Prof. Kevin B. Lee


Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker and critic who has made over 360 video essays exploring film and media. His award-winning “Transformers: The Premake” was named one of the best documentaries of 2014 by Sight & Sound Magazine and was featured in several festivals including the Berlin Film Festival Critics Week.

In 2017 he was the first Artist in Residence of the Harun Farocki Institute in Berlin, where he researched ISIS propaganda videos. He was Founding Editor and Chief Video Essayist at Fandor, supervising producer for the U.S. nationally televised show “Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies”, and has written for The New York Times, Sight & Sound, Slate and Indiewire. Previously he taught film and media studies at universities such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Goethe Universitat Frankfurt.

Research Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

“Decoding or Re-Encoding?” published in Malte Hagener, Vincenz Hediger, Alena Strohmaier (Eds.), The State of Post-Cinema: Tracing the Moving Image. Palgrave Macmillan “Active Encounters: A Conversation Between Alejandro Bachmann and Kevin B. Lee,” Found Footage Magazine, Issue No. 3 “Conversation with Kevin B. Lee and Eric Faden.” In Christian Keathley, Jason Mittel (Eds.), The Videographic Essay: Criticism in Sound and Image
“The Audiovisual Essay.” [in]Transition Journal for Videographic Film Studies, März 2014.
“Containing Possibilities: The founding history of dGenerate Films.” In: Lukas Foerster, Nikolaus Perneczky, Fabian Tietke, Cecilia Valenti (Eds.): Spuren eines Dritten Kinos. Zu Ästhetik, Politik und Ökonomie des World Cinema, Bielefeld: 2013, S. 79-85

Other (Selection)

“The Best Video Essays of 2017.” (co-authored with David Verdeure). Sight & Sound, Dec 7 2017 “Critique, Protest, Activism and the Video Essay,” Institute for Contemporary Arts, London. 30.03.2017 Harun Farocki Institut Residency Blog. 01.01. – 31.03.2017 What I Learned About Hollywood by Shooting a Guerrilla Documentary About the Next Transformers Movie.” Slate, 18.06.2014

Awards (Selection since 2015)

Eurimages Lab Project Award, Kalovy Vary International Film Festival
Sundance Documentary Fund Art of Nonfiction Grantee European Media Art Platform / European Media Artists Residency Exchange, m-cult, Helsinki
Inaugural Artist in Residence, Harun Farocki Institute, Berlin
Departmental Thesis Award, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago “Future Delights: Dispatches from the Chinese Dream”
ARTE Creative Newcomer Award European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck, Germany (for “Transformers: The Premake”)

Lectures (Selection)

“Videographic Criticism: Aesthetics and Methods of the Video Essay.” Free University Berlin “Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary.” Lucerne School of Art and Design “The Filmmaker of Tomorrow, Everyday.” University of California at Berkeley “Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary.” Stanford University Keynote address, “Exploring the Video Essay” symposium, Oakland University
Workshop, “Media (Text) Rhetoric and Video Essays: Dealing Analytically and Creatively with ISIS videos. [with Chloé Galibert-Laîné and Bernd Zywietz]. Jihadi Audiovisualities Conference, Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany From Eisenstein to #Screenlife.” Moscow International Experimental Film Festival “Bottled Songs.” Andorra Theatre, Helsinki, Finland “Future Innovation Summit.” Ars Electronical Festival, Linz, Austria “Error, Fake and Failure.” Ars Electronica Film Festival, Linz, Austria “Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary,” Theory/Practice: Expanding Scholarship in the Age of Digital Media, Yale University Conversations in Contemporary Art, Concordia University, Montreal “Beyond Filmsplaining: Exploring Gender Dynamics in the Video Essay,” Smith College “Transactions and Translations of World Cinema: Videographic Approaches” Panel Respondent, Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Meeting, Toronto “Visual Storytelling,” Berlinale Talents, Berlin International Film Festival Keynote Address, “Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary,” Film und Fernsehwissenschaftliches Kolloquium, Ruhr-Universitat, Bochum Germany
Reformatting and Recontextualizing Content,” Deutsches Filminstitut, Hamburg Internationales Kurzfilm Festival, Hamburg “Desktop Documentary and Curation,” Museum of Contemporary Art (GfZK), Leipzig . “Life Navigation,” Roaming Assemby Symposium, Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem, Niederlande “Martyrs for the Mass,” Visual Practices Symposium, University of California, Davis, CA, USA “A Brief History of Video Essays,” Werkleitz, Halle, 2.4. Keynote Lecture, Videographic Film Studies Workshop, University of Reading, UK Critique, Protest, Activism and the Video Essay” Essay Film Festival, Institute for Contemporary Art, London, UK “Light Typing Lecture,” University of California, Davis, CA, USA "The Distracted Observer,” École normale superieure, Paris, Frankreich “Post-Cinema” École normale superieure, Paris, France “The Bottled Songs of Lost Children,” Freie Universität, Berlin “Light Typing Lecture,” Harun Farocki Institut, silent green, Berlin “Shucking the Oyster Princess: Live Video Essay Cooking Class” Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt, “The Next Big Thing: You Don’t Get To 5 Million Facebook Views Without Making a Few Compromises,” Goethe Universität, Frankfurt