SIDE PROGRAMME 2018
KEYNOTE | Dr. Paolo Favero | University of Antwerp
THE UNCANNY DESTINY OF ‘RAW’ FOOTAGE:
REFLECTIONS FROM INDIA ON DOCUMENTARY FILM, PARTICIPATION AND ADVOCACY
The digitised habitats of the world are today witnessing to the consolidation of a new ecology of images. Relational, material, haptic and immersive by nature, “new images” seem to promote also new practices of image-making characterised by non-linearity, interactivity and new forms of participation. Yet, what does this mean for the way in the practice of ethnographic documentary film is evolving and especially for its capacity to promote instances of social intervention and advocacy?
The present talk dives into this terrain from the vantage point of a particular documentary project born in India in 2002 in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage. An audio-visual database created by a small group of artists/activists animated by the desire to generate material that could be used by filmmakers, lawyers, human rights organization etc., The Shared Footage Group‘s project is probably a precursor of what we today call non-linear, interactive documentary. Constituted by images filmed in different formats and with different perspectives, and funded entirely by donations (as to remove it from any possible forms of control) this archive managed, however, not to have the desired impact. The images got dispersed, migrating between a number of different actors and archives. This failure forces us hence to enquire into the destiny of raw footage. Can raw footage every exist? Can documentary film live in the absence of authorship? What is the future of documentary film in a world increasing characterised by the merging of the digital and the visual?
MASTERCLASS | David Fedele | Filmmaker | Australia
WHOSE STORY IS IT?
A QUESTION OF REPRESENTATION, RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORSHIP
David Fedele’s films are best described as “cinematic journalism”. He strives to reveal an unfiltered view of the world as he sees it, while searching for some sort of “truth” … a word that is impossible to define, and a concept that ultimately does not exist. As technology advances at a rapid rate, the boundary between filmmaker and protagonist is becoming increasingly blurred, forcing filmmakers to challenge and question themselves, and become ethically rigorous in ways like never before.
We live in a world where we are bombarded with images, stories and information that attempt to tell us what’s going on around us, forcing us to push boundaries to discover and invent new, fresh and creative ways to tell stories in order to cut through this “noise”. So what is the most responsible way to tell these stories? Whose stories are we telling, how and why are we telling them, and what gives us this right?
VISIONS, NARRATIVES, FORMATS – STORYTELLING IN INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY FILM
Augmented Reality, Animations and Open Source: New technologies, collaborations and platforms open up possibilities for the development of unusual formats in documentary film. How are these new narratives developed, storytelling techniques rethought and combined? What set of new questions can be negotiated and which new chances open up.Alexandra D’Onofrio is the director of It was tomorrow, in which she practices collaborative filmmaking with three Egyptian men and in which theatre, animation and photography are combined, to approach possible representations of memory and imagination. Marion Guth is producer at a_bahn, (http://www.a-bahn.com/en/), an internationally successful company specialised on diverse creative narratives in the non-fiction area. Also, XYZ will be present. Together with our host Sphie Wagner they discuss those the pressing questions around innovative, documentary narratives of the 21st century.
Ascan Breuer, Dokumentarisches Labor, UNDOX Festival
Alexandra D’Onofrio, Filmmaker
Marion Guth, a_BAHN
FILM FESTIVAL IN EXILE: SYRIA
“SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE, SEVEN YEARS OF PLENTY?!”
A film approach to the years of ember during the Syrian uprising (2011-2018)
No one has ever imagined – even in his wildest dreams- that those tender breezes of spring 201 would turn into a wind that will shake the leaves on the dull trees in Syria, spreading life through their dry roots and triggering off a demand for a change. This public demand and major protests were faced with brutal violence and international ignorance. While the other countries protests succeeded in making remarkable political changes, unfortunately, it wasn’t the case in Syria. These demonstrations which started peacefully in the beginning couldn’t convince the regime to do any changes, and went through endless cycles of blood and fire. With this flounder, and the rise of ISIS, civilians found themselves under the hammers of violence, dictatorship, fundamentalism, and international ignorance.
For seven years, this up-rising unleashed incredible stories that have found their way to the cinemas throughout the world. A filmic coup d’état… A new Syrian wave of documentary filmmaking that started on the hands of young Syrian filmmakers who made the most of the new filmmaking technologies to continue recording this forbidden drama of life. With their mobile phones and 5Ds in hand, they headed to the center of the events, always looking for the right moment. Soon, a revolution of documentary filmmaking occurred, one that overwhelmed all Syrians. Syrians were so keen to document everything around them, the clashes with the forces, the everyday life, violent reaction to peaceful protests, refusal to ISIS existence, the pain, the loss, the small victories and the endless disappointments. Countless films were shot, edited and found their ways into festivals. And in a war zone where foreign media are banned, the whole world was eager to see what was happening there – and these films helped.
Seven years and Syrians inside and in exile asking one question: Does it worth it? Will those seven years of pain, loss, and death be a start for a new Syria where everyone is free? Or is it seven years of famine that changed the destiny of a peaceful country forever?
Three films were selected for ethnocineca2018; to put Syria in focus during the seven years of ember. Three films concentrate on the human side of the Syrian catastrophe. “Immortal Sergeant” directed by Ziad Kalthoum, an award-wining Syrian movie and the first film to be done during the uprising, probes the unknown depths of the Syrian society during the first months of the uprising, the people fear of the unknown and their struggle to keep safe. “Haunted”, directed by female Syrian director Liwaa Yaziji which goes deep into the broken soul of Syrian people during the years of siege, where the people were so connected and haunted with their memories and denying of the present. “A Syrian Love Story” an award winning film by Sean McAllister, a British filmmaker who was a foreign witness of what is happening in Syria during the years 2011-2015 through the life of a Syrian couple who were teared apart between home and exile. Between revolution and subservience. Three movies that will rise several questions that every Syrian asks everyday without any answer. Three movies that will invite the audience to be involved in our long-muted stories knowing that seven years isn’t the end and that there is still a long Sisyphean way to go.
A SYRIAN LOVE STORY
“SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE, SEVEN YEARS OF PLENTY ?!”
We are pleased to welcome the filmmakers Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story), Liwaa Yazij (Haunted) and Alfoz Tanjour (A Memory in Khaki) for a conversation at the Weltmuseum Wien. Together we talk about their personal perspectives on the last seven years, the situation of filmmakers in Syria and what it means to live as a filmmaker in exile.
OLD MATERIAL – NEW STORIES:
AUTHOR AND SUBJECT IN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY FILMS
The vivacity of historical ethnographic footage, methods of storage and archiving raises many questions, especially where filmmakers face the challenge of recontextualising such historical material in new stories. But what does it mean to analyse narratives, images and things in the context of the time they have been made or said, while at the same time ideas evolve constantly and people find themselves in the front of or at the tail end of this evolution? Taking Grace Winter’s and Luc Plantier’s film Marquis de Wavrin. Du Manoir à la Jungle as a starting point, we engage in conversations about historical footage and the rediscovery of early filmmakers and anthropologists. In what ways can filmmakers and researchers (re)use historical visual material? What challenges do they face when analysing historical documents in a different political context and temporality than the time they came into being? What discrepancies arise between lived life, audio-visual documentation and commentary by the researchers, who, as in the case of the Marquis, serve to satisfy the exoticising gaze of the public?
Discussing more profoundly some of the themes that appear in the film, cultural philosopher Tom Waibel and filmmaker Grace Winter consider these and other questions concerning authorship, archiving and the revitalization and mediation of historical footage. The audience is invited to contribute to the discussion.
Grace Winter, filmmaker, Marquis de Wavrin. Du Manoir à la Jungle
Tom Waibel, cultural philosopher
Talk | Dr. Angela de Souza Torresan
GUTO AND GRAÇA: ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMS AND STORYTELLING
It may be tautological to claim that ethnographic films are a form of storytelling; one that combines concomitance and linearity between images and words to show and tell particular stories. However, drawing on Guto and Graça, a 9-minute film on the impact of slum gentrification in Rio de Janeiro, I argue that ethnographic films carry the elements of storytelling in Arendt and Jackson’s sense. They work as multi-layered forms of ‘action’ (Arendt, 1958) that bridge the personal and the political during the different phases of production, post-production and dissemination. While I emphasize the former two in the paper, I will experiment with the latter by showing the film twice, once at the beginning and then at the end of my talk, with the intention of putting my reasoning to the test of an academic audience.
The winners of the five award categories IDA, EVA, ADA, ISA and ESSA, will be announced within a festive setting.