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Film Festival: Artist & Learning to Swallow

Film Festival: Artist & Learning to Swallow
Saturday, April 2nd '16 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Film Festival

A film collaboration between 
Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg (1999)


A film by Danielle Beverly (2005)

Stewart Auditorium
Moore College of Art & Design

FREE ADMISSION: Click here for tickets

A short presentation by Dr. Girija Kaimal, Assistant Professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University, will precede the film.


In Artist, internationally acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Tracey Moffatt takes the viewer on a fast-paced journey through Hollywood's depiction of the artist. Using a wealth of clips from classic cinema bio pics and popular television sitcoms, the video voyage spans centuries of art and art-making to reveal how five decades of mainstream media have perceived the creative process and creators themselves. A lively music track underscores the fervor and passion we have come to associate with artists and their typical one-dimensional representations on the large and small screen. Punctuated by recurrent gestures--the confident whisk of the paint brush, the futile laugh of frustration, and the violent destruction of one's own work--this amusing, thought-provoking array of well-known images paints an incisive portrait of the artist as a total Hollywood fabrication. 10 minutes



Learning to Swallow is an intimate, haunting and ultimately empowering portrait of a bipolar artist’s courageous and successful attempt to rebuild her life after a suicide attempt destroys her digestive system. Patsy Desmond, a charismatic, emerging artist and “it girl” seemingly had it all: admiring friends and lovers, a prestigious work assignment with an internationally renowned artist in New York City and the potential to successfully realize her dreams in the art world. Yet in spite of this, Patsy struggled in an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder. An eventual failed suicide attempt leaves Patsy unable to swallow and in a battle for her life both emotionally and physically. Over four rocky years, we follow Patsy as she struggles to accept her physical condition, overcome addiction and learns to deal with the life she now faces: recovery and healing. Her inability to eat and her emotional state transform her artistic voice in the process. Filmmaker Danielle Beverly (Old South) captures Patsy’s raw honesty and wit even as she becomes increasingly frail. By the end of the film, hope and an undying spirit prevail. Patsy renews her pact with art and life. Required viewing for psychology courses and studies around mental health. 89 minutes

Special thanks to Women Make Movies


Dr. Kaimal has been principal investigator for evaluation research on several longitudinal studies including those funded by the U.S. Department of Education, The School District of Philadelphia, Lehigh University, Drexel University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Temple University. Dr. Kaimal's research aims to understand the implications of autobiographical narratives and creative self-expression especially among underrepresented and vulnerable populations, on health and well-being. She is particularly interested in the role of creativity and self-expression in empowerment and learning about self and others. Most recently Dr. Kaimal has been collaborating with the National Intrepid Center of Excellence and the NEA Military Healing Art partnership on a research study of art therapy with military service members with PTSD and TBI.   She is also completing a five year study evaluation study on leadership development (funded by the U.S. Department of Education and Lehigh University) on how participation in the arts could ignite learning transfer to leadership practices. Dr Kaimal's research on health outcomes of artmaking (links between biomarkers like cortisol and creative visual self-expression) was featured on several media sites.  She serves as a research consultant on international development projects related to gender equity and arts-based psychosocial support for vulnerable children and adults in trauma zones around the world. Dr. Kaimal was the recipient of the Drexel University Career Development Award in 2014 and the American Art Therapy Association Research Award in 2015. In addition to her teaching and research, Dr. Kaimal is a practicing visual artist and her work explores the intersection of transnational identity and sustainable artistic practices. Her work has been exhibited at the Google Cultural Institute (through the Smithsonian Asian and Pacific American Center), City Hall and other exhibitions. Dr. Kaimal holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Arts in Design from the National Institute of Design in India.

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