Talena Sanders makes moving image works that explore the development of individual and collective senses of identity in affinity groups. Her films and videos are informed by an interest in presenting the many ways that social institutions can shape individuals’ lives on both the broader geopolitical level and the most intimate, personal scales. A common starting point for developing new projects begins with an interest in interrogating narratives from histories and how historical records can influence senses of identity, especially as it relates to ideas of national and regional character.
She believes there are endless means to present and interrogate materials from the real on the spectrum from nonfiction to narrative production approaches. Her work often places historical found/archival footage and audio in dialogue with contemporary media captured on location to question constructs of privilege and power in who gets authorized to tell the story of a shared experience.
She holds an MFA from Duke University’s Experimental and Documentary Arts program and a BFA from the University of Kentucky. Her work has been screened, exhibited, and collected internationally, including at the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant-Garde, FID Marseille, Montreal International Documentary Festival, Fronteira Festival, Viennale, DokuFest Kosovo, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Her first feature documentary, Liahona, is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources and Doc Alliance. She has previously taught film and video production and film studies at Duke University and the University of Montana. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Sonoma State University.
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