Lives and works at NYC, USA
Karen Sztajnberg is a Brazilian born filmmaker and video-artist who came to New York with a Fulbright scholarship. "Casa Grande", a feature length fiction film which Karen co-wrote and edited, premiered in competition at Rotterdam in 2014. It went on to have an award winning track on the international festival circuit, including passages through San Sebastian, BFI London and CPH: PIX. It is currently theatrically distributed in Brazil, France, Benelux and Canada. Prior to that, Karen was the recipient of the Sloan Foundation Award for "Volatile", a feature screenplay she wrote while getting her MFA degree at Columbia University. Her extensive background as an editor in documentary and television heavily informs her artistic and screenwriting work. Pears, a short fiction film written and directed by Karen, is currently making the festival rounds having won the Golden Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival. Presently, she is developing two feature screenplays and hoping to shoot the third chapter of The Narrative of Inadequacy, in the coming year.
With their backs turned away from the camera to offer anonymity and to optimize a contemplative state, subjects of this video art-installations replied to an open call and spoke freely about a specific episode where they experienced a sense of inadequacy. The Narrative of Inadequacy aims to recover the value of experiences gone awry and highlights the edifying value of organizing these musings into a narrative whole. When I set out to shoot the first segment of this project in New York, here’s what I offered as a synopsis to my subjects: "A friend recently asked me “where is the sublime of failure?’ The Narrative of Inadequacy delves into the unpredictability of physical intimacy, an experience that goes beneath and possibly antagonizes much of our social veneer and beckons us to wrangle with that part of ourselves which remains immune to cognitive organization." After shooting in New York, I collected similar statements in Istanbul. These cities yielded vastly different and culturally charged notions of inadequacy. It became clear to me that specific locus and cultural mores thoroughly informs our notions of inadequacy. With that in mind, I would like to continue to explore this theme, excavating to arrive at what lies in the core of fulfillment and lack thereof, as I continue to hear and frame these inherently subjective stories.