A Day of Panel Discussions on the Counter-Cultural Focus of the First Years, its Legacy in the Present Day and Strategies for the Challenges of the Future
silent green Kulturquartier
All talks are in English.
2020 is a special year: the Berlinale Forum is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The films shown in 1971 are now returning to the big screen. Looking back has never been more relevant. The entrenched attitudes within society which the first International Forum of New Cinema set out to confront are reasserting themselves today with new vigour, even though it seemed they’d been overcome in the meantime. What does the counter-cultural awakening of the late 60s tell us at the contemporary moment? Do the ways in which filmmakers such as Helke Sander, Rosa von Praunheim, Med Hondo or Howard Alk challenged systems of social order and power disparities still endure today? Which of their aesthetic and political strategies can now be taken up?
At the invitation of Forum and Forum Expanded, filmmakers, intellectuals, curators and archivists will be coming together at silent green Kulturquartier to think about these questions. The focus here is unavoidably broad, taking in the interactions between feminism and cinema, the American civil rights movement, anti-colonial struggles and their expression in film and attempts to liberate filmmaking from established hierarchies by way of collective work; it’s equally about strategies of film preservation and circulation in which terms such as “national film heritage” do not play a role, as well as about the scope and possibility of a political cinema.
What’s important to us is that this reflection process also incorporates our own history. The International Forum of New Cinema was founded in 1971 as an independent section of the Berlinale after the film festival had reached a dead end the previous year. This independence endures to this day, as the section continues to be put on by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art. At the same time, we have ourselves become an institution, just like every other cultural association that has been around for decades. How can we deal with this fact in productive fashion? This question too is to form a basis for discussion on February 27.
Birgit Kohler, Cristina Nord, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
Birgit Kohler is one of the co-directors of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art
Cristina Nord is the Head of the Berlinale Forum.
Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is a co-director of Arsenal and Head of Forum Expanded.
PANEL 1: I WENT ON STRIKE
Feminist image politics past and present
Louise Alaimo, Claudia von Alemann, Helena Kritis, Constanze Ruhm, Judith Smith
Host: Diana McCarty
Louise Alaimo graduated from UCLA and was part of San Francisco’s Newsreel, where she conceived and produced The Woman’s Film alongside Judy Smith and Ellen Sorrin, the collective’s first film made by an all-woman team.
Claudia von Alemann is a director and has made numerous experimental, documentary and feature films since the 1960s. In 1973, she organised the 1st International Women’s Film Seminar at Arsenal together with Helke Sander. From 1982 to 2006 she was Professor for Film at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund.
Helena Kritis is a freelance curator. She is a member of the short film selection committee for the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Until December, she was in charge of the audiovisual programme at Brussels’ Beursschouwburg.
Constanze Ruhm works as an artist, author and curator in the fields of film, video and installation. She also teaches film and digital media at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Judith Smith joined the Newsreel collective in 1969. With Louise Alaimo and Ellen Sorrin, she made The Woman’s Film, which was screened at the very first edition of the Forum in 1971.
Diana McCarty is a co-founder of the award-winning free artists radio, reboot.fm/88,4 mhz and the Faces international community for women in media.
PANEL 2: MONANGAMBEEE!
Film as a tool for decolonialisation
Enoka Ayemba, Didi Cheeka, Lyse Ishimwe Nsengiyumva, Jacqueline Nsiah
Host: Cristina Nord
Enoka Ayemba is a film curator and film critic focusing on African cinematography, the Nigerian video industry and anti-colonial movements. He is a film selection consultant for the Berlinale Forum.
Didi Cheeka is co-founder of the Lagos Film Society. He works as a director and film critic and has been working for years to reappraise the Nigerian film heritage. He initiated the archive project “Reclaiming History, Unveiling Memory”.
Lyse Ishimwe Nsengiyumva is a curator and photographer. She founded and curates Recognition, a programme that aims to increase the visibility of African and African diaspora art, literature and culture via community based film screenings and workshops in Belgium.
Jacqueline Nsiah is a programme director for the Africa Film Society in Ghana and oversees an African film platform at the Goethe-Institut as project manager. She is part of the Forum selection committee.
PANEL 3: WHO WOULD WANT TO GO IT ALONE?
Filmmaking as collective work
with representatives of the following collectives: Forensic Architecture, ISKRA, The Living and the Dead Ensemble
Host: Nanna Heidenreich
Forensic Architecture is a team of architects, software developers, filmmakers, investigative journalists, artists, scientists and lawyers who investigate state and corporate violence, human rights violations and environmental destruction.
ISKRA (“Image, Son, Kinescope et Réalisations Audiovisuelles”) is an independent film production company which has been making film history since the 1960s (originally under the name Slon) through its own aesthetics and collective production methods.
The Living and the Dead Ensemble is a group of artists from Haiti, France and the UK who first gathered in July 2017 to translate Édouard Glissant’s play “Monsieur Toussaint” from French to Haitian Creole. Their film Ouvertures plays at the Forum programme this year.
Nanna Heidenreich is a professor for Digital Narratives at the ifs internationale filmschule köln. From 2009–2017, she was one of the curators for Forum Expanded.
PANEL 4: ANTI-CINEMA, COUNTER-ARCHIVES
Strategies of dissident film preservation, restoration and circulation
Vinzenz Hediger, Annamaria Licciardello, Michael Loebenstein, Tamer El Said, Catarina Simão.
Host: Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
Vinzenz Hedinger is professor of Film Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt for the programme “Film Culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation”. Together with other partners, the Goethe University initiated the first Master’s programme for film archiving and film culture in Africa.
Annamaria Licciardello is a film curator, historian and archivist with a special focus on Italian experimental and militant cinema from the 60’s and 70’s.
Michael Loebenstein is a curator, film critic, author and media designer. Since 2017, he is Director of the Austrian Film Museum.
Tamer El Said is a filmmaker and founding member of Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre in Cairo that contains a cinema, an archive, a library, a lab and spaces for workshops and discussions.
Catarina Simão is an artist and researcher. Since 2009, she has been working with the notion of the archive, engaging especially with Mozambican colonial and anti-colonial history.
PANEL 5: COUNTER-SHOT
Making films politically / Making political films 1971/2020
Ruth Beckermann, Filipa César, Jonathan Perel
Host: Birgit Kohler
Ruth Beckermann is a documentary filmmaker and freelance author. Many of her films have been shown in the Forum, most recently Waldheims Walzer (2018), which reconstructs the heated debates around the Kurt Waldheim affair.
Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker based in Berlin. In her work, she is interested in the porous boundaries between the moving image and its reception, the fictional dimensions of the documentary and the economies, politics and poetics inherent to cinema praxis.
Jonathan Perel is a filmmaker and artist. His most recent film Responsabilidad empresarial is part of this year’s Forum’s programme and investigates the role that companies played in the Argentinian military dictatorship.
CLOSING PANEL: AT THE END OF THE RED CARPET
Festivals under fire, festivals as sites of criticality
Iskra Geshoska, Amine Hattou, Shai Heredia
Host: Marc Siegel
Iskra Geshoska is a philosopher, activist and co-founder of the NGO Kontrapunkt, which supports and organizes independent cultural events in North Macedonia.
Amine Hattou is a filmmaker. He is also the co-founder of Dima Cinéma, an organisation that supports the production and distribution of independent films in Algeria.
Shai Heredia is a filmmaker and curator and the founding director of Experimenta, the moving image art biennial of India. She has curated for film festivals and art venues worldwide.
Marc Siegel is Professor of Film Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. His research and publications focus on queer studies and experimental film. He is on the advisory board of Forum Expanded and a member of the art collective CHEAP.