Session 3: Kevin Jerome Everson

Inventory, 2020 © Kevin Jerome Everson; courtesy the artist; trilobite-arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures

Watch the films: the films in this programme can be viewed anytime between 25 March and 3 April via the Essay Film Festival online screening room. LINK HERE.

Live event: join us at 19:00 UK time Saturday 27 March for a live illustrated talk by Kevin Jerome Everson, discussing his recent work and reflecting on his formal approach. The talk will be followed by questions from the audience, chaired by Matthew Barrington. 27 March 2021, 19:00 — 20:30.

Access the talk at 19.00 here:

The films appear courtesy the artist; trilobite-arts DAC  and Picture Palace Pictures 

A prolific filmmaker, Kevin Jerome Everson has amassed a large body of work over the last decade. Within his oeuvre Everson has regularly returned to questions of labour, particularly the legacy of America’s closed factories and the effects of these changes on the communities who had relied on the automobile industry. In approaching these themes of labour, Everson’s films fluctuate from visual languages of abstraction to the materiality of the filmed object itself, drawing comparisons between the tactility of the skilled manual labours of the factory, and the filmmaker’s own tools. Split across two programmes, we present a series of films reflecting elements of Everson’s engagement with labour and place. 

Our first programme focuses on Everson’s engagement with the automobile industry, bringing together a trilogy of films which feature cars made in Mansfield, Ohio, the hometown of the artist, as they are destroyed in scrapyards. These three films are juxtaposed with four recent films made by Everson during his residency in Berlin. Across these works, Everson films German Opel models, reflecting on the contemporary development of smart cars and forming connections between the German brand and the long legacy of automobile construction in Mansfield, Ohio.

Another strand of Everson’s work has focused on cultural history, particularly within Columbus, Mississippi and Mansfield, locations with which he has personal relationships and histories. Our second programme brings together a series of films centring around Columbus. The Tombigbee Chronicles Number Two from 2012 is a series based on famous people and objects from Columbus, Everson’s parents’ hometown: Rita Larson’s Boy, Chicken and Early Riser. These films are staged around adaptations, forming a cultural history of Columbus. In contrast, Everson’s trilogy of works made at the Columbus Air Force Base 14th Flying Training Wing portrays the African American presence and the role of the military in providing jobs to the area.

Film information:

Programme One: Hard to Earn

Rekord C, 2021 © Kevin Jerome Everson; courtesy the artist; trilobite-arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures

Kadett C Two, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2021, 2 minutes, 16mm, Silent

A meditation on the speed of an Opel car.

Rekord C, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA 2021, 3 minutes, 16mm, Silent

An Opel ‘muscle car’, makes its way around and around the Olympic stadium in Berlin, Germany.

East Tech (One, Smart), Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2021, 2 minutes, 16mm, Silent

The ForFour smart car blindly circles the Olympic Stadium in Berlin German, site of Jesse Owens’ 4 Gold Medal Haul at the 1936 Games. East Tech references the East Technical High School in Cleveland, Ohio from which Owens graduated.

East Technical High School (Rekord), Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2021, 3 minutes, 16mm, Silent

A driver is learning how to parallel park an Opel Rekord C at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, Germany. 

Regal, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2017, format, 3 minutes, 16mm

A Regal automobile is elevated and transformed, at a local scrapyard.

Century, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2012, 6 minutes, 16mm

A depiction of a General Motors automobile, a Buick Century, being destroyed at a scrapyard. General Motors’ doors, quarter panels, trunks, hoods and roofs were created at the defunct stamping plant in Everson’s hometown of Mansfield, Ohio. 

Chevelle, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2012, 7 minutes, 35mm

The film consists of two General Motors automobiles meeting their fate or discovering new forms, as they are dismantled at a scrapyard.

Programme Two: Leisure and Labour in Columbus, Mississippi

Early Riser, 2012 © Kevin Jerome Everson; courtesy the artist; trilobite-arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures

Sanfield, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2020, 20 minutes, 16mm, English

Shot at the Columbus Air Force Base, the film shines a light on the men and women of color training to become airmen.

Mockingbird, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2020, 3 minutes, 16mm

A focus on a birdwatcher looking for the state bird of Mississippi.

Inventory, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2020, 5 minutes, 16mm, English

A remake of Želimir Žilnik’s classic Inventur, showing recruits at the Columbus Air Force Base descending the stairs.

Rita Larson’s Boy, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2012, 10 minutes, 16mm, English

This short portrays ten actors auditioning for the role of Rollo Larson in the 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son. The actor Nathaniel Taylor raised in Columbus portrayed Rollo Larson (Rita Larson’s boy) in the series Sanford and Son

Chicken, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2012, 3 minutes, 16mm, English

Centred on a scene from Tennessee Williams’s play Kingdom of Earth (1968). Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus. Filmed as if it were a stage play, the title character, Chicken of Kingdom, struggles with how people view him. 

Early Riser, Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2012, 5 minutes, 16mm, English

This short is based on Chester Himes’s novel Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965) and its adaptation for the screen by Ossie Davis in 1970. The cotton in the novel and film comes from the region around Columbus, Mississippi. Shot in noir-style, the film focuses on the scene when detectives Coffin Ed and Grave Digger Jones interrogate Lo-Boy, an artist/hustler, about the event around the demise of his friend Early Riser.


Kevin Jerome Everson was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. He has an MFA from Ohio University and a BFA from the University of Akron and is Professor of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Everson is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim; and has been awarded the 2020 Berlin Prize; 2019 Heinz Award; 2012 Alpert Award; 2002 Rome Prize. His films has been the subject of retrospectives at Tate Film; Centre Pompidou; Harvard Film Archive; Glasgow Short Film Festival; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul and featured at the 2008, 2012 and 2017 Whitney Biennials, the 2013 Sharjah Biennial and the 2018 Carnegie International. From April-September 2011, a solo exhibition of 17 short form works, More Than That: Films of Kevin Jerome Everson, curated by Chrissie Iles, was featured at the Whitney Museum of Art.

Everson’s art practice encompasses sculpture, photography and filmmaking, including eleven feature films – Spicebush, 2005; Cinnamon, 2006; The Golden Age of Fish, 2008; Erie, 2010; Quality Control, 2011; The Island of St. Matthews, 2013; Park Lanes, 2015; 8903 Empire, 2016 (co-directed with Kahlil I. Pedizisai), Tonsler Park, 2017; Lago Gatun, 2021; June, 2021 – and over 200 shorts, which have exhibited internationally at film festivals, cinemas, museums, galleries and public and private art institutions.

Second Run has recently issued the 2 disc region-free blu ray set “How You Live Your Story: Selected works by Kevin Jerome Everson featuring four features and 17 shorts and a booklet of Everson’s photographs:


American Academy in Berlin: Kevin Jerome Everson Lecture Kevin Jerome Everson Tour of solo exhibition, The Abstract Ideal

Elena Gorfinkel, Sight and Sound: Blackness, Labour, Place: the Radical Cinema of Kevin Jerome Everson

Jeff Scheible, World Records Journal: Throwing Punches: The Athletic Aesthetics of Kevin Jerome Everson’s Filmmaking