Reel Women in Film: Losing Ground

Texas Spirit Theater | NR | 86 min. | Drama

February 15, 2019 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Join the Bullock Museum for a screening and conversation about Kathleen Collins' film Losing Ground.

While spending a summer away from the city, Sara, a philosophy professor, undergoes an emotional awakening and is forced to reassess her troubled marriage.

Event Details

One of the the first fictional features directed by an African American woman, Losing Ground is Kathleen Collins' best-known work. At a time when black professionals were rarely portrayed in mainstream media, Losing Ground was never theatrically released. Collins' daughter rescued the original negative and created a new digital master of her mother's film. Collins' talent, though underappreciated in her life time, weighs a strong influence on not only African American and women's cinema, but cinema at large.

This screening is part of Reel Women in Film, a film series that highlights the filmic works of women in front of or behind the camera. In its first season, all films focus on influencers and visionaries within the field of filmmaking. This evening's program includes a film screening and Q&A with award winning artist, scholar and teacher, Dr. Lisa B. Thompson. Come early at 6pm for a welcome reception.

Please note: Entrance for this screening will be at the IMAX Lobby doors.

Your ticket purchase supports the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and educational programming.

Film Credits

Rating: NR
Suggested age: 18+
Writers | Director: Kathleen Collins
Runtime: 86 min.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release year: 1982

About the Film & Filmmaker

Losing Ground won First Prize at the Figueroa International Film Festival in Portugal and garnered some international acclaim but received little notice in the United States.

"Film is, in this culture, and especially for black people, the last solid white bastion of society…It’s the one area where we have an inferiority complex. The whole myth of Hollywood, the way film functions in this culture, has succeeded artistically in brainwashing all of us . . . Film is the largest, most powerful myth (of a technological society). Hollywood is the one mythical world that America created. The gods and goddesses of America are film stars . . . and we don’t know who we are in that mythology. —Kathleen Collins, 1980

Kathleen Collins (1942-1988) was an African-American poet, playwright, writer, filmmaker, director, civil rights activist, and educator from Jersey City, New Jersey. Her two feature narratives furthered the range of Black women's films.  Losing Ground was among the first films created by a Black woman deliberately designed to tell a story intended for popular consumption, with a feature-lenght narrative structure. Collins thus paved the way for Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust (1991) to become the first feature-length narrative film created by a Black woman to be placed in commercial distribution. Themes frequently explored in Collins’s work are issues of marital malaise, male dominance and impotence, and freedom of expression and intellectual pursuit. Her protagonists are cited as “typically self-reflective women who move from a state of subjugation to empowerment.”

About the Guest Speaker

Lisa B. Thompson is an award winning artist, scholar and teacher whose plays have been produced and developed by Brava for Women in the Arts!, New Professional Theatre, The Vortex Repertory, Theatre Rhinoceros, Crossroads Theatre, National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, Company of Angels Theater, New African Grove Theatre Company, Black Spectrum Theatre, FronteraFest, Monreal Fringe Festival, and the National Black Theatre Festival. Her plays include the off-Broadway show Single Black Female (LA Weekly Theatre Award best comedy nominee), and Underground (Austin Critics Table David Mark Cohen New Play Award), Monroe (Austin Playhouse Festival of New Texas Plays winner), The Mamalogues, I Don’t Want to Be (Mamie Till), as well as the afro-futuristic trilogy of short plays: Watch, Mother Nature, and Mother’s Day. Thompson’s creative work has been anthologized in Contemporary Plays by African American Women: Ten Complete Works and Catch the Fire: A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She is also Associate Professor of African & African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of numerous articles and the book, Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class. She has received held residencies at a number of institutions including Hedgebrook, The Millay Colony for the Arts, Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, the Humanities Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and Stanford University’s Michele R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research. In 2018 Thompson received a Texas Ten teaching award from The Alcade, the University of Texas Exes Alumni Association magazine.

About the Texas Spirit Theater and Tickets

The Texas Spirit Theater located on the Bullock Museum's second floor is one of the most beautiful film experiences in Austin and features multi-sensory special effects such as lightning, rain, and other surprises.

Museum Members enjoy free unlimited IMAX® documentary films, discounts on feature film tickets, free exhibition admission, discounts in the Museum Store, and more. Learn More.

Learn about ticket prices, refund policies, and parking (free after 5 pm). For evening programs, please enter through the Bullock Museum IMAX Theatre.