Jose Luis Benavides: Letters to Lost Loved Ones and Other Works
@ Nightingale Cinema
1084 N Milwaukee Ave, Apt. A, Chicago, IL 60642
Opening Friday, November 19th, at 7PM
Friday, November 19th at 7pm
Proof of vaccination will be required to attend all Nightingale Cinema events, and masks will be worn at all times.
Nightingale Cinema welcomes Chicago-raised educator, and activist Jose Luis Benavides to present short works made from 2013-2021. Luis’s work manifests his acute understanding, and labor within and around, political, environmental, and personal issues and anxieties. Utilizing modes of experimental and documentary cinema, Luis uses his real-life experience working with the Chicago community to discuss sensitive and timely topics and systems like prisons and prisoners, gun control, mental health, and institutional violence. A long-time member of the Chicago film and activist community, Luis’s work presents stories of others as well as his own, to ultimately navigate and talk through contemporary institutional problems as a community.
This program features a new in-progress work titled Letters for Lost Love Ones. Letters to Lost Loved Ones is a documentary short created in collaboration with the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project and several incarcerated people in Illinois prisons during the Covid-19 pandemic. Compiled from many correspondences, this short film traces nine incarcerated individuals’ experience of the lockdown, untimely deaths, and institutional neglect. Animations and archival footage transform their letters, journal entries, poems and reflections into a somber reprieve on injustice, mourning, loss and healing.
Voices and letters by Lamonte Dixon, Tammy Englerth, Nia Frazier, Phillip Hartsfield, Kenneth Key, Angie Oaks, Ricky Patterson, Erika Ray, and Devon Terrell. Animations by Andrew Grant. Produced by Illinois Deaths in Custody Project team, including Alkebuluan Merriweather, Erica Meiners, Therese Quinn, and Matthew Yasuoka. Made possible with the generous grant from the Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice program.
Letters to Lost Loved Ones (Work in Progress), ~25 minutes, 2021
Lulu’s Journal, 04:32, 2017
Commission on Mental Health at Chicago-Read, 6:53, 2018
Urban Forwardism, 01:34, 2014
Power, 3:00, 2013
Stones Throw, 1:27, 2014
Red Scare, 16:35, 2019
TRT: 52 minutes
About the Artist:
Jose Luis Benavides is a Latinx and queer video artist, photographer and lecturer at Wilbur Wright College – City Colleges of Chicago. Born-and-raised in Chicago, he works primarily with a range of personal archives. His videos explore issues relating to gender and sexuality, cultural erasure, migration, and institutionalized violence. His work has featured and exhibited at Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, US (2020), Full Spectrum Features’ Chicago Cinema Exchange: Mexico City (2020), Onion City: Experimental Film and Video Festival, Chicago, US (2020), MSU Latinx Film Festival, Lansing, US (2020), Revolutions Per Minute Festival, University of Massachusetts Boston, US (2020), CinHomo – Muestra Internacional de Cine y Diversidad Sexual LGBTI, Valladolid, ES (2019), Cadence Video Poetry Festival, Seattle, US (2019), and HOMOGRAFÍA/HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels, BE (2019), Terremoto – La Postal, Mexico City, MX (2018), and Qalandiya International, Ramallah, PS (2018). Benavides also founded an ongoing video art screening program, Sin Cinta Previa: Latinx & Queer Archive Video Series, for which he was awarded a Hyde Park Arts Center – Artists Run Chicago 2.0 grant, (2021), a Propeller Fund grant (2019), and POWER Project grant from the Art Leaders of Color Network (2018).
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