Filmmaker Maureen Gosling to Teach at HU in April

Maureen Gosling

Maureen Gosling 

Las Vegas, NM — Acclaimed documentary filmmaker, editor and director Maureen Gosling will teach at Highlands University April 1 — 12 through the university’s Nina Telsa Ballen Visiting Artist Program.

Gosling will also present a lecture and lead a discussion April 1 after a free community screening of the documentary Smokin’ Fish. The screening will be at 7 p.m. in the university’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium, 900 University Ave.

Smokin’ Fish is a feature-length documentary about Native Alaskan food, culture, family, history, and living in the present. Gosling edited the PBS film, which won best documentary honors in the 2012 Arizona International Film Festival, among others.

Gosling’s career spans 41 years, and her films have been featured in dozens of film festivals around the globe. For 20 years she collaborated with renowned documentary filmmaker Les Bank.

There will be a public closing reception for Gosling April 12 from 6 — 8 p.m. in the Highlands University Media Arts Building West, Room 100, 901 University Ave. The El Fidel Restaurant will cater the reception.

“Film provides a vehicle into other worlds, and each film is like opening a door into a social or cultural issue, whether it’s indigenous people in Oaxaca, Mexico or Vietnamese actors in Hanoi,” Gosling said. “At Highlands, I hope to bring enthusiasm for the experience of filmmaking to students, as well as look at films for their ideas and not just the technical aspects.”

The Colorado Springs, Colo. native earned her bachelor’s degree in social anthropology from the University of Michigan. Her films often explore the themes of people and their cultural values, music as cultural expression, and changing gender roles for men and women. 

Earlier this month, Gosling’s documentary film This Ain’t No Mouse Music premiered at South by Southwest, a famed music and film festival in Austin, Texas. The film, a collaboration with filmmaker Chris Simon, is about Chris Strachwitz, an independent label music producer.

Gosling earned international accolades and awards for her 2000 film Blossoms of Fire, a feature documentary that is a celebratory tribute to the indigenous Isthmus Zapotec people of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. The film won the coveted Coral Award for Best Foreign Documentary About Latin America at the Havana International Film Festival.

Gosling has worked with filmmakers and other students at universities like Stanford and San Francisco State University. She lives in Oakland, Calif.

“I have loved watching my film students grow, change and blossom as filmmakers,” Gosling said. “A big part of filmmaking is developing your own voice and having something to say, which comes from living your life fully and looking for fresh material that can come from your own experiences,”

The university’s media arts, women’s studies, and anthropology programs are participating in Gosling’s visit. Media arts visiting professor Casondra Sobieralski, a colleague of Gosling’s, wrote the successful Nina Telsa Ballen grant application.

“Maureen’s visit is an opportunity for our students to work with a groundbreaking filmmaker who worked with Les Blank to develop a new genre of documentaries that celebrate folk traditions,” Sobieralski said. “What I’m most excited about is Maureen seeing our students’ film work and the networking possibilities for them. She has so many contacts in the independent film industry, including working in the legendary Zaentz Media Center in West Berkeley, a hive of independent filmmakers.

“I greatly admire Maureen’s artistry and tenacity in remaining true to her artistic and political ideas in a time of increased corporatization of media,” Sobieralski said.

She added that Gosling entered filmmaking at a time when the field was entirely dominated by men. Today, Gosling said things have changed up to a point.

“Women are almost at parity in documentaries but there are still very few women in high-profile filmmaking,” Gosling said.

Gosling is featured in a book for middle school age girls titled, You Can Be a Woman Movie Maker, by Cascade Press.