Accession sos

Jeremie Fant

Molecular Ecologist and Conservation Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden


Armand Yervant Tufenkian

Armenian Filmmaker and Artist


Tamer Hassan


Accession— Seed time (Part I)

Dr. Jeremie Fant, Conservation Scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Senior Scientist in Northwestern's Plant Biology and Conservation program, will introduce the film. An expert in genetic diversity and the restoration of rare species, Jeremie will speak to the relationship between the diverse geographical exchanges depicted in Accession and the forms of ex-situ conservation and reintroduction he and his colleagues employ to conserve biodiversity across different environments.

Following the screening, filmmakers Tamer Hassan and Armand Tufenkian will appear to the germination of Accession and its unique exploration of time and place.

Preceded by Colectivo Los Ingravidos’ short film Seeds, a pulsating ode to plant fecundity shot in vivid super-8mm.

Block Cinema: Northwestern University Evanston, IL

Film Synopsis

Shaped by a trove of letters enclosed with seed packets, ACCESSION reveals minor histories of American life.

Accession is a work of exquisite textures cultivated from grains of film, the grains of the voice, and the grains of the field and the garden. The film springs from a trove of letters, written to accompany packets of seeds shared between friends and strangers, which collectively narrate centuries of American horticulture. To trace the connections between the diverse communities linked by these seed exchanges, Tamer Hassan and Yervant Tufenkian crisscrossed the United States over five years, shooting on a range of (mostly expired) film stocks and harvesting images of arresting beauty. Over these scenes, a chorus of voices read the letters aloud, patiently unfolding minor histories of American life and the social and natural relationships that shape its farms, flowerbeds, and wilds.

About the Speaker

Jeremie Fant has been the Molecular Ecologist and Conservation Scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden since 2003 and is a Senior Scientist in Northwestern's Plant Biology and Conservation program. Dr. Fant has devoted his career to understanding and advancing the conservation of rare plants and their genetic diversity. By using genetic approaches to his areas of focus—rarity, restoration, and ex situ conservation—Jeremie’s work provides valuable insight into the future of rare and endangered plant species by identifying risks and potential management improvements that can contribute to their preservation and recovery.

Armand Yervant Tufenkian is an Armenian filmmaker and artist, born in 1988 to parents from Aleppo, Syria. His films include Accession (2018), which maps an informal network of letter correspondence about the exchange of seeds. He works as a fire lookout in the Sequoia forest of the Sierra Nevada and teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. In the Manner of Smoke, a long-form observation of disparate perspectives on forest fires, is forthcoming late 2024.

Tamer Hassan has screened his films internationally including at Viennale, Art of the Real at Lincoln Center, Mar Del Plata International Film Festival, and Sheffield DocFest. He has been a fellow at the Flaherty Film Seminar and participated in the Berlinale Talents program. He has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently teaches at Parsons School of Design.