asili

In-Person at Agnes
16 November 2023
6–8 pm

In collaboration with students in Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies at Queen’s University.

Drop in, registration isn’t required. Free and open to all.

Open Secret: The Second Edition continues as a series composed of screenings, conversations, and workshops. This series takes its departure from Fred Moten’s words that “poetry investigates new ways for people to get together and do stuff in the open, in secret.” Similarly, cinema’s capacity to condition spaces for gathering, and the double maneuver of opacity and transparency inherent in its making sets the precedent for this sort of investigation embedded in collaboration.

The series continues with a workshop hosted by the artist and filmmaker Ephraim Asili, whose filmmaking practice engages with the different facets of the African diaspora – and his own place within it. His documentaries explore the interconnected nature of politics, aesthetics and activism.

Workshop: Documentary, Diaspora & the Archive

This workshop gives participants an opportunity to engage with the documentary filmmaking practice of Ephraim Asili. Often inspired by his day-to-day wanderings, Asili creates art that situates itself as a series of meditations on the every day and the fragmented cultural identities that coalesce in today’s world. Asili’s films put forward a strong statement on the history and evolution of Black activism that are both formally and politically innovative. This workshop will give shape to Asili’s creative process, with a focus on the use of archival materials in his work. It is the intention of the workshop to allow participants to learn about process, practice and form in a collaborative way with the artist.


Ephraim Asili is an African-American artist, filmmaker, writer, activist, DJ and traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. Asili’s films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, the Berlinale, and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Asili’s feature debut, The Inheritance, premiered at TIFF and was recently acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art for its permanent collection. The film also provides a conceptual framework for the Whitney’s current major exhibition, also entitled Inheritance. In 2020, Asili was named as one of “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker magazine. In 2021, Asili was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation recipient. Most recently, Asili directed the short film, Strange Math, and a live fashion show at the Louvre for Louis Vuitton, featuring Sun Ra’s myth science and the FAMU marching band. Asili is currently the director of the Film and Electronic Arts Program at Bard College, where he is also an associate professor teaching film production and film studies.

Co-curated by Brandon Hocura and Hilary Jay

Ephraim Asili’s visit is in collaboration with the Department of Film & Media at Queen’s University and made possible by the Chancellor Dunning Trust Visitorship.
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