An accomplished filmmaker, photographer, painter and curator, Steffen Pierce began his film career in the 1970s as an assistant at the revered local animation studio, the Yellow Ball Workshop in Lexington, MA. Working alongside local artistic luminaries, Yvonne Andersen and Dominic Falcone, Pierce produced a number of experimental animated shorts while in residence—including Chidori and Bicycle, both of which are now part of the HFA’s collection.
By the mid-1980s Pierce had firmly established himself as a producer, writer-director, cinematographer and editor and in 1986 he completed his first documentary feature film, The Bride Market of Imilchil. Co-directed with his brother Christian Pierce, the film was shot entirely on location in the remote mountain village of Imilchil, Morocco. With the film, Pierce sought to document a unique tradition: each year for three days in September, men and women gather in front of the Imilchil Shrine to choose their mates and marry in a nearby tent.
The Pierce brothers would return to Morocco some years later to produce their second feature, Marrakech Inshallah. Filmed over the course of three months in Marrrakech and the surrounding cities, the film chronicles the journey of two young brothers who hitchhike from their mountain village in search of jobs and adventure, to end up on the city streets of Marrakech. According to Pierce, “The viewer becomes drawn into the poverty, the magic, and the struggles of their everyday lives.” Released in 2006, the film screened extensively and was included in the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
In addition to his film work, Pierce distinguished himself during a lengthy tenure as the Harvard Film Archive’s Assistant Curator and later, Film Specialist. A beloved member of the Cambridge film community, Pierce retired from Harvard in 2018. He is now actively focused on producing and exhibiting his own artwork.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
The Steffen Pierce collection was donated by the artist to the Harvard Film Archive in 2018 and consists of photographs, promotional posters, video material, super 8mm film prints, 16mm projection prints, work-prints, outtakes, original camera reversal prints, original camera negatives and magnetic tracks of his film work from the 1980s to the 2000s, including material for Marrakech Inshallah (2006), The Bride Market of Imilchil (1986), Joe Arruda, Mozambique Veteran (1979), Chidori (1972), and Bicycle (1970). There are over 160 items in the collection.
To obtain copies of The Bride Market of Imilchil for theatrical, institutional/non-theatrical or festival screenings visit Arab Film Distribution’s website.
For more information about the artwork of Steffen Pierce, please visit his personal website.