Friday, September 15, 2006

Danielle Beverly kicks off the 2006-2007 Southern Circuit from September 17 - 25

Southern Arts Federation is pleased to kick off the 2006-2007 Southern Circuit - Tour of Independent Filmmakers with Danielle Beverly and her riveting documentary Learning to Swallow from September 17 - 25. Click here for Danielle's touring schedule.

Learning to Swallow tells the story of Patsy Desmond, an artistic whirlwind chronicling her life through self-portraits, stormed through the early 90’s Chicago art and music scene. Full of drama, outrageous style, and charisma, no one guessed that behind it all she was hurtling toward her ruin. In an uncontrolled, manic-depressive episode, Desmond attempted suicide by drinking drain cleaner. Although she survived, the incident destroyed her digestive system. Learning to Swallow follows Desmond over four years of recovery: through reconstructive surgeries, oxy-contin and alcohol addictions, and the ultimate struggle to keep hope.

Learning to Swallow contains footage of Desmond’s recovery, old photos, and animation created from her artwork. Danielle's 96 hours of film culminates with the opening of Patsy Desmond’s exhibition Coming Clean. According to Mary Kerr, programming director of SILVERDOCS, “It is rare that a film can so meticulously capture the essence of a complicated person like Desmond.” Danielle finds that audiences are responding to the film “in an intensely visceral way. Although Patsy’s experience is singular, it also has universality in its portrayal of one person’s resilience, redemption, and self-acceptance.”

While earning her M.F.A in Film/Video from Chicago’s Columbia College, Danielle lived in the fashionable Wicker Park community and befriended wild-child photographer Desmond. “I am attracted to dramatic, unfolding stories; watching the process and transformation of a subject,” says the filmmaker, “I’m not afraid of human pain. Rather, I am drawn to it as a documentary subject – the incredible pain of living.” As a director, Beverly wants the subject to tell their own story-- full of choices, decisions, and survival, “I just try to bear witness to the situation.”

Join Danielle for a screening and discussion of Learning to Swallow

Stay tuned for Danielle's upcoming entries from the Circuit!