Keynote Speakers

James Benning



I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during World War II in a German working class community that sent its sons to fight their cousins. My father worked on the assembly line for a heavy industry corporation that was then building landing gear for the U.S. military. Later he became a self-taught building designer. I played baseball for the first 20 years of my life receiving a degree in mathematics while playing on a baseball scholarship. I dropped out of graduate school to deny my military deferment (my friends were dying in Viet Nam) and worked with migrant workers in Colorado teaching their children how to read and write. Later I helped start a commodities food program that fed the poor in the Missouri Ozarks. At the age of 33 I received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin where I studied with David Bordwell. For the next four years I taught filmmaking at Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin, University of Oklahoma and the University of California San Diego. In 1980 I moved to lower Manhattan making films with the aid of grant and German Television money. After eight years in New York I moved to Val Verde, California, where I currently reside teaching film/video at California Institute of the Arts. After making films for 40 years I have changed to working on what I call projects, which include films installations, painting, sculpture, and writing. The Two Cabins project was shown as solo museum shows in Graz, Austria and Hamburg, Germany and summarized in (FC) Two Cabins by JB, a book edited by Julie Ault.


Harvard University


Recently co-editor, with Clara Rowland, of Falso Movimento: Ensaios sobre escrita e cinema (2016), Tom Conley, Lowell Professor of Visual & Environmental Studies and Romance Languages at Harvard University, is author of À fleur de page: Voir et lire le texte de la Renaissance (2015), An Errant Eye: Poetry and Topography in Early Modern France (2011), Cartographic Cinema (2007), and other books.   With T. Jefferson Kline he is co-editor of the Wylie-Blackwell Companion to Jean-Luc Godard (2014).  He is completing a study of the films of Raoul Walsh, for which a workshop at the University of Lisbon under the direction of Clara Rowland, has been formative.  


Rhode Island School of Design


Maurizia Natali, Ph.D, was born in Florence, Italy. She studied in her country and in Paris, where she obtained a PhD in film aesthetics at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. She has been teaching at RISD since 1996 where she is senior lecturer at Liberal Arts/History of Art and Visual Culture. She has given courses at RI College and Brown University. She has lectured at Brown University, RISD, New York University, Montreal, Cerisy La Salle, London, and Rome. At RISD she teaches Film Masterpieces; Landscape in American Culture; Dreams on Screen; International Essay Films; Artists on Screen; Phantoms of Beauty and Politics in Italian Cinema. She has published on landscape in American cinema, and other topics of film iconology, politics and aesthetics.


Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3​


Teresa Castro is Associate Professor in Film Studies and Image Theory at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. She holds a BA and an MA in art history and a PhD in Film studies and was a post-doctoral researcher at the musée du quai Branly, Paris (2010-2011), and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (2011). She was an Associate Curator for the film section of the exhibition “Seen from Above” at the Centre Pompidou Metz in 2013. A significant part of her research has focused on the links between cinema and cartography, the notion of a mapping impulse of images and the history of cartographic shapes such as panoramas, aerial views and atlases. In 2011 she published La Pensée cartographique des images. Cinéma et culture visuelle (Lyon, Aléas).