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  • Ken Anderson: Curating a New Kind of Film Festival

  • Ken Anderson Profile
    “What I liked the most about The New School’s film program is that they supported radical films, films that think outside of the box.”

    Ken Anderson, a 2012 graduate of the MA Media Studies program and co-founder of the Bowery Film Festival, was drawn to The New School for the opportunity to create films that are experimental and edgy — films that don’t fit the “traditional” film school mold. 

    “What I liked the most about The New School’s film program is that they supported radical films, films that think outside of the box,” Anderson said. “Whenever I’ve gone to a New School film show, it’s a lot of experimental films that you’d never see anywhere else.”

    Following a career in the United States Marine Corps, Anderson was seeking a university where he could both finish his undergraduate degree and begin working toward a master’s degree. When he heard about The New School’s Bachelor’s Program for Adults and Transfer Students and the opportunity it offered to participate in its Bachelor's-Master's Program, he knew it was a perfect fit. 

    “The New School was the only school that really accepted my previous credit and experience,” Anderson explained. “I joined the military out of high school and was an Arabic translator. The New School took all of that experience and used it for credits.” 

    While at The New School, Anderson made connections with faculty and created lifelong friends. He took courses in Web design, gained experience as a filmmaker, and not only finished a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies but went on to earn an MA in Media Studies as well. 

    In 2017, Anderson partnered with Geoffrey Guerrero, founder and executive director of the long-running Katra Film Series, to launch the Bowery Film Festival. A bi-annual festival that prides itself on being one of the most “radical film festivals in New York City,” it promotes films and videos by experimental artists.

    “We’re really selective with our films and put a lot of thought into the curation and the lineup of each one,” Anderson explained about the Bowery Film Festival. “We try to choose venues that are interesting — art galleries, bars, lounges, places like that — because they force the filmmakers to interact a little more.”

    Anderson believes that the types of films New School students create are often a perfect fit for the festival and has worked with the Media Studies program during the past year to encourage students to submit their work.

    “One of my favorite memories from The New School was the first time I screened a film,” Anderson said. “It was such a great memory, because I'd never screened my films in front of people before. I did a Q&A afterwards and got an award for editing. So now I want to help others do the same.”

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