March 2018

"Spell Reel"

by Filipa César, opens April 12, 2018

© Spectre Productions

In 2011, an archive of film and audio material re-emerged in Bissau. On the verge of complete ruination, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonising vision of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader assassinated in 1973.

In collaboration  with  the  Guinean  filmmakers  Sana  na  N’Hada  and  Flora  Gomes,  and  many  allies,  Filipa  César  imagines  a  journey  where  the  fragile  matter  from  the  past  operates  as  a  visionary  prism of shrapnel to look through. Digitised in Berlin, screened at various locations of what would come to resemble a transnational itinerant cinema, the archive convokes debates, storytelling, and forecasts. From  isolated  villages  in  Guinea-Bissau  to  European  capitals,  the  silent  reels  are  now  the  place  from  where  people  search for antidotes for a world in crisis.

Interview with Filipa César in the forum catalog

Information on the digitization project Animated Archive. The historical film material from the period of militant cinema in Guinea-Bissau was almost completely destroyed in the civil war of 1998/99. Only a fraction of this material survived this destruction. It is part of the collection of the National Film Institute of Guinea-Bissau (INCA – Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual) alongside foreign film productions which reflect the geopolitical relationships of solidarity with other countries in the 1970s. As part of the "Animated Archive" project, the film holdings were able to be digitized with the support of the German Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation program.

Festivals 2017 (Selection)
Berlinale Forum
San Sebastián International Film Festival | Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award
Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente
Doclisboa International Film Festival | International Competition, José Saramago Foundation Award for Best Film Spoken Mostly in Portuguese

About the film
"SPELL REEL Shows a Revolution Filmed, on the Leader’s Orders - The experimental feature SPELL REEL is simultaneously a tribute, a documentary and an excavation — “a ciné-port opened into a time capsule,” as a bit of onscreen text puts it. The movie’s subject is a trove of so-called revolutionary films shot to chronicle Guinea-Bissau’s war of independence from Portugal in the 1960s and ’70s." Ben Kenigsberg,

"Our Stories are True: Porto/Post/Doc 2017 - One clear highlight was Filipa César’s SPELL REELthe culmination of an extended project exhuming the history of revolutionary film produced during and after the anti-colonial struggle in Guinea-Bissau. Actual archival footage is less utilized in Paz Encina’s Memory Exercises (Ejercicios De Memoria), but the meticulous Paraguayan “Archives of Terror” inform her somber portrait of the family of Agustín Goiburú, who disappeared in 1979 amidst his opposition to the Stroessner dictatorship." Jesse Cumming,

Filipa César was born in Porto in 1975.She studied Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto and at theFaculdade de Belas Artes of the University of Lisbon. In 2008, she completed an MA in Art in Context at Berlin University of the Arts. Since 2001, Filipa César has exhibited her artworks in both solo and group exhibitions in several different countries. She began making films in 2007. She lives and works in Berlin.

Films 2007: Rapport (16 Min.), Allee der Kosmonauten (8 Min.). 2008: Le passeur (34 Min.). 2009: The Four Chambered Heart (29 Min.). 2010: Insert (10 Min.), Memograma (40 Min.), Porto, 1975 (10 Min.). 2011: The Embassy (7 Min.). 2012: Cuba (10 Min., Forum Expanded 2013), Cacheu (10 Min.). 2013: Conakry (10 Min.). 2014: Mined Soil (32 Min.). 2015: Transmission from the Liberated Zones´ (30 Min., Forum Expanded 2016). 2017: SPELL REEL.

Germany / Portugal 2017. DCP. Running time: 96 min. Langauges: Portuguese, Fula, Guinea-Bissau Creole, English, French. Version: OV with German subtitles. Director & Editor: Filipa César. Author: Sana na N’Hada. Camera: Jenny Lou Ziegel. Sound Design: Didio Pestana. Sound: Nikolas Mühe. Production Design: Olivier Marboeuf. Producers: Filipa César, Oliver Marboeuf, Maria João Mayer. Production companies: Filipa César (Berlin, Deutschland), Spectre Productions (Rennes, Frankreich), Filmes do Tejo II (Lissabon, Portugal). Premiere: Februar 15, 2017, Berlinale Forum