Skip to Content
Artifacts of the Present: Portrait of a Printmaker cover image

Artifacts of the Present: Portrait of a Printmaker 2023

Highly Recommended

Distributed by New Day Films, 350 North Water Street Unit 1-12, Newburgh, NY 12550; 888-367-9154
Produced by Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck
Directed by Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck
Streaming, 13 mins

Middle School - General Adult
Art; Death

Date Entered: 09/01/2023

Reviewed by Sarah O'Shea, Access Services Librarian, SUNY Oswego

As soon as the mesmerizing music begins, the viewer is instantly immersed into this meditatively beautiful short film. Meeting the artist, Brain D. Cohen, a printmaker dying from terminal leukemia, the viewer is invested just as quickly in his story, his life, and his art.

Cohen begins by speaking on how important his hands are to him and that they are the tools he uses to manipulate the world. The beautiful close-up shots of hands - his and others - brings you even closer to his art and his story. He then shares his views, absorbed from poets and philosophers, on death, yes, but also on life. He says at one point: “Art is a gift from tomorrow’s dead to tomorrow’s living.” One does not have to notice the emotion in his voice and eyes when he speaks about this to tell how deeply this strikes him. The beautiful long shots of his various plates and prints throughout the film celebrate the gifts that Cohen is leaving for tomorrow’s living.

This short film is highly recommended for middle school through general adult audiences and can easily be incorporated into class time with a tight 13-minute running time. It would be a lovely complement to any discussion on art but could also easily be used in a philosophy discussion or a study on end of life. It would be a beautiful example to share with film-making students as well. It’s powerful how much this film shares with its viewers in such a short time.

Jury Special Mention, Made Here Festival 2023

Published and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Anyone can use these reviews, so long as they comply with the terms of the license.