Surrender to the Situation

“Surrender to the Situation” interweaves an East Coast train journey with footage from Tyondai Braxton’s HIVE installation and a pair of shows by Australian musician Oren Ambarchi in June 2015.

This three-part series was originally included in “Big, Bent Ears: a serial in documentary uncertainty,” published in 2016 in The Paris Review Daily.

Check out Part 1: Oren Ambarchi & Tyondai Braxton, Part 2: Ensemble Virtuosity, and Part 3: In Motion.

Ivan Weiss is a documentary filmmaker and a professor in Wake Forest University’s Journalism Program. His films and multimedia projects have explored a variety of subjects, including segregation, gentrification, the experience of musical performances and athletic events, and more. Running through all his projects is an engagement with place and landscape, analyzing how we create, change, and make discoveries, and how we connect – or fail to connect – with one another.

As an educator, Weiss seeks to teach students to use the tools of filmmaking and journalism to strip away falsehoods, reveal truth, and see the world with new eyes.

Contact: ivan [at] ivanweiss [dot] com or weissij [at] wfu [dot] edu


The Education of Ida Owens

A story of integration, civil rights, and Duke University

This 30-minute documentary follows Ida Owens from her upbringing in rural North Carolina to her years at Duke University, where she became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D.

A personal exploration of Southern history, higher education, and the civil rights movement, The Education of Idea Owens brings to the forefront the past and its lingering effects.

Festival: A Month in Durham

A portrait of a city through the lens of three music festivals

“Festival: A Month in Durham” tells the story of three music events—Moogfest, Art of Cool, and Bimbé—that took place in Durham, N.C., in May 2016. In this fast-“gentrifying” city, this short documentary reflects on the churn of past, present, and conflicting visions of the future. (The piece first appeared in Public Books.)

Nazoranai: A Documentary

“I just want to hear things I've never heard before.” – Keiji Haino

Improvisational sound trio Nazoranai came together for their U.S. premiere in 2014 at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville, T.N. Nazoranai: a Documentary goes behind the scenes, spending time with members Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, and Keiji Haino.

Also, check out this trilogy of videos centering around the music of Oren Ambarchi, with appearances by Phew, Keiji Haino, and Jim O’Rourke.

Leaving Traces

What does a baseball game look like, smell like, sound like, feel like?

Watch Leaving Traces and immerse yourself in the world of legendary minor league team The Durham Bulls. Experience the multiplicity of this collective, communal space through an eclectic set of eyes.


Chronicle of a Distant Summer

A personal essay film made in the early days of Covid-19

Walking around a world that is both familiar and strange, I look at the landscape and ponder a series of unanswerable questions. This film was made possible by a grant from the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.