whatsherface #5: Talena Sanders - Tokens and Penalties

March 31, 2017


A performance for camera meditation on faith practice in the place where the Donner Party was slowed and land speed records are set. Premiered at 2012 New York Film Festival Views from the Avant-Garde.


1. If the same dream occurs three times, then count it as a personal revelation, an individual prophecy.

2. Mysteries Of The Temple–Fearful Oaths And Secret Ceremonies–Saintly Privileges–Shocking Doings In Days Gone By–Whisperings Of Terrible Deeds–How The Mormons Mind Their Own Business–A New Name-Terrible And Revengeful Oaths–The Punishment Of The Apostate–Pains And Penalties Of Betrayal–The Mysterious Mark–Secret And Significant Signs–Eight Hours Of Mystery–I Justify Myself.

3. Besides this, every Mormon’s mouth was closed by the oath of that same temple—the penalty for breaking this oath was worded in the most startling and impressive way, a penalty which no one doubted would be sternly enforced. The throat of the traitor was to be cut from ear to ear; his heart and tongue to be cut out; and his bowels were—while he was yet living—to be torn from him. In the world to come, everlasting damnation would be his portion.

Talena Sanders is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist interested in the development of individual and collective senses of identity in the context of religious and affinity groups. Through examining the influences of visual and material culture, dress and adornment, and geographic place, her work seeks to understand the ways in which people produce their self-worth within and against social institutions. She holds an MFA from Duke University’s Experimental and Documentary Arts program and a BFA from the University of Kentucky. Her work has been screened, exhibited, and collected internationally, including at the New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde, Marseille Festival of Documentary Film (FID Marseille), Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), Indie Festival (Brazil), San Francisco Cinematheque’s Crossroads, Media City Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. She is a proud Kentuckian.

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