Visionary Archive Festival at Arsenal Cinema

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Two years ago, Arsenal launched a translocal experiment: The “Visionary Archive“ project, funded by the TURN fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, correlates research processes in Berlin, Bissau, Johannesburg, Cairo and Khartoum. It explores future perspectives in contemporary, transcultural, curatorial and artistic work with archives and archival research.

The partners are: the Arsenal with its film collection, the Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre (Cairo), the independent cinema The Bioscope (Johannesburg), the estate of film-maker Gadalla Gubara (Khartoum) and Geba Filmes association (Bissau). From May 21 to 31, the participants will come to Berlin to provide insights into the material they are dealing with, to present results, and to discuss unresolved questions with invited guests and the public.

A closing event with many open ends, the “Visionary Archive” Festival presents film screenings, work in progress presentations and three workshops at the Arsenal cinema, exhibition displays and curators’ talks at the project spaces Scriptings and Archive Kabinett. The workshops will profit from inputs from the “Visionary Archive” sub-projects and invited artists and experts. They tackle questions of Materiality (May 23), the politics of “reprise” (Reprendre, May 30) and the mobility of films and their audiences (Mobility, May 31). Archive Kabinett hosts displays on the entanglement of B-Schemes films with popular comic books and on the creation of an alternative Egyptian archive featuring printed matters from Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre in Cairo together with amateur footage. At Scriptings, the project “Studio Gad” presents for the first time an installation of 40 hours of footage by Sudanese film pioneer Gadalla Gubara. A curators’ talk will be held on May 26. All events are in English, film languages may differ.

With films by Ahmed Bedjaoui, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, David Bensusan, Charles Burnett, Assia Djebar, Tobias Engel, Haile Gerima, Gadalla Gubara, Med Hondo, Lennart Malmer, Chris Marker & Alain Resnais, Tonie van der Merwe, Sana na N’Hada, Pape Badara Seck, Ousmane Sembène, Luis de Witt u.a.

Guests
Enoka Ayemba (Curator, Berlin)
Ahmed Bedjaoui (Film Scholar/Journalist/Curator/Filmmaker, Algiers/Paris)
Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Filmmaker/Producer, Yaoundé/Paris)
Bino Byansi Byakuleka (African Refugee Union)
Kudzanai Chiurai (Artist, Harare)
Project "Colonial Neighbours" (Gallery SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)
Tobias Engel (Filmmaker, Paris)
Muhammed Lamin Jadama (African Refugee Union, Berlin)
Sifiso Khanyile (Filmmaker/Producer, Johannesburg)
Brigitta Kuster (Artist/Theoretician, Berlin)
Achim Lengerer (Artist/Curator, Berlin)
Angelika Levi (Filmmaker, Berlin)
Lennart Malmer (Filmmaker, Stockholm)
Diana McCarty (Reboot FM)
Litheko Modisane (Literary Scholar, Johannesburg)
Aïssatou Seidi (Journalist, Bissau)
Shaymaa Shokry (Curator, Cairo)
Ala Younis (Artist/Curator, Amman)

Visionary Archive Participants
Yasmin Desouki (Revisiting Memory, Cairo), Darryl Els (B-Schemes, Johannesburg), Sara Gubara, Nadja Korinth, Stefan Pethke, Rhea Schmitt & Katharina von Schroeder (Studio Gad, Khartoum), Filipa César & Sana na N’Hada (From Boé to Berlin – Mobile Lab on the film history of Guinea-Bissau, Berlin & Bissau), Marie-Hélène Gutberlet & Tobias Hering (It all depends, Berlin), Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin).
The „Visionary Archive“ project is funded by the TURN fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Thanks to the Goethe-Institute especially the institutes in Algiers, Dakar, Cairo, Johannesburg, Khartoum and Yaoundé for their generous support.

For further information:
Christine Sievers | Press & Publicity
Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art
030 269 55 143 or cs@arsenal-berlin.de | www.arsenal-berlin.de
Arsenal Cinema 1 & 2 | Potsdamer Straße 2 | 10785 Berlin

According to a resolution adopted by the German Bundestag, Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Art.

Visionary Archive Festival
May 21–31, 2015 at Arsenal Cinema


Program at Arsenal Cinema, Potsdamer Platz

Film screenings
 
May 21, 6pm Opening
Short welcoming speech: Annette Schemmel, Guest: Ahmed Bedjaoui
LE GRAND DÉTOUR   Ahmed Bedjaoui   Algeria 1968   OV English Subtitles 50‘
LA ZERDA ET LES CHANTS DE L’OUBLI   Assia Djebar   Algeria 1982   OV English Subtitles 50‘
Things get started with a forgotten film that is beamed into the present like a space probe. The title of Ahmed Bedjaoui’s LE GRAND DÉTOUR reveals its prophetic qualities, as it now finally receives its world premiere after a full 47 years! This story of a young street trader in Algiers who goes to France to seek his fortune still carries considerable bite and topicality even at its advanced age. Could it be that LE GRAND DÉTOUR entered the Arsenal archive together with LA ZERDA ET LES CHANTS DE L’OUBLI? LA ZERDA, is, one of two films made by recently deceased writer Assia Djebar in the late 1970s, both produced by Ahmed Bedjaoui. It is a fervent poem of resistance, skillfully pieced together from remnants of French newsreels from the colonial period. Ahmed Bedjaoui will be in attendance

May 22, 7pm Introduction: Yasmin Desouki
SAD SONG OF TOUHA   Atteyat El Abnoudy   Egypt 1971   OV English Subtitles 12‘
HORIZONS   Shadi Abdel Salam   Egypt 1972   OV English Subtitles 39‘
Two films from the holdings of the Cimatheque in Cairo which explore art and performance in the Egypt of the early 70s: SAD SONG OF TOUHA is the portrait of a group of street artists that drifts increasingly into the surreal, while HORIZONS draws a line between different art forms, running the gamut from a staging of Hamlet to the craftspeople in the streets of Cairo.

May 22, 9pm Introduction: Darryl Els, Guest: Litheko Modisane
JOE BULLET   Louis de Witt   South Africa 1971   OV English Subtitles 85‘
A gangster will stop at nothing to manipulate the result of a football game. But justice and revenge have a name – Joe Bullet! Action-packed and clearly indebted to the conventions of 70s Black pop culture, JOE BULLET was one of the first South African films with an entirely black cast, putting Ken Gampu aka Joe Bullet front and center, whose nonchalant physicality is reminiscent of Shaft.

May 22, 11pm Introduction: Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, Guest: Jean-Pierre Bekolo
LE COMPLOT D’ARISTOTE   Aristotle’s Plot   Jean-Pierre Bekolo   F/GB/Zimbabwe 1996   OV English Subtitles 72‘
Ken Gampu also appears in Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s crazy meta-film about the very notion of African cinema, with LE COMPLOT D’ARISTOTE once again sending him off in search of justice. He is supposed to find out why actors that you see die in one film are suddenly large as life in the next. Gampu gets caught in the cross fire between the forces of popular film and those of auteur cinema, who in a glorious showdown are both granted eternal life.

May 23, 7pm Introduction: Nadja Korinth and Katharina von Schroeder, Comment: Sara Gubara
VIVA SARA! (REVISITED)   Gadalla Gubara   Sudan ca.1980   ca.50‘
The estate of Sudanese filmmaker Gadalla Gubara (1920–2008, see below) includes an unfinished fictional portrait of his daughter Sara, who became a professional swimmer despite suffering from polio. The bulk of the existing material from VIVA SARA! was produced at the beginning of the 80s in the midst of the hustle and bustle on the beach in Capri. Shot with visible enjoyment, Sara Gubara plays herself in the scenes and will be providing a commentary on the raw material


May 23, 8.30pm Talk: Ala Younis and Shaymaa Shokry
Revisiting Memory: Amateur Footage and Cinema in Egypt ca.1960–1980 ca. 30‘
An important element of the Cimatheque’s work in Cairo is grappling with private 8-mm film archives, which tell and experience different stories than those contained within the state cinema apparatus. Dealing with this sensitive material means involves allowing those who have donated the material to curate their own archives. The curator for this evening is Shaymaa Shokry.

May 23, 11pm Introduction: Darryl Els, Guest: Litheko Modisane
MY COUNTRY, MY HAT   David Bensusan   South Africa 1983   OV English Subtitles 84‘
The discriminatory passport laws passed by the South African Apartheid state repeatedly provoked massive, yet futile protests. MY COUNTRY, MY HAT tells the story of James, a young man from Soweto who attempts to find work in Johannesburg without a passport.

May 24,12pm one hour – one film
Introduction Marie-Hélène Gutberlet
LES STATUES MEURENT AUSSI   Chris Marker, Alain Resnais   F 1953   OV English Subtitles 30‘
“When men die they enter into history. When statues die they enter into art is how Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s provocative early work LES STATUES MEURENT AUSSI (F 1953 | 24.5.) begins, which sets its sights on the aftereffects of colonialism in the European perception of African history and culture.

May 24,1pm one hour – one film
Talk: Sara Gubara, Nadja Korinth and Katharina von Schroeder
Over the course of his 60-year filmmaking career, Gadalla Gubara was often a producer, director, cameraman, and editor all in one. Sara Gubara, Nadja Korinth, and Katharina von Schroeder present a selection of his work entitled “60 Years, All Genres” that shows how Gubara continually moved back and forth between different formats.

May 24, 2pm one hour – one film
Talk: Filipa César and Sana na N’Hada
FANADO   Sana na N’Hada   Guinea-Bissau 1984   OV (Balanta and French) 23‘
In FANADO, Sana na N’Hada documents the initiation ritual of the Balanta community, to which he himself also belongs. Following the film, he will be discussing the conflicts that still link him to the film and his own role in it to this day.

May 24, 4pm one hour – one film  
Talk: Darryl Els and Tobias Hering
POST APARTHEID POPCORN   Dean Slotar   USA 1992   OV 22‘
Dean Slotar’s POST APARTHEID POPCORN is a daring political snapshot of South Africa taken directly after the end of Apartheid. His montage of interviews and advertising films forms a trenchant statement on the distribution of wealth in the New South Africa.

May 24, 5pm one hour – one film
Introduction: Yasmin Desouki
THE WHITE LINE   Hossam Moheeb, Ali Moheeb   Egypt 1962   OV English Subtitles 24‘
Yasmin Desouki is showing the found piece THE WHITE LINE that forms part of the Cairo Cimatheque’s “Revisiting Memory” project, “a hybrid animation, live action musical from 1962, 24 min long.”

May 24, 7pm Introduction Rhea Schmitt und Stefan Pethke, Guest: Khaled Bella and Aalya Musa
KHARTOUM   Gadalla Gubara   Sudan 1974   OV English Subtitles 20‘
At the start of the 70s, Gadalla Gubara shot a portrait of Khartoum that showcased the city as the motor of a modern Sudan. Today, KHARTOUM comes across like a look into an unfulfilled future. Part of the “Studio Gad” project involved a workshop in which young filmmakers created cinematic responses to Gubara’s visions. The dialogue between KHARTOUM and their films is accompanied by Stefan Pethke and Rhea Schmitt, who headed the workshop, as well as filmmakers Khaled Bella and Aalya Musa.

May 24, 9pm Introduction: Marie-Hélène Gutberlet
CEDDO   Ousmane Sembène   Senegal 1977   OV German Subtitles 116‘
“Ceddo” does not refer to an ethnic group, but rather a stance: a people made up of rebels and outsiders who protect their cultural tradition and identity against slavery, Islamization, and Christianization. Reviving historical material from 16th and 17th century Senegal, Ousmane Sembène’s CEDDO creates a staggeringly topical epic on power, religion, language and speech acts, in which a princess plays a crucial role.

May 27, 7pm Talk: Angelika Levi and Marie-Hélène Gutberlet
“Collection and Disappearing” – Questioning my Material from Namibia in 1991
In 1991, Angelika Levi travelled with Lilly Grote and Julia Kunert to Namibia as a camera assistant, where they were shooting a film about Namibian children who had grown up in East Germany. Angelika Levi filmed what happened off-camera. Although most of this footage has remained unused to this day, it somehow wouldn’t leave the filmmaker in peace. In this collage of voices and images with a running commentary, she poses the question of “What to Do with the Material?” in the cinema space.

May 27, 9pm Introduction: Tobias Hering
AFRIKA AM RHEIN   Pape Badara Seck   West Germany 1985   OV German Subtitles 108‘
In 1985, Pape Badara Seck directed AFRIKA AM RHEIN, produced by the West German public broadcaster WDR, in which Goór travels to Cologne in order to demand the return of a mask he once sold to a German tourist in Senegal. His clandestine, yet insistent presence throws the German post-war consensus into sharp relief. Bernd Mosblech did the camerawork for this visionary piece of television history, in which Gilbert Diop, Ronald Mkwanazi and Hanns Zischler all appear and the Rhine is given an African shore.

May 28, 7pm Colonial Neighbours: Tracking in the Arsenal Film collection . Film-Screening with discussion afterwards. Guest: Nadia Kabalan, Marleen Schröder and Lynhan Balatbat
“Colonial Neighbours” is an archive project by SAVVY Contemporary (Berlin) that is conducting a search for clues relating to German colonial history and brings together objects and stories to this end. Part of “Visionary Archive” involved Colonial Neighbours embarking on a journey into the Arsenal film collection. By exploring one selected film in suitable depth, processes of searching and selection and the gaps in the hegemonic construction of history will be addressed.

May 28, 9pm Introduction: Tobias Hering
SOLEIL Ô   Med Hondo   F 1969   OV English Subtitles 98‘
Med Hondo’s internationally celebrated debut film SOLEIL Ô weaves together the experiences of a black immigrant in France in the 60s with echoes of slavery and lucid observations on contemporary labor migration. With his explosive, unconventional narrative style, Hondo manages to address both blatant racism and alarming statistics with something more exciting and vigorous than plain social realism.

May 28, 11pm
KILLER OF SHEEP   Charles Burnett   USA 1977   OV German Subtitles 77‘
On the other side of the Atlantic, Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, Larry Clark, Haile Gerima, and others were also searching for alternatives to Blaxploitation and American mainstream cinema. In KILLER OF SHEEP, Burnett tells a story plucked from everyday life in Los Angeles’ black community. Working with children and young actors both professional and non-professional, he creates an inside view of conditions there and life’s difficulties, even as moments of great beauty still emerge.

May 29, 7pm Introduction: Filipa César, Guest: Lennart Malmer and Sana na N’Hada
EN NATIONS FÖDELSE   Birth of a Nation   Lennart Malmer, Ingela Romare   Sweden 1973   OV English Subtitles 48’
VREDENS POESI   Poetry of Anger   Lennart Malmer   Sweden 1978   OV English Subtitles 48‘
Much like in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, foreign film teams also documented the anti-colonialist struggle for independence in Guinea-Bissau. One of the contemporary witnesses of this struggle was Swedish filmmaker Lennart Malmer, who worked closely with his Guinean colleagues. The central moment of BIRTH OF A NATION is Guinea-Bissau’s unilateral declaration of independence on 24th Sep 1973, even before the end of the war. POETRY OF ANGER blends fiction and documentary to create a personal report of Malmer’s recollections of those formative years. After the screening, Malmer will be speaking with Sana na N’Hada about the experience of filming during an armed struggle.

May 29, 9.30pm Introduction: Tobias Hering
LE FOND DE L’AIR EST ROUGE   A Grin without a Cat   Chris Marker   F 1977   OV English Subtitles 180’
Chris Marker’s political analysis LE FOND DE L’AIR EST ROUGE is a recollection of the 60s and 70s, in particular the emergence of the New Left in Europe and the liberation movements in Latin America. Empathy for the promise of socialist utopias can be felt in many of the militant cinema projects which the film cites.

May 30, 7pm Introduction: Filipa César, Guest: Tobias Engel
NO PINCHA!   Tobias Engel, René Lefort, Gilbert Igel   F 1970   OV German Subtitles 65’
CARNAVAL DE GUINÉE BISSAO   Tobias Engel   F 1982   OV 27‘
NO PINCHA! is a film shot by French activists about the PAIGC struggle for liberation in Guinea-Bissau. Tobias Engel and his co-directors eschew martial gestures in order to allow the images to put across their argument all the more convincingly. The tactical function of the film is attested by an inserted appeal to German Chancellor Willy Brand. In CARNAVAL DE GUINÉE BISSAO, Engel documents a central collective event in the country scarcely ten years after independence.

May 30, 9.30pm Introduction: Tobias Hering
ASHES AND EMBERS   Haile Gerima   USA 1982   OV German Subtitles 129‘
Haile Gerima’s ASHES AND EMBERS uses the character of Vietnam veteran Ned Charles in order to explore the restless and disjointed character of his generation. The story moves back and forth between Washington D.C., Hollywood, and his grandmother in the country, weaving together the period’s different ideological options in the process: African roots, internationalist struggles, and the garish promise of an American dream that doubles up as a racist nightmare.

Workshops

May 23, 12pm–2pm & 3pm–6pm Workshop „Materiality“, Moderation: Tobias Hering free entry
The Materiality Workshop is dedicated to the material state of archive films, which throws up very different questions in the five in Berlin, Bissau, Cairo, Khartoum, and Johannesburg. “Visionary Archive” sub-projects. Physical and virtual storage and accessibility play a role here, as do the aesthetic and ethical aspects of re-discovering films. With contributions by and film excerpts from Filipa César & Sana na N’Hada, Ala Younis, Yasmin Desouki, Darryl Els, Sara Gubara, Katharina von Schroeder, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus.

May 30, 12pm-2pm & 3pm-6pm Workshop „Reprendre”, Moderation: Enoka Ayemba free entry
Philosopher Y.V. Mudimbe describes the strategy of “reprise“ (resumption) as a process of knowledge realignment in contemporary African art whereby previously interrupted traditions are taken up again and meanings created in a colonially dominated contexts reexamined. The workshop explores cinematic practices that create archives themselves or look to archives in order to re-contextualize material that has been forgotten. With contributions by and film excerpts from Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Kudzanai Chiurai, Brigitta Kuster, Sana na N’Hada, Litheko Modisane.

May 31, 12pm-2pm & 3pm-6pm Workshop „Mobility“, Moderation: Marie-Hélène Gutberlet free entry
The “Mobility” Workshop takes a look at the mobility and translocalism of film and the influence of mobile cinema practice on reception scenarios, whether spectatorships in South Africa under Apartheid or the experiences with a travelling cinema gathered in Guinea-Bissau as part of “Visionary Archive”.
With contributions by and film excerpts from Filipa César, Darryl Els, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet & Tobias Hering, Sifiso Khanyile, Sana na N’Hada and Aïssatu Seidi.

Program at the Archive Kabinett, Dieffenbachstr. 31

Exhibition
Visionary Archive @ Archive Kabinett

May 22–31, Mo-Sa 2pm-7pm
Two Visionary Archive projects exhibit material from their film research at the Archive Kabinett. Darryl Els’ “South African Pulp: Photo-Comics and the B-Schemes Subsidy Films” documents the parallels between the B-Schemes films and the South African photo-comic culture, whose popularity makes them of interest for a revisionist approach to South Africa’s cultural heritage. The exhibition “Revisiting Memory: Building an Alternative Archive in Egypt” brings together material from the print archive of the Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre (Cairo) and Egyptian amateur films, which Yasmin Desouki discusses as the elements of an alternative archive.

May 25, 7pm Lectures and presentations from Darryl Els and Yasmin Desouki

Program Scriptings, Kamerunerstr.47

Studio Discussion
Visionary Archive @ Scriptings

May 25–May 30, 12pm–7pm Material Sighting Studio Gad
May 26, 7pm Guest: Sara Gubara, Nadja Korinth and Katharina von Schroeder Studio Discussion referring to the Material Sighting Studio Gad
Gadalla Gubara (1920–2008), pioneer of Sudanese cinema, made features, TV reports, educational material, and advertising films for nearly 60 years. In 2013, a large part of his archive was digitized by Arsenal. The goal of Nadja Korinth and Katharina von Schroeder’s “Studio Gad” project is to work together with Gubara’s daughter Sara Gubara to preserve and honor his unique life work. Digitized material from the archive can be seen for the first time at the Scriptings project space in the form an installation. The three curators will also be presenting the archive

Closing event

May 31, 7pm Walk through the city, Starting Point Arsenal Foyer
The “Von Boé nach Berlin” project gifts the end of the festival with an open-air cinema outing. After a joint walk through the city films from the National Film Archive of Guinea-Bissau (INCA) will be shown at the destination point.

May 31, 9pm Open-air Cinema
Commented screening of archive material from the National Film Institute of Guinea-Bissau (INCA) in collaboration with the African Refugee Union
With contributions from: Bino Byansi Byakuleka & Muhammed Lamin Jadama, Filipa César, Sana na N’Hada, Lennart Malmer, Moderation: Diana McCarty
among others: O REGRESSO DE AMÍLCAR CABRAL   Flora Gomes, Sana na N’Hada, José Bolama, Josefina Crato, Djamila Fettermann   Guinea-Bissau/Guinea/Sweden 1976   OV English Subtitles 31’
O REGRESSO DE AMÍLCAR CABRAL, a tribute to one of the great personalities of the 20th Century.

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