From Afar
An online film festival organized by Roland Dahwen and the Cooley Gallery, Reed College, and generously supported by Northwest Film Forum, Seattle.

The Cooley Gallery, Reed's intimate, academic museum, is closed for renovations that will enrich its work with artists, the Reed community, and audiences and collaborators near and far. Renovations include the development of a new Cooley website, with an enhanced exhibition archive, publication space, works from the Reed College Art Collection, and a special new space for Reed student research.

The Cooley Gallery, Reed College is pleased to present FROM AFAR, a weeklong film festival organized by Roland Dahwen—artist, filmmaker, and the Cooley’s Artist-in-Residence during the 2020–2021 academic year. Through a special collaboration with Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, all five films in FROM AFAR will be screened from December 10 to 20, 2020, free of charge with a pass from Northwest Film Forum.

FROM AFAR presents films that, in Dahwen’s words, “vacillate between nonfiction and fiction, defying easy classification, and showing us what we’ve always known: that our rehearsals, our theaters, our fictions, and our imaginaries, are also inherent layers of our realities. The films are specific and individual, at times overt, and more often latent and elusive; they are focused, in unique ways, on personal dignity.” Dahwen explores each film in a series of accompanying essays, available at

FROM AFAR films:
Soleil Ô (1970) by Med Hondo (102 min.)
Atlantiques (2009, 15 min.) and Big in Vietnam (2012, 28 min.) by Mati Diop
Worldly Desires (2005) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (42 min.)
Borrufa (2020) by Roland Dahwen (109 min.)

Soleil Ô is the masterful first feature by Med Hondo, which played at the 1970 International Critics’ Week at Cannes Film Festival, and won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival. Made over five years in collaboration with the theater group Shango, Hondo’s film follows an idealistic, unnamed protagonist (portrayed by the Guadeloupean actor Robert Liensol) as he emigrates from West Africa to France. Soleil Ô is an incisive attack on obdurate colonial legacies and pervasive racism.

Atlantiques is Mati Diop’s first short film, and a precursor of sorts to her acclaimed debut feature Atlantics (2019). Diop’s short depicts a group of young men as they contemplate leaving Senegal for Europe. Big in Vietnam follows a French-Vietnamese director, as she leaves the set of a film production to walk through the city of Marseilles. Both films are eloquent and subtle reflections on memory and migration.

Worldly Desires is a short film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, depicting a film production in the jungle. Commissioned by the Jeonju International Film Festival in 2005, the film shows a couple in their search for a spiritual tree. Worldly Desires is hallucinatory and surprising, like all of Apichatpong’s works.

Borrufa is Roland Dahwen’s debut feature film, which premiered at the Portland International Film Festival in 2020. Set in Oregon, the film follows an immigrant family that is slowly dissolving, eroded by secrets and revelations. With the slow pace of real-life reflections, Borrufa shows the quiet and impenetrable moments unfolding between unspoken dramas.

About the Artists

Med Hondo (b. Mauritania, 1936) was a film director, actor, and voice actor. He emigrated to France in 1959, and began work on his first film Soleil Ô in 1965. Soleil Ô won the Golden Leopard Award at the 1970 Locarno International Film Festival. His films include Les ‘bicot-Négres’ vos voisins, Sahel la faim porquoi, Sarraounia, West Indies, Lumière noire, Watani, un monde sans mal, and Fatima, l’Algérienne de Dakar.

Mati Diop (b. France, 1982) is a film director and actress. She starred in Claire Denis’ 2008 film 35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum). Diop’s debut feature film, Atlantics (2019), won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Her short films include Atlantiques (2009), Snow Canon, Big in Vietnam, Milles Soleils, and Liberian Boy.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. Thailand, 1970) is a film director and visual artist. His 2010 film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. His films include Mysterious Object at Noon, Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady, Syndromes and a Century, and Cemetery of Splendour.

Roland Dahwen (b. US, 1990) is a filmmaker and artist. His performance The Overseas Banquet was commissioned by the Cooley Gallery, Reed College, and presented as part of the 2019 Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Time-Based Art Festival. His short films and video installations include May 35, Haft-Seen, and There are no birds in the nests of yesterday. Dahwen’s work was featured in the 2019 Cooley Gallery exhibition The Autopoets, part of the Converge 45 arts festival.

Generous Thanks

The Cooley Gallery and Roland Dahwen extend their warmest thanks to Janus Films, Le Fresnoy, Néon Productions, Patuá Films, and Jeonju International Film Festival for granting the rights to screen these remarkable films.

The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is Reed College’s professional visual art museum. Each academic year the Cooley produces three to four original exhibitions of work that would not otherwise be seen in the region. Exhibitions are organized by curator and director Stephanie Snyder, often in collaboration with Reed art department faculty, and partner institutions, including: the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; Converge 45, Portland; CANADA, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; The New Museum, New York, and MoMA PS1, New York. Exhibitions are accompanied by publications, symposia, lectures, performances, and a robust K12 education program. To this end, the Cooley works with Portland Public School teachers and students, both at Reed, and in Portland Public School classrooms. In 2011, the Cooley reintroduced the study of calligraphy and paleography to Reed College by establishing the Calligraphy Initiative in Honor of Lloyd J. Reynolds. The Cooley was established in 1988 by a generous endowment from Sue and Edward Cooley and John and Betty Gray.

Northwest Film Forum was founded in Seattle in 1995 as an independent film and arts nonprofit, Northwest Film Forum incites public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Each year the Forum presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions. As a comprehensive visual media organization, the Forum offers educational workshops and artist services for film and media makers at all stages of their development. 

For more information please contact Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder at snyders[at] or exhibitions coordinator Colleen Gotze at 503-517-7851. The Reed College campus is currently closed to the public during the pandemic. We look forward to opening our doors again as soon as possible.



The mission of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is to enhance the academic offerings of Reed College with a diverse range of scholarly exhibitions, lectures, and colloquia in its role as a teaching gallery.

The gallery was established by a generous 1988 gift from Sue and Edward Cooley and John and Betty Gray "in support of the teaching of art history at Reed College, as part of an interdisciplinary educational experience that strengthens the art history component of Reed's distinctive humanities program." Exhibitions are coordinated in collaboration with Reed faculty members and courses, with attention to the needs and interests of the larger Portland and Northwest arts communities. A schedule of three to four exhibitions during the academic year brings to Reed and the Portland community work that would not otherwise be seen in the region.


Stephanie Snyder
John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director
Office: 503.777.7251
Fax: 503.788.6691
Cell: 503.367.7004

Colleen Gotze
Registrar and Program Coordinator
Office: 503.517.7851
Fax: 503.788.6691

Greg MacNaughton
Education Outreach Coordinator
Calligraphy Initiative Coordinator
Office: 503-517-7677
Cell: 503.929-3663
Fax: 503.788.6691

Please email Registrar Colleen Gotze to be added to the Cooley Gallery announcement list and for general gallery questions.