Jackson McKeehan (2019)

Sheila is a 13½ minute short film by former CMU School of Art MFA candidate, Jackson McKeehan. Tired of the monotony in her life, a midwestern farmer’s wife spies on her neighbors through the scope of her gun. Shiela was supported by grant#2020-032 from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier.

This film was McKeehan’s MFA thesis work, spanning two years from conception to execution for the film and contributing heavily to his written thesis.

From McKeehan “I see this work as part of an emerging field of artists working to dismantle the American wound of rural whiteness. It takes inspiration from filmmakers before me (e.g. Todd Haynes and Kelly Richert), but differs with its attention to a more specific history and place, and a concern with narrative…My project and research began as a response to a deep dive into my personal history, as well as observing the Midwest’s response to rapid cultural change over the past two decades. As a result of this research, I have been able to comprehend the role whiteness plays in repression- including my own whiteness- and how guns in the hands of folks going through trauma without help can cause dire consequences.”

Jackson McKeehan also won the 2021 Best Director of a short film for Shiela at the Midwest Weirdfest, which took place March 4-6 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The festival present works that are fantastic, frightening, paranormal, and just plain weird.