CWC Docs: Last Things

  • Thursday, February 1, 2024 / 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (PST)
  • Pollock Theater
  • Screening Format: Sony 4K digital projection (50 minutes)
  • With Deborah Stratman (filmmaker)
  • Director: Deborah Stratman
    Narration: Valérie Massadian and Marcia Bjørnerud

Deborah Stratman’s Last Things (2023) defies the conventional boundaries of documentary cinema. A philosophical exploration rooted in the theory of mineral evolution, it blends documentary with aspects of the experimental film, the essay film, and science fiction. Transcending the conventions of typical science documentaries, it offers a geohistorical exploration of life on Earth, examining evolution and extinction through the perspective of rocks: ancient formations that predate humanity and will persist long after us. Drawing inspiration from the novellas of J.-H. Rosny (the pseudonym of two Belgian brothers who are considered forerunners of the science-fiction genre), the film embraces a pluralist vision of evolution and explores the planet’s past and future. Informed by thinkers and writers like Roger Caillois, Clarice Lispector, Robert Hazen, and Donna Haraway, Last Things unfolds with remarkable images from microscopic forms to expansive landscapes, making it a captivating exploration of our planet’s profound history and speculative future.

The Carsey-Wolf Center was delighted to present this special screening of Last Things as part of its 2024 annual conference, Mediating Deep Time. Director Deborah Stratman joined moderator Alex Lilburn (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion of Last Things. Following the event, please join us for a light reception in the Michael Douglas lobby.



Deborah Stratman (filmmaker)

Artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman makes work around issues of power, control, and belief, exploring how places, ideas, and society are intertwined. She regards sound as the ultimate multi-tool and considers time to be supernatural. Her 40+ films and multiple artworks have addressed freedom, surveillance, public speech, sinkholes, levitation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, evolution, extinction, exodus, sisterhood, and faith, and have been exhibited and awarded internationally. She is a Fulbright, Guggenheim, and United States Artist Fellow, the recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, Sundance Art of Nonfiction Award, and grants from Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Shifting Foundation, and Wexner Center for the Arts. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.

Alex Lilburn, a graduate student in Film and Media Studies at UCSB, stands against a background of green trees. He has glasses and long brown hair, and is wearing a blue buttoned shirt.

Moderator Alex Lilburn (Film and Media Studies, UCSB)

Alex Lilburn is an MA/PhD student in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a BA in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art from the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). At SFAI, he studied avant-garde filmmaking practices and artist-based film histories. Prior to coming to UCSB, he worked at the Sundance and Telluride Film Festivals and volunteered at Canyon Cinema in San Francisco. Currently, his research interests include global avant-garde film, media exhibition formats, and urban theory.

This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center as part of its 2024 annual conference Mediating Deep Time.

CWC Docs

The Carsey-Wolf Center is committed to screening documentaries from across the world that engage with contemporary and historical issues, especially regarding social justice and environmental concerns. Documentaries allow filmmakers to address pressing issues and frame the critical debates of our time.