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. Prior to the feature film screening is Lisa Donato's short film, Foxy Trot. 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 Short Film and Filmmaker

A married couple unexpectedly face their relationship issues when they take ballroom dance lessons.

Lisa Donato is an award-winning writer, director, and activist based in Austin, Texas. In October 2018, she was hired by executive producer Yeardley Smith, most famously known for the voice of Lisa Simpson, to direct a character-driven, feature drama called Gossamer Folds. The 1986-set film tells the story of a 10-yr-old boy with an unhappy home life striking up an unexpected friendship with a trans woman who lives next door, played by Transparent’s Alexandra Grey. The film marks Donato’s feature directorial debut and will be released to the film festival circuit in May 2019. She co-wrote the feature film, Signature Move, which world-premiered at SXSW (2017), screened at over 150 festivals worldwide, and can currently be found on Amazon Prime, iTunes & Google Play. She’s directed six award-winning short films since 2014 and her work is dedicated to people and communities relegated to the margins. She’s earned a passionate following by telling stories that don’t shy from the unique struggles of women, queer and straight, but focus on the power, resilience, and love they demonstrate in the face of it. She’s also working with actress and recent stroke survivor, Maggie Whittum, on a feature documentary about a group of female artists with disabilities called The Great Now What. Her mixed-media project, Hobo Salon, provides free haircuts for Austin’s homeless community and collects personal experiences through filmed interviews. Other story credits include shows for National Geographic Wild, Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and published personal essays in the LA Times, Self Magazine, Curve Magazine, Austin Women, Whole Life Times, and 5280 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.