College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

USM, PMA to Host Renowned Indie Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt

A nationally prominent filmmaker will talk about and show one of her films later this month during a special event presented by USM, the Maine Humanities Council and the Portland Museum of Art (PMA). 

Award-winning director Kelly Reichardt will show and discuss “Meek’s Cutoff,” starring Michelle Williams, as part of a statewide effort to highlight the roles of women in film, according to Ariel Rogers, USM assistant professor of film studies and event co-organizer. 

“Reichardt is an important independent filmmaker who makes work that is both smart and affecting,” Rogers said. “It’s an opportunity to talk with somebody who is making movies on a large scale and reaching audiences and who is also very thoughtful about her use of the medium.” 

The Portland Museum of Art, venue for the event, is including this month two other Reichardt films, “Wendy and Lucy,” also starring Michelle Williams, and “ Old Joy,” as part of its PMA Movies program. 

“In all three of these films, Kelly Reichardt has probed deeply in a simple, austere, and quiet way to reveal the emotions and the truths that lie at the heart of human and social relationships,” commented Steve Halpert, PMA Movies curator. “She is both sensitive and tough, and her body of work is growing increasingly impressive.” 

Details of the event are: 

  • “Meek’s Cutoff”: Special Screening and Roundtable Discussion of the acclaimed 2011 film by filmmaker Kelly Reichardt; moderated by Sarah Keller, Colby College assistant professor of English and Cinema Studies, and Ariel Rogers, USM assistant professor of Film Studies; 6 p.m., Friday, April 11, Portland Museum of Art, Seven Congress Square; free admission with college student I.D.; all other tickets: $8/$6 PMA members; FMI: 

The sponsors for the event are: USM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHS), Maine Humanities Council, Portland Museum of Art, USM Department of Communication and Media Studies, USM Women and Gender Studies, and Colby College Cinema Studies. 

Reichardt is a screenwriter and director whose first film, “River of Grass,” debuted in 1994. Her 2006 film, “Old Joy,” won a number of awards, including one from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Her other films have been shown at a variety of film festivals. Reichardt is an Artist-in-Residence in the Bard College Film and Electronic Arts program. She also is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. 

Reichardt’s appearance is part of a statewide effort to showcase the work of women filmmakers and discuss the roles women play in cinema, said Rogers, who is a faculty member in the USM Department of Communication and Media Studies under CAHS. 

Rogers said that she is working with Sarah Keller, Colby College assistant professor of English and Cinema Studies, to orchestrate a Maine-wide symposium on women in film, which also will include an appearance by Reichardt at Colby on April 10, an appearance by avant-garde filmmaker Su Friedrich at Colby on April 28, and a talk by the scholar, Dana Renga -- organized by Allison Cooper, Bowdoin College assistant professor of Romance languages -- at Bowdoin on May 2. 

The issue of women in film “remains important, both in the context of production and in the forms of representation we find in movies,” Rogers said. One goal of the project, she continued, is to bring attention to and discuss “whether and why it’s important to think about the gender of the director.” 

“The work of women directors offers us the opportunity to pay attention to perspectives or worldviews that can diverge from what we find in much mainstream cinema,” Rogers said. 

Reichardt’s movies, which have been shown at the Sundance and Venice International film festivals, “offer a different pace from other films,” the USM professor said. The director’s films are “definitely slower … but more attuned to details or nuances and the experience of being in places, rather than action,” Rogers said. 

The USM professor said she was especially pleased that the event was being held at the Portland Museum of Art. 

“It’s really exciting to show these movies and talk with Reichardt at the Portland Museum of Art, which makes these events more accessible to the Portland community at large,” she said. 

For more information about the USM Department of Communication and Media Studies, go to

For more information about PMA Movies, go to