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INDEPENDENT

WOMEN’S CINEMA SARAH SHAMASH DALIAH ZIPER CASSIE DE COLLING NATACHA APRIL SOUYRIS EMILIA MONISZKO OLIVIA MUNORU MELANIE BROWN ANNA PATTON CATRIONA ANNE BLACKBURN AVATÂRA AYUSO CSILLA KLENYANSZKI FABIANA LEITE

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cINEMAKERS W O M E N

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04

Fabiana Leite

Contents 132 Emilia Moniszko

Lírios não nascem da lei

The Visitor

28

156

Csilla Klenyanszki

Natacha April Souyris

62

176

Avatâra Ayuso

Cassie De Colling

90

206

Catriona Anne Blackburn

Daliah Ziper

110

228

A. Patton, M. Brown, O. Munoru

Sarah Shamash

Mothers in Arts

I Am Raja

Cooking Ghosts

Cooking Ghosts

Without You I’m Nothing

Ai’s Journey

Hotel Sorrow

The End of The Beginning


Women Cinemakers meets

Fabiana Leite Lives and works in Brazil

Lilies are not born of the law Accompanies the trajectory of Ana Carolina, Liliane, Dayane and Marcela And reveals his dreams, dramas and expectations, Between transformations experienced by them before and after having their children in prison. By law, after the first months of the child's birth, the child should be given to someone in the family to be raised, or delivered to an institution for adoption. How does the Brazilian state deal with the situation of the pregnant woman in her custody? What are the transformations experienced by women in this stage of life within the prison? How does the child adapt even in the first months of his life in prison and after separation? In Brazil it is estimated the existence of about 3,000 pregnant women in this situation and the film seeks to unravel this reality. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant

Moreover, could you tell us your biggest influence and how did they influence your trajectory as a filmmaker?

Lírios não nascem da lei is a moving documentary film by Brazilian filmmaker Fabiana Leite: through a realistic and cliché-free narration, she unravels the existence of about 700 pregnant women in Brazilian prisons, demonstrating the ability to capture struggling emotions as well as dreams and expectations. One of the most captivating quality of Leite's work is the way it involves the viewers into a sustained and emotionally resonant dialectic with the stories of Ana Carolina, Liliane, Dayane and Marcela: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Leite's captivating and multifaceted artistic production.

Cinema came into my life even before my academic education and, in a way, the confluence of these two universes only took place well later in my life. Actually, first of them all came theatre, when I was still a child, and through theatre and the relations established there, I met cinema, in an almost spontaneous, but especially visceral way. I grew up in Vitória da Conquista, a city in the countryside of Bahia. When I was still a child, my aunt and uncle — playwriters Sônia Leite and Gildásio Leite — took me to the theatre for the first time. My uncle, Gildásio, was Glauber’s (Rocha) friend and had worked in many Cinema Novo (Brazilian’s New Cinema movement) productions since he was young. Films such as “Tenda dos Milagres” (1977), by Nelson Pereira dos Santos.

Hello Fabiana and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid training in Philosophy and in Psychology: how did these experiences address your artistic research?

This familiar relationship with cinema made so that, from a very young age, my cousins, closest friends and I started to do some small cinematographic experiments. Since my teen years I also started writing short stories and one of them originated my first work in cinema, as a

womencinemaker@berlin.com


Fabiana Leite (photo by Filipe Galgani)


screenwriter and assistant director in the medium-lenght fiction film “Três palavras” (2010), which was accepted in two important Brazilian festivals, Glauber Rocha Festival, in Salvador, and Ouro Preto Festival, in Ouro Preto city, in Minas Gerais. Since then, I never stopped making cinema. My academic education is quite broad and, initially, did not link itself to my relationship with cinema. It always had, however, a political and social perspective. I am graduated in Law, then I specialised in Philosophy and Psychology, searching for a more humanist and existentialist education, because I actually found Law to be a very elitist field, a science that is too tight, formal and rigid, insufficient to understand and transform human relations and social injustices in Brazil. Finally, in my MA — and now already preparing myself for the PhD —, I have been focusing on studying cinema, especially the representation of women and cinema made by women. Both in the academic field and in my professional cinematic practice, I realise my journey suggests a cropping that focus on gender. In this sense, I got to know feminism when I was still very young, and now I recognise that my artistic creations are deeply imbued by being a woman and by the understanding that I seek about gender issues. It is hard to talk about influences, because they are so many and so vast… Cinema is not a result of only what you see in the movies, it is also made mainly by our look and our political position in the world. I believe that there is also a strong imprint of literature in everything I do, because this a passion as strong as the one I have for cinema. That being said, before I point out my cinema references, I believe I have “Grande Sertão: Veredas”, by Guimarães Rosa, as my bedside book, that inspires all my pursuits and my discoveries. With this book in mind, I also highlight a “sertão cinema” (movies about the “backwoods” or ‘bush” in Braszil’s northeast), such as the movie “Vidas Secas”, by Nelson Pereira dos Santos and the cinema of Geraldo Sarno. Especially from Glauber Rocha and Cinema Novo on, there is this happy confluence of cinema with the Brazilian people. I could nominate dozens of filmmakers throughout Brazil, with some powerful and innovative films, but I will stick to the cinema made by some Minas Gerais filmmakers, region where I currently live. It is an independent cinema that points to latent political concerns, a production that was born in the peripheries (typically, poorer areas in every Brazilian city) and highlights racial, social and gender issues, such as André Novais, Gabriel Martins and Juliana Antunes’ work — for example, “Ela volta na quinta” and “Baronesa”. I also keep track of and identify with the production of Argentinian filmmaker Lucrécia Amaral and with Lucia Murat, Marília Rocha and Petra Costa, all Brazilians.

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers

A still(photo from by Fabiana Leite)


Women Cinemakers

(photo by Cardes Monção)


interview

Women Cinemakers In regard to my references throughout the world, in my pursuit for combining literature and cinema, I deeply relate to Marguerite Duras’ work. I first got to know her in literature, and then got in touch with her films. I believe the integrity that she grants to the literary text when it meets cinema to be peculiar and exceptional. And I hold Agnès Varda as one of the most important filmmakers of all times: the way in which she reveals herself in her own work, her ability to challenge the cinematic narrative in a surprisingly poetic and aesthetic fashion, her sensibility as a documentarist and the existential poetry that she lends to fiction. “La Pointe Courté” is a milestone for me. I am also touched by Naomi Kawase’s work, mainly because I like this kind of cinema that, besides documental, is also very autobiographical. I can also name, among the classics, the ones I never get tired of watching over and over again: Tarkovsky, Kieslowski, Bertolucci and Wim Wenders. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Lírios não nascem da lei, a captivating documentary film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful exploration of the issue of the imprisonment of women in Brazil is the way your sapient narrative provides the viewers with such an intense and struggling visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of Lírios não nascem da lei, could you tell us what did attract you to this particular issue? Two issues are key in my personal journey and my work: human freedom and the pursuit of gender emancipation. Before I started working as a filmmaker, I already worked with projects and social movements related to these two topics, and that led me to knowing the prison for pregnant women. Entering that prison immediately generated in me the latent need to expose those women’s reality, to contribute to break the walls of imprisonment and to break with the invisibility to which those women are doomed. Between the moment when I first had the desire to make the movie and the conditions for it to happen, ten years went by. What touched me most in that reality was, besides the specificities related to the gender issues and women’s imprisonment, the absurdity of keeping the children imprisoned too. There is a big grey area in this point, in which the government pushes beyond any boundaries that are considered plausible and, in its arbitrariness, acts in an immoral and illegitimate way by keeping the children imprisoned ever since they are born. This reality wounds every national and international law of human rights and is a situation that needs to be addressed, discussed,


(photo by Cardes Monção)


(photo by Cardes Monção)

overcome. Since my first time there, that image of the children in the sunbaths area was never washed from my eyes, and I felt the urge to make this reality reach people that will never have access to that reality, apart from through a film. This is the magic cinema is able to perform! Recently, we fortunately took an important step towards protecting these women’s and children’s rights, with the acceptance of a legal decision that allows pregnant women and mothers of children to serve their sentences in house arrest, and I found it surprising and most rewarding that this decision was made, coincidentally, when our movie started being exhibited. I hope this reality of the imprisonment of children is overcome definitively, not only in the Brazilian context relating to the prison system, but also relating to other human rights violations that happen all around the world. For example, to the immigrant families incarcerated in many economically developed countries. With unsparing realism, Lírios não nascem da lei is directed with spare eye and effective verité style: what were your aesthetic

decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Ever since the beginning, there was the desire to make a movie that would follow the journey of imprisoned women for a long time span. This is why this movie was made over a three year period, under the perspective of some women’s lives. I also knew that it would be difficult to access their intimacy and focus on the subjectivity, because prison is a space where any individuality tends to be suppressed. Therefore, I have opted for a more intimate style and it led me to opt for a small crew, formed by only four people who took part in the shootings: me, directing, photographer Cardes Monção, producer Daniela Pimentel and sound specialist Letícia Souza. Other professionals joined the team in post production: Daniel Carneiro editing, Flora Guerra as sound editor, Patrícia Rocha wrote the original soundtrack, Bruno Pacheco as colourist and Mirela Persichine as graphic artist. As for photography, I chose a small camera, that would cause less awkwardness and intimidation inside


(photo by Cardes Monção)

the prison, because in many moments there was a sense of unease having a camera inside a prison. In order to film the ordinary life there with the lowest interference level possible, we had to pay attention to these matters. We shot with a Canon 5D Mark III, with bright lenses, considering that we used only natural light. It is also important to emphasise that this is an independent movie, because we didn’t have any funding for the project, just a few financial supports. This was also decisive. If, on one hand, it did not stop us from making the film, on the other hand, we had some difficulties because of our limited resources. Unfortunately, filmmaking financing is still a problem in Brazil, because public resources end up concentrated in the hands of big producers. And it is also important to point that movies made by women receive an even smaller amount. In spite of all that, we pursued our purpose to make this movie and to keep our original idea, of accompanying these women for at least three years, because we would like to unravel the effects of imprisonment on their lives. This, from my point of view, is what makes this film sort of peculiar, because

we have not been there only for a few times making interviews. We have established a very close and continuous, affectionate and respectful relationship with the women who embraced this project. Another element that I consider relevant among the choices that I have made was my option to hear only imprisoned women. I even thought of also interviewing judges and government agents, but instead, intentionally, the movie puts itself on these women’s side. I believe that, in a sense, we have broken with the idea of the classic documentary film by becoming so close to the characters, running away from a more journalistic and teaching way, and going towards something more visceral, less rigid and with more space for enjoyment. For Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, “All women are put in the same category, whereas each man is an individual; the physiognomy of the former conforms to a general standard; that of the latter is unique for each case” (translated freely). With the movie, we wanted to break with this conception that uniforms women, mainly when they are inserted in social power spheres.


(photo by Cardes Monção)


Featuring sapient editing, Lírios não nascem da lei offers an extraordinary revealing look at the condition of women, exploring both the devastating aftermaths of the custody and their expectations, and we have particularly appreciated the way your narration pulls the spectators into a sustained and emotionally resonant dialectic with the stories that you shed light. How did you achevied such powerful outcome regarding your choices about editing? The editing had, indeed, a major role in this movie. We had to face some challenges. First of all, because we filmed more than a hundred hours in all the three years. Many women who had accepted to be part of the movie at first ended up being disconnected from the project for external reasons, such as having been transferred to another prison or even been granted freedom. So, we had interviews with a very expressive number of imprisoned women and we had to think the narrative in a way that would privilege the story of some women with whom we had a more long-lasting and powerful connection — this was a very difficult choice, because we left off some testimonies that we considered important. But we did not want a film that was only long-winded and formed of random testimonies. The idea of the film was that we and also the viewer could get to know the intimacy of some of those women. We wanted the viewer to be able to know them by name and follow their story. Our wish was not only to give a speech, but to access individualities. These discussions, made in editing, allowed the movie to show a growing and affectionate revelation of the characters. Therefore, during the editing, we also opted for calling the women by their real names, even before they were shown on screen. This decision was made so that we could oppose to the invisibility to which imprisoned women are sentenced, since in many prisons they are called by their numbers, and not by their names. This is a practice that tries to erase the incarcerated subjects’ individualities. We, on the other hand, tried not to focus on the crimes each that these women committed, because that is another moment in which society is very cruel. And the way the mass media act also contribute for the elimination of the individualities, prioritising the crimes. We have gathered the stories in blocks, which allowed a linear understanding about the characters’ life stories. But we left some of the revelations about each one of them to be brought only in the end of the film, which generates some expectation in the viewer.

interview

Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers

(photo by Cardes Monção) A still from


Women Cinemakers

(photo by Cardes Monção)


interview

Women Cinemakers Finally, another decision that we made in the editing process was to break with the division between field and out of the field parts. This happened because, after considerable reasoning, we chose to reveal the crew’s relationship, and my own, with the incarcerated women. So, in a way, I also expose myself as a character in the relationship I build with them. This was not a decision made beforehand, it only came up in the editing process. The affectionate relationship that the movie somehow reveals between the incarcerated women and the film crew was built throughout the years and led us to think we needed to share that. Therefore, we chose to emphasise this, and it is an element that innovates in form, because we deliberately broke with an alleged neutrality or objectivity in order to insert ourselves affectionately into the story itself. We have deeply appreciated your successful attempt to unravel the existence of about 700 pregnant women in prison: what do you hope to trigger in this situation, by making aware of this issue a wide audience? In particular, what could be in your opinion the role of a filmmaker in our unstable contemporary age? The situation of people deprived of liberty in Brazil is very worrying. We are the third country in the world in numbers of people sent to jail, with a current total of 750 thousand people imprisoned. With regard to women, there has been an alarming number of incarcerations in the last decade, due to involvement in drug trafficking. However, most of these women are in low positions in the traffic organisations and normally this involvement is due to socioeconomic factors, because they are the primary source of financial support for their families and also due to previous involvement of their partners in drug trafficking. In prison, women’s needs are left unmet and even more concerning are the rights violations committed by the government towards pregnant women, since the system is not prepared and does not try to address this feature. With the movie, we put this reality under the spotlight and, in a way, the movie may contribute to sensitise the society to the absurdity of imprisonment in Brazil and in the world. I believe cinema to be a tool that allows this kind of meetings and activates otherness. And, by accessing otherness, may each and every one of us start questioning the excesses of the government in its “power mechanics”, as referred to by Michel Faucault: “of a power that not only does not hesitate to force itself directly over the bodies, but that exalts itself and strengthens itself by its physical manifestations; of a power that asserts itself as an armed power, and whose order functions are not entirely disconnected to war functions; of a power that asserts the rules and obligations as personal bonds whose rupture constitutes an offence and demands revenge” (translated freely).


Women Cinemakers By filming prison, we have no intention of reproducing and revealing conditioned and martyrised bodies. On the contrary, we wanted to find and embrace the resistance that lives in each imprisoned woman. That is why, to a certain extent, the film also focus on the joy, the strength and the vivacity of each one of the characters, because in each one of them there is a unique journey that we tried to reveal. The risk was that we would use the same old formula of violence reproduction that the mass media many times use when they present people deprived of liberty, as if the crime had erased the person. We did not want a cold, mere sociological movie. We wanted to reveal the subjectivities of those women, challenging a disciplinary, patriarchal and sexist society that uses surveillance as its method to train and tame. With regard to what I understand to be the biggest challenge for contemporary cinema, I would highlight two features: the first one refers to the political commitment that I attribute to the cinematic experience. And here I will refer to Glauber Rocha one more time. For Glauber, cinema must revolutionise in form and content, and this is related to the need to break with a mere market perspective, or a formal perspective, especially when it comes to cinema made in third world countries: “The Latin hunger, then, is not only an alarming symptom: it is the nerve of its own society. There lives the tragic originality of Cinema Novo in front of the new world: our originality is our hunger, and our biggest misery is that this hunger, being sensed, is not understood� (translated freely). The second feature I would like to highlight, considering the challenges that contemporary cinema has to face, has to do with the identitary matters: race, ethnicities, gender and sexuality. I see cinema as a political tool and consequently it is necessary to think of the identities field, question and reconfigure the representations historically constituted by commercial cinema and even by classic cinema. In this sense, it is important to stress the importance and power of a decolonial cinema, nowadays present both in Latin America and in Africa, as well as in the growing production of queer works. With regard to gender issues, despite being a very old agenda in cinema, it is still pressing and still stirs controversy. But I will leave the gender issues for another topic. You balance social issues with the telling of compelling narrative, something not very easy to do: in your documentary you leave the floor to the people that you introduce to your spectatorship, to develope a bridge with the viewers' inner sphere and the stories of Ana Carolina, Liliane, Dayane and Marcela: do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?


(photo by CLetĂ­cia Souza)


A stillby from (photo CLetĂ­cia Souza)


Women Cinemakers I am convinced that my cinematography is deeply determined by my gender identity. All my movies are marked by this position, that is also political. In all of my movies, women are the main characters. Another feature that I started noticing deliberately and now try to change is having in my team at least 50% of women in key functions. This turn made all the difference so that we can alter the current conditions of woman participation in the film industry. Before “Lírios não nascem da lei”, I made my first movie financed by public funds which I got in a public notice, the medium-length film “A batalha das colheres”. We formed a crew made predominantly by women. It was hard to find al the members to the team and we had to take a chance on professionals who did not have any experience in the cinema industry, but this is exactly the point: if we want to change the reality, we must invest and make way for women, for black people, for the cinema made by indigenous people — for people who, historically, have been on the margin of the filmmaking world. I believe that in Lírios we managed to establish such a close relationship with the characters because we were three women and only one man in the shootings. There were some times when only the women got in for the shooting, which allowed an even closer relationship and openness to approach themes that they did not share when Cardes, who was the only man among us, was present. One example was when they talked about their sexual lives, when they were in the sunbathing area. That day, Cardes could not go to the prison with us and I still had not managed to approach this sexuality issue with them. So I took advantage of Cardes’ absence and got this openness on their part. They were comfortable to talk, tell stories, admit some of their desires. I took the camera in my hand side by side with them, sitting on the floor, and it was a very intimate talk, that certainly would not have happened with a man standing next to us, or with a big intimidating camera. And also on Ana Carolina’s delivery scene, it was me who took over photography and Cardes stayed outside, in the corridor of the hospital. We like the way you created entire scenarious out of psychologically charged moments and we daresay that Lírios não nascem da lei could be considered an allegory of human condition: how does daily life's experience fuel your creative process to address your choices regarding the stories you tell in your films? Besides filmmaker, I am also an activist for human rights in two areas. Currently, I am one of the consultants for the United Nations Development Program (UNPD). This work allows me to get to know in depth the Brazilian prison system, and what we seek is to sensitise and train public administrators and the justice system of the country about the urge to impose alternative sanctions, in conformity with the Tokio Rules — United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures, established by the UN in 1990.


Women Cinemakers I also act as a feminist in an institution representing civil society which specialises in gender issues, Albam Institute. In this institution, I work assisting women and men who are victims of domestic violence, trying to hold aggressive men accountable for their actions in order to break the violence circle. It is a work I believe in and where I can see effective results. Besides, from a very young age I have been part of social movements. In Brazil, we are currently living a moment of setbacks in terms of social rights won over the last few decades. It is a country that still has one of the biggest income concentrations in the world, where injustices, social inequality and privileges are still the rule. My cinematographic production carries this social reality, which is something that penetrates me and everything I do. Your documentary has been presented and screened in several occasions, including the 2017 edition of Forumdoc: how much importance has for you the feedback that you receive in the festival circuit? And how do you feel previewing a film before an audience? For people who make independent movies, like me, the festivals are the effective means of broadcasting the film and it also allows a relationship to be established with the public. Brazilian filmmaking lacks a policy of distribution of the national material. The cinemas in Brazil are closed to the national production, broadcasting mainly Hollywood movies. Therefore, the festivals are the space we have, and it is always very rewarding when a movie you made is chosen by any festival anywhere in the world. “Lírios não nascem da lei” was selected by ten festivals around the world, in only six months after release, and won a prize for best documentary, and I am happy about this result. I have been present in some of the screenings of Lírios in festivals and I specifically highlight ForumDoc and the Mostra Feminista de Cinema de Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte’s feminist films festival), because the sessions were full and, unfortunately, many people went to their homes without being able to watch it. The talks these screenings generate are very special, because the public is formed by people who love cinema or who are touched by the discussions that every movie provokes. But I also like to make my films available in alternative spaces, such as cineclubs in the periphery and public schools (which, in Brazil, are mostly for poor kids), because we also need to democratise access, promote the

circulation of movies with focus on social and political issues in territories that lack access to productions committed to these themes. We have appreciated both the originality and the sociopolitical engagement of your approach, so before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. Do you think it is harder for women artists to have their projects green lit today? What's your view on the future of women in cinema? Since cinema reproduces values culturally instituted, cinematographic works have the power to preserve or may intend to destabilise the instituted cultural systems. Based on this interpretation, some films — a minority of them, but especially recent productions made by women — question it and seek to deconstruct practices of naturalisation of the differences that are historically reproduced in cinema. We must consider that the film is a product of technical and aesthetic choices that present a determined social reality and it is important to understand and know the languages and possibilities of narrative construction to denaturalise beliefs that are deeply rooted in the cinematic language as a mere representation of reality. This understanding thrives on the maturity of a feminist critic of cinema, which then questions the way in which the image of women is presented in the movies. These studies watch the films from a different point of view, especially based on analisis of the mechanisms and processes elaborated within the cinematic text, which construct the woman and femininity based on rigid standards, which are preset by hegemonic speeches that naturalise oppressions culturally established. For Ann Kaplan (1995), prominent theorist who addressed the issue of feminine representation in the movies, the cinematic narrative is conditioned to a dominating Hollywood standard, determined by a patriarchal unconscious, that come true in the movies by means of a masculine speech and language. Based on a psychoanalytical analysis of cinema, this author defends that women are not presented as signifier and signified (the real woman). In the movies, these elements of reality are suppressed in order to make space to a sign that is present in the male unconscious. The standards set as the kinds of characters represented by women in the movies generally present negative stereotypes that make women look


(photo by CLetĂ­cia Souza)


(photo by CLetĂ­cia Souza)


Women Cinemakers childish, evil or make them into exuberant sexual objects, acting as a voyeur, fetishist and narcissist based on a strictly male view of women. In these stereotypes, the woman is always reduced to two basic standards: the idealisation of a superior moral embodied in characters of the virgin, selfless mothers or spiritual beings or, on the other end, they stage a morally reprehensible class, embodied in the so called “slut”, in the “happy bachelorette”, in the “butch” or the “witch”.

that are shown, recreating the most common fates presented to the characters that embody the sign of feminine in the film industry, seeking to place the work based on the cultural, social and political contexts, especially connecting it with the existing historic movements that fight to put an end to gender oppression. Cinema can definitely contribute to denaturalise representations that portray symbolic violences related to sex-gendersexuality features.

What is important to notice is that the male look produced by cinema is not restricted to the look of men revealed by the images. It also and especially has the role of sedimenting the masculinisation of the public. For Kaplan, the production of a feminist art must allow the understanding of how women are formed in culture by means of social practices, and this production must come true by means of an aesthetic planned to revolutionise women’s production as a product.

The low turnout of women in key positions of movie productions makes it more difficult to break with the visual standards of hegemonic cinema, which reassure and perpetuate

Despite an important growth of women’s presence in the film industry, this participation is still considered incipient when compared to men’s participation. In 2006, women represented 15% among directors, executive producers, producers, screenwriters, photographers and editors in the EUA cinema industry. And 22% of the productions in the same year did not employ any woman as director, executive producer, producer, screenwriter, photographer or editor. None of the movies made in the same year lacked a man in at least one of these positions. With regard to Brazil, an analysis of all the production made between the years of 1961 and 2010 present a low participation of women in key positions. Between 1961 and 1970, less then 1% of the production was directed by women, and between 2001 and 2010 this participation was increased to 15%. On the other hand, the research held by Paula Alves (ALVES, 2015) about women’s participation in filmmaking highlights that movies directed by women have a biggest participation of women as main characters and approach expressively more feminist themes. In her work, this researcher considers as feminine themed movies those that are about issues such as violence against women, women sexuality, pregnancy, abortion, sexual exploitation, women insertion in the labour market, in politics, engagement in social struggles, biographies of feminine personalities. Between 1990 and 2000, while women directed around 27% and 21% of all the movies dedicated to these issues, men directed around 4% and 8%. We must question the narratives in terms of the place granted to feminine characters and in terms of the many manifestations and relations of gender and sexuality, trying to think about the possibility of the restatement of the identities, subjectivities and performances written in the cinematic works

gender inequality. The increasing turnout of women in the filmmaking industry is not a “natural” movement. On the contrary, it is fruition of an engagement of women, who started, by means of an ongoing process of resistance, to gain spaces and build their insertion in every field of the filmmaking industry. May we keep on this track! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Fabiana. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am currently working on two cinematic projects. I was part of the coordination of a project to make a fiction movie in a quilombo (community of descendants of people who have been enslaved, back in the 19th century). This movie is directed by Gabriel Martins and is about the history of struggle and resistance of a black community, whose ancestors were enslaved, and had people from the community playing the roles. Besides that, the project for another feature length documentary was approved. This one I am making with my friend Caio Resente, who is also a filmmaker. This one is based on the life and work of filmmaker Geraldo Sarno. Being allowed to make this immersion into one of the greatest Brazilian documentarists is a gift to me. I have other scripts that I have already written, but I am waiting for opportunities of funding in order to produce them. My biggest dream is to make my first fiction feature film, “Onde mora a liberdade?” (Where does freedom live?), which is based on a true story about the compulsory imprisonment of women in mental hospitals in the 1970s, in Brazil. The moment to make this one is yet to come! My email: fabianalleite@gmail.com My site: http://cargocollective.com/bialile


Women Cinemakers meets

Csilla Klenyanszki Lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Performative interactions can be seen as personal research for balance. A constant attraction to physical and mental tension characterizes her work. The projects play with the borders of nonsense; something that looks foolish at first, always finds it right place at the end. The nature of the work is highly playful and experimental, but the approach is rather analytic. Her current practice focuses on gender, the human-object relation and time. Her artistic method balances between installation- and a simplified version of performance art, in combination with photography and video.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Csilla and welcome to

:

we would invite our readers to visit in order to get a wider idea about your artistic production and we would like to start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a BA of Photography, that you received from the Willem de Kooning

Academy in Rotterdam: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist? And how does your cultural substratum due to your previous studies in Dutch Language and Literature & Communication Science direct the trajectory of your artistic research? I moved to the Netherlands because of my Dutch Language & Literature studies, which I was doing in Budapest, Hungary. I wanted to prove my Dutch language skills, so I was baby-sitting for a while. After that I applied for the art academy in Rotterdam, got in and stayed in the country since then.


Since I have studied photography in the Rotterdam, my way of working is more Dutch than Hungarian, as my whole photographic background is based in the Netherlands. For this special edition of we have selected , a captivating documentary film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/yrvH9c9BU0g. We have been impressed with the way you explored the mother-shaped blindspot within the art world: would you walk our readers through the genesis of ? How did you develop the initial idea? The idea of this project came from my own experiences, which were based on the first year of motherhood, the social and the daycare situation in the Netherlands & my particular situation as an emigrant artist, without a family network. The inspiration for this project came from a “self-directed, open-source artist in residency”, called ARIM. An Artist in Residency in Motherhood (http://www.artistresidencyinmotherhood.com/) was founded by Lenka Clyton and wants to “empower and inspire artists who are also mothers”. I’ve worked on a series, called “Pillars of home” during ARIM. The trial Residency was supported from Stipendium Program for Emerging Artist, awarded by the Mondriaan Foundation, based in the Netherlands. The Residency had invited 3 emerging women artists to work in the studio

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Women Cinemakers when their child were between 3 months to 2 years old. The Residency was designed around the childcare policies of the Netherlands: 3 months is the given maternity leave and 2 years is the minimum age, when children are provided with 2 days a week subsidized daycare. This “in between� period is crucial for an artist-parent: through the strict schedule and the constant attention which a baby requires, critical practice becomes limited. Mothers in Arts and the trial residency - which is shown in the documentary - was created with the hope that it could help artists to combine their artistic practice with early parenthood. Through the project I wanted to put forward a discussion about a problem that affects many emerging artist women when they become parents; Even though, many artists have children, parenthood remains stigmatized in the art world. Therefore, besides the physical and mental challenges of childbearing - which are consuming enough - an added feeling of isolation can be felt by many mothers. This situation isn’t exclusive for artists of course, it is a common dilemma for most working mothers. After becoming a parent maintaining a professional life becomes difficult. Mothers in Arts is geared to mother artists and by drawing attention to this hidden segment of the art world I wish to stimulate mothers in general. By showing and promoting their existence, I hope that the professional and also the general public realizes and


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confirms their importance as a matter of public health. Featuring vibrant and unsparing realism, is edited with spare eye and effective veritĂŠ style: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting and editing your film? Was it important for you to make a personal film or did

you aim at leaving floor to the protagonists of your documentary? The documentary was co-produced with Lonely Filmhttp://www.lonelyfilm.nl/ - and was directed by Csaba Bogadi. As Csabi remembers “At the early stage of the preparation for the documentary Csilla and I were


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considering of making an irregular documentary: Like having a constant crying baby voice in the background, film it from the perspective of a baby. So that we can lead the viewer to the feeling that when you have your first child you really don't have time/energy to focus on anything else than to be with him or her. Even though it could have been an

interesting experimental film at the moment I started to visit and shoot the daily life of the 4 young mother and artist the atmosphere of the residency mesmerized me. It is almost a cliche but the film grew together with the residency and with the children. Every time I visited there was a progress, one child started to walk or one mother created a new art piece


Women Cinemakers and so on. I really appreciated that Csilla let me to do what I think is the best for the film. This freedom helped me to stay almost invisible during the shooting days and in the end it created the verite style of the film.”

Shortly I had to realize that this was impossible - due to the reasons mentioned above. In the stage of early parenthood my only time for work was during my son’s naptime (which was at the time around 30min to max an hour)

For me it was important to make a film that shows our daily lives during the residency. The goal was to create a short documentary that can be inspirational and a tool for artists.

I felt isolated, stuck within my artistic career and wanted to move forward. I started to do a research in a hope of finding solutions, such as grants, residencies designed for parents etc.

At the end the documentary is completed with some documentation of the final exhibition - Re:Production of the trial residency and can be seen at http://reproduction.mothersinarts.com/#/intro

I was sad to learn that basically there are no artist in residencies designed for artists who are also parents. At the meantime I’ve also found ARiM which was a great help - even if it was the fact that I have noticed that I am not the only one in this situation. After the launch of Mothers in Arts I got a huge amount of emails of and a lot of applications - even without advertising it anywhere - so it was obvious that there is a neccesity for this.

Recent researches has shown that while most of MFA graduates are women, only thirty per cent of artists represented by galleries are female: how does your everyday life's experience as a woman in a globalized still patriarchal society fuel your creative process to address your choices regarding the themes you explore? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? To be honest I have started to deal with the topic only after the birth of my son and even in the beginning of my motherhood I wanted to separate my work from my private life.

During the residency I have learnt a lot about the position of women-artists and the way they get to experience an almost perfect storm of factors working against them from all angles. Everything from the to the and the trickle down nature of artist's pay in the industry, to name a few, which I am trying to integrate into my wider work in an abstract way. For me it is still important, that my work can be enjoyable without a strong feministic context as in that


Women Cinemakers way I can reach a wider audience and can start a discourse without them even realising it. Basically inviting the naive viewer into something, that she/he might not expect at first view. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that " ": as a researcher particularly interested in social sciences, what could be in your opinion the role of artists in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Domesticity has been a subject of visual arts through history. With the second-wave feminism it became a tool of protest, when artists used it to “ Great examples for this were the Womanhouse created by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro in 1972 or the Maintenance Work by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, which began with her “Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969!�. Even though, there has been a lot of achievements in gender equality in the western society since the late 60s the combination of domestic life with a successful career remains challenging for most women. According to the Centraal Bureau voor Statistiek, in the Netherlands 1 out of 3 women works less or stops completely after the birth of their first child. The same


Women Cinemakers report says that a quarter of all Dutch mothers doesn’t work at all, despite the Netherlands being positioned as one of the most gender-equality progressive nations in the world. These numbers reveal a co-relation between motherhood and unemployment. In other words, many women have to forcibly choose between raising their kids and having a professional career. The high cost of childcare is one of the biggest factors for this phenomena, as for a lot of women it is actually cheaper to stay at home than to work and have to pay the day care. This is specially a problem for artists, whose low income and status are international issues. According to the Sociaal-Economische Raad, artists based in the Netherlands barely make their living and have to cut their costs by for example not having essential insurances or a retirement plan. Having a child within the circumstances can be extremely difficult, so it’s no wonder why so many artists are postponing parenthood or decide on not having children at all. As an emerging artist I have faced many challenges when becoming a mother. I have tried to work around these challenges through my projects. Later I realised that it is important to integrate domesticity into my work - instead of trying to avoid it - as for me it is very similar to an art practice. Both of them require huge commitment. Both of them are undervalued economically, while both of them are extremely important for the future of our society.


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Being statistically a case of all the social groups mentioned above (woman + mother + artist) and basically at the bottom of the chain of all these systems gives me hope that by focusing on domesticity I can bring forward a discussion about the other issues as well. Your work as an artist combines experimentation to analytic approach: how has becoming a mother influenced your art practice, in relation to content and the pragmatics of being an artist? In the summer of 2015 - after the birth of my son - an unexpected phase took place in the development of my career. During that first year of parenthood - when I felt my identity dramatically changing - I found it hard to find a balance between my previous and new personas. Without access to affordable child care, and in the particular case of a migrant artist like myself, without the support of a family network, the only studio time I had was during my son’s naps, which I used as a time-frame for “Pillars of home�.


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Even though my studio time declined, the importance of my practice became stronger; I’ve challenged myself during these 30-minutes breaks as much as possible to create a new body of work in a domestic environment as I had to give up my studio. As a result of my experiences during this the first year of motherhood, the social and the daycare situation in the Netherlands and my particular situation as an immigrant artist, I founded the Mothers in Arts Residency in 2016. During the Residency - besides leading the project itself - I continued developing exercises that tested both my mental and physical capabilities in a constant quest to find harmony. In that particular case, the project dealt with the passage of time in a more direct way and as a subjective experience; This work called “to make time� was based on 12 physically and mentally challenging - one hour - performances which captured my struggle with time while mechanically making it. The physical body - the right leg used as the minute arm, and the left leg as the hour arm of a clock - showed the


Women Cinemakers passage of time, transforming with every minute into a new posture. 720 different positions building up the 12 hour clock, creating infinite time. I felt I was literally racing against my own biological clock; as a performer I needed to be relatively young and in good physical shape to fullfill the choreography. Although my work up to the point when I became a parent didn’t deal with social issues, the feeling that being a mother somehow could mean drifting away from the art world made the subject too important to ignore. We have been impressed with your stunning approach to documentary, as well as your sapient use of editing techniques, that allow you to captures hidden emotional reactions with sharp eye and at the same time with thoughtful detachment: what was the most challenging thing about making this film and what did you learn from this experience? According to Csabi, the director, It was an eye opener experience to see all the sacrifices a young woman has to do as a mother to provide to her child and still trying to create time for herself as an artist. The residency was also the first time for most of the children to spend time without their mom which was not an easy process from neither side. In order to capture this experience Lonely film tried to create a feeling during the shooting as if there was no camera


Women Cinemakers present and just being an observer who is interested in the project. Someone who is almost accidentally there. We know each other for longer so we discussed a lot what are the main goals of the residency and why the documentary is important to be made. For Csabi the most challenging part was -just like in real life- to find the balance between the amount of time the artists spent with their child and the time they spent with their work together: work. To make it visible that combining motherhood with an artistic practice is possible. Marina Abramovic once remarked the importance of not just making work but ensuring that it’s seen in the right place by the right people at the right time: how is in your opinion online technopshere affecting the consumption of art by the audience? Do you think that today is easier to speak to a particular niche of viewers or that online technology will allow artist to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? I think it is an advantage that a wider audience can see the work. For example anyone can watch Mothers in Arts Documentary, regardless of their geographical location and can be inspired by these women. On the other hand the pressure is also much higher as the consumption of artworks are becoming much shorter and faster. You constantly have to produce new


Women Cinemakers works to stay in the game and that’s something new to deal with. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I feel that arts in general has its own problems: artists are underpaid - regardless gender - and something radical has to happen to change that. However it is again a topic that a lot of people try to hide as they are ashamed of it. No one talks about all the part time jobs artists have to have to pay their bills - if you are lucky, you can teach - . I am not so positive about the artworld, even though I love to make work and I have a lot of artists friends, but there are some basic problems with the system itself.

On the other hand, there is definitely a change. From the “me too� movement to equal gendar payment


Women Cinemakers low in Iceland. It is an important time to speak up, because people are listening so there can be a change. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Csilla. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am trying to publish Pillars of home as a book, so I am currently working on that and I am still trying to make a second edition of Mothers in Arts, so fingers crossed, that that will happen. Until the new edition, Mothers in . Mothers in Arts is providing a free Arts is an experimental model that can be applied by anyone regardless of geographical location. Mothers in Arts would like to encourage everyone to support similar initiatives in their area, and even better, to start their own. Regarding to Lonely Film, Csaba is currently researching and preparing a film which is about the two reality we are living in the XXI. Century: the offline and online reality of our lives. Csaba mixes classical film making with AR so the viewer of the film can use his/her smartphone to see what the protagonist was posting on his social media account about the situation which happened on the big screen. He already made a short film within the topic, and wants to make a feature out of it. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Avatâra Ayuso Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

I was trained as a ballet dancer (ten years at the dance conservatoire of Majorca). I studied Hispanic Philology and Linguistics in Madrid (I Ioved it). I had a tumour in my left leg that forced me to abandon pointe shoes work (classical ballet, then, could not be a dance career for me). I discovered Argentinean tango and contemporary dance and I found myself in them. At some point in my life, I encountered fantastic choreographers that encouraged me to explore my choreographic skills. Until that point I did not know how one could become a choreographer. They, especially William Forsythe and Shobana Jeyasingh, taught how to develop an analytical eye, to understand composition in space, in time, to develop a visual imaginary on stage to communicate with the audience. In 2009 I encountered The European Centre for the Arts Hellerau in Dresden, a place that became an artistic paradise for me, where I could experiment, try new ideas, be brave, fail. They made me Associate Artist and since then Dresden has become another home for me. First home is Majorca, second London, third Dresden, fourth Morocco…I am a citizen of the world. And it all started thanks to my parents. The travelling experiences they offered me since I was a child changed my life and taught me several lessons: 1) you are privileged because you happened to be born in a specific country of the so called “first world”, but we all deserve to be treated well and respected as human beings; 2) women are a driving force all over the world, all my admiration to them; 3) it is good to rest and not to dance from time to time; 4) the big question after every trip: how am I going to share those visual/personal experiences when I’m back home, how to integrate them on my artistic practice? (I cannot take the Sahara on stage!) I found the answer to this last question: bring your people to these landscapes so they can see it with their own eyes; and, if choreography is not the medium for you to express these feelings find another way: film. This is how the film direction came to my life: I had the need to share something extraordinary and a traditional dance production on stage was not suitable for me. One never knows what life can leads us to… An interview by Francis L. Quettier

inviting them to visit

and Dora S. Tennant

http://www.avadancecompany.com in order to

womencinemaker@berlin.com

get a wider idea about your artistic production

Hello Avatâra and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers by

and to start this interview we would ask you a couple of questions regarding your background.


You have a solid formal training both in Ballet and in Linguistics and after having moved to London you nurtured your education with a Certificate in Higher Education at London Contemporary Dance School: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, does your cultural background due to your Spanish roots inform the way you relate yourself to art making in general? My passion for studying started at a very young age. I wanted to get deep into any issue, problem, idea I was confronting myself with. Studying Ballet for 10 years in Majorca and then Linguistics at University in Madrid gave me the tools to research, to pay attention to detail, to learn from experts in the field, to ask questions and to not be afraid of expressing my thoughts. This is part of who I am, and I believe it can certainly be seen and experienced by my collaborators in my creative process. My cultural background affects who I am as a person, and somehow this influences who I am as an artist, but I’m very reluctant to say that being Spanish makes me the artist I am. Any contemporary artist looks for her/his own voice, and the experiences one has is what defines one’s artistic process and choices, at least in my case. I am Spanish, but I have worked in Germany and the UK for long time, and in the last years more in Africa and Asia…My cultural background is just one of those layers you can see in my artistic practice. In my daily life, yes, I am very Spanish: I love my food, my

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Women Cinemakers people, our landscapes, our traditions…but I also have a strong ability to adapt to many other cultural contexts, that I admire as well. Do you think that there is any central idea or interest that connects all of your work as an artist? It changed over the years. At the beginning of my career I was more focused on structure. Nowadays I’m very interested in empowering female roles on stage and film. In any case what connects all my work is the research I undertake for each project I embark myself in. Every work I do is an “excuse” to learn more about a specific subject, to dig deeper into the unknown and to overcome clichés and prejudices. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting documentary that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/113658116. What has at once captured our attention of your films the way you have been capable of creating a combination between senses of intimacy and isolation, with such coherent unity, providing the viewers with such a captivating visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us how did you developed the initial idea? I have always been fascinated by life in extreme landscapes. My parents often took me to remote places to discover how other cultures express themselves, how other people survive


and inhabit the land they live in. Some of the most striking and shocking memories I have come from these trips to Morocco, Mali, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Egypt. The beauty, immensity and ruggedness of those landscapes made me aware of something very special: the determination and endless strength that women need to have in order to survive there. The women I have met on my travels have significant family responsibilities, they are subject to great social pressure, and they are the ones that have to fight

every single day to make their voice heard. I realised that they were and they are the forgotten characters in their own lives. I always wanted to share my admiration for their strength with those around me. In 2015 I decided there was no reason to delay this wish any longer. Observing and experiencing it myself was not enough, and I could not bring those landscapes on stage! Film was the medium to use. I decided to develop a short film trilogy of Women and Extreme landscapes: ThreeWomenThreeFilms


(www.threewomenthreefilms.com). I AM RAJA was the very first one I knew I wanted to make, as it is the landscape I know the most. I got in touch with Braunarts, a BAFTA award-winning digital arts production company based in the UK and I proposed them the trilogy project. They really liked it and have helped me to bring my ideas to life. I’m very proud of the team we all make Including Elena Nebreda and Estela Merlos.

We have appreciated your attention for the details and the way your stimulating provide the viewers with such captivating : at the same time we have been enchanted by your stunning landscape cinematography: how did you selected the locations? In particular, do you think that could be considered also condition?

of human


Since I’m 8 years old I have been travelling frequently to the Sahara desert with my parents (especially the Moroccan Sahara). It became part of my life. I also love photography, so during many years it had been the protagonist of my photography. When I decided to shoot I AM RAJA, I knew exactly the places I wanted to work on, they had been there for years! I just had to choose among all the possibilities, cut down to those relevant for the story of the film. I have also known Raja (this is the original name of the girl) since she was born. I always say every person should experience two things at least once in their lives: diving and visiting the Sahara. Both of those experiences make you understand better our human condition. They are landscapes that help us reflect about our own existence, stimulating all our senses, allowing us to reconnect with our inner self. The Sahara is vast, distant, frightening, yes, but if one relaxes into it, it can become home too. features essential and elegantly structured composition: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? I wanted to capture the importance of the landscape as a protagonist on its own. Raja is there to interact with it, and her journey depends on the architecture that the landscape imposes on her. At the same time, I wanted to show that the Berbers know very well the land they inhabit, they know how to survive there, they are not

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Women Cinemakers afraid of it: the Sahara and its people are very strongly connected. Of course the landscape is immense, so I decided that by concentrating in small details I could bring both characters (the Sahara and Raja) closer to each other. Zooming in and out (something I cannot do when I choreograph a dance production on stage!), was a way to develop the narrative of the film. We used small cameras and lenses that could resist the extreme weather conditions: the sand storms, the heat, the very cold temperatures at dawn, the rain, etc. Our choices had to take all this into consideration. Filming in the Sahara was tough. You can actually see it in the making of we produced (https://vimeo.com/210583169) In your documentary you leave the floor to Raja, finding a simple still effective way to walk the viewers to develope a bridge between their own inner sphere and her epiphanic journey in such a desolate land. Could you tell us what did attract you to this particular story? And what are you hoping your film will trigger in the audience? As I mentioned above, women and girls are a very important work force in underdeveloped countries, where most of the time water is the main need. It is their responsibility to find it, you see women in search for water at early ages, being pregnant, carrying their children, being older, it doesn’t matter where they are in their lives, they have to do it: it is a matter of survival. I AM RAJA celebrates the extraordinary determination of those women, through the eyes of a Bereber teenager, Raja.


I hope the film empowers somehow the audience by appreciating the resilience one has to developed when living in these landscapes. Our daily lives can be difficult, but we can manage if we persist and let our imagination be free. Raja is a character embodying many real girls, but her determination makes her a remarkable heroine. We all can be heroes of our lives on our own way. Another interesting works that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled an interesting video that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/79149906: ambitiously constructed and marked out seductive beauty on the visual aspect, this work seems to reflect German photographer Andreas Gursky's quote " While marked out with such a seductive beauty regarding the visual aspect, it also provokes the viewers' imagination: rather than attempting to establish any , you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate : would you tell us how much important is for you that the the concepts you convey in spectatorship your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? I love this quote. The “what’s behind something� is probably what all artist is looking for. In this sense it is essential for me that the audience rethinks what I propose. Our experiences make us be who we are and

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Women Cinemakers read the world in a very specific and personal way. Whenever I share I work with the audience, I’m hoping they can make it theirs, by identifying themselves with it, adding meanings or even questioning it! It is fascinating to see how a work of art gets enriched during the communication process. I don’t believe in univocal interpretations; the audience has a big part in the reading of a work, because Art for me is a way to start conversations about the world we live in. If the audience wants to talk to me, there I am, looking forward to hearing their experiences on what I have shared with honesty and humbleness. Their personal meanings are most welcome. Escaping from traditional storytelling features brilliant narrative that highlights the interaction between Human and its surroundings as well as the references to Japanese culture imagery: how did you structured the editing of this artwork in order to achieve such powerful results? This editing process was very particular, and quite dependent on what had been the shooting process. While filming in Tokyo (at 45 degrees!) the cameraman (and also editor) did not speak any English, and I did not speak any Japanese, but somehow the body language and drawings allowed us to communicate, despite of having quite a few misunderstanding that lead things in a different direction (I learnt to let those diversions happen with the years‌). This meant that a


fragmented aesthetic was already emerging while filming. The interesting part came during the editing process: me in the UK, him in Japan. My strategy to communicate: Google translator! It became my best friend during the editing. He sent me a rough cut and I would send him back my comments (in Japanese). He would reply in Japanese with another cut and I would translate his Japanese comments into English. It took us 6-7 weeks to reach the final version! I let the fragments be part of the “story�, choosing those that were more evocative for me, those that brought me back to my experience of working with Japanese artists, choosing those visual fragments that made me travel in time and space. Although often marked with essential quality, sound plays a relevant role in your work: while in it evokes a sense of intimacy, in it creates enigmatic atmosphere: how did you choose the audio commentaries for your videos? And how would you consider ? The process for both was very different. For I AM RAJA, I worked with the sound designer Gabi Braun. During the shooting process we recorded a big variety of sounds (landscape, voices, Raja talking, traditional music), developing a collage. As we were editing the film, Gabi and I were having conversations on what was Raja listening to in her head: was she

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Women Cinemakers dreaming? was she thinking of a particular moment in her life? was she listening to the natural sounds? Little by little the pieces came together. For TOKYO TOKYO I waited to the end to decide the soundtrack. Once I found the visuals, the rhythm of the composition, I spent lots of time listening to different music that could complement the visuals. I finally found a piece by Thierry de Mey (I know him and had worked with his music before). I thought there was a perfect match for the film. Enigmatic, suggestive, unpredictable. It's important to mention that you have also founded your with the aim of developing company relationships with artists from different cultures and disciplines including architecture, poetry, visual arts and costume design. Undoubtedly, collaborations between creative minds from different disciplines are the growing force in our everchanging contemporary art scene: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your company? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? I created my company to avoid working in isolation. Over the years I have met fantastic artists and I wanted to be with, learn from them. Letting other voices in my creative process is very important to me. Of course, I have the ultimate responsibility for the work, but I always promote collaboration during the creative process. I cannot assume I have all the answers, and neither all the knowledge of other disciplines. Having other artists around


(from dancers to dramaturgs, architects, poets, lighting designers, etc.) enrich every aspect of the work, bringing different perspectives that I would have not considered on my own. There are so many artists I want to collaborate with that I’m not sure I have enough years in my life to achieve so! You are an established artist and over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions, so before leaving this interesting conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Discouragement is what kills creativity. I have been very lucky in my life to have parents that never discouraged me to try my ideas, to speak up or even disagree with them. Having this freedom made stronger in my professional dance life, because I’m not afraid of jumping into the unknown, even if it might seem like a “crazy” project. I trust myself, and I know the motivation I have will help me to find solutions if things don’t go as expected. If girls are encouraged to believe in themselves as much as boys, the new generations will feel empowered. Society, families, friends, we all need to create the opportunities for talent to

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Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers


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emerge, for the young to find their strong passion and motivation. Things are changing in some parts of the world, and awareness is the first stage towards real change. We need to remember that women are half of the world population and hear their artistic voices will enrich our lives too. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Avatâra. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I’m actually working on my next dance production a choreography between an Inuk woman in her 60s from Nunavut (the Canadian Arctic) and myself, a Mediterranean Spanish woman in her 30s. It will be a cultural exchange where our traditions and our present come together. I visited the Arctic in April to inform the research for this piece but also to look for locations to film the second work of the Three Women Three Films trilogy. We found fantastic landscapes, as astonishing as the dunes in the Sahara. Now I just need to find the financial support to make it happen! I can’t wait to keep on working with artists from different cultures around the world. My work will certainly continue in this direction. Once you experience one of these cultural encounters, there is no way back! An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Catriona Anne Blackburn Lives and works in Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom

With an anthropological and visual anthropological educational background Catriona Blackburn works with interdisciplinary academics to create insightful visual essays and verite style ethnographic film. A year on from graduating in anthropology, Catriona is currently working on various film and research projects generally surrounding themes of embodiment and academia. Catriona’s work is evocative with emotion and empathy at it’s core. Cooking Ghosts is her first film which was first produced while studying at undergraduate level. Using themes of death, suicide, childhood innocence and intersubjectivity, Cooking Ghosts explores the life of Kristin and her experience of losing her mother Jean, to suicide.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Brilliantly constructed and elegantly photographed, Cooking Ghosts is an emotionally gripping ethnographic documentary film by British researcher and filmmaker Catriona Blackburn: through sapient storytelling and editing, her film walks the viewers to explore the epiphanic journey of Kristin, who used performance art to deal with her grief. Using visual anthropology theory, this captivating film walks the viewers to inquire into the themes of death, suicide, intersubjectivity and childhood innocence, offering a multilayered experience: we are

particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Blackburn's stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Catriona and welcome to : before starting to elaborate about your film we would ask you a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a filmmaker? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your studies in Anthropology direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Thank you, it is a pleasure to speak to you.


I have felt very much lost throughout my life, I grew up in the middle of the Lake District countryside with my father who was a single parent and artist. I was very influenced by his artwork and process and I loved to paint, draw, and now, make prints for my own personal pleasure. He was inspired by nature and pagan philosophy, we tied clootie rags on a huge yew tree nearby at solstice and asked Mother Nature before picking flowers in the woods. While my father was happy to live in the countryside my mother had travelled and lived all over the world. I was always interested by symbolism, religious belief and mythology and understood that these things were culturally specific. I knew there was something I needed to know more about but I just didn’t know what and how that would look. With encouragement from my mother I went on to pursue my studies, eventually studying in anthropology at 25; months later I would become a single parent, only finishing my studies in 2017 at 31 and with a nearly 5 year old. It was only in my final year of anthropology that I discovered and was educated in visual anthropology theory and practise. I felt I had finally found my niche, a combination of academic discovery and visual creative outlet. I am particularly excited by anthropological studies of death, grief, afterlife, theological imagination and religious influence. I feel that communication can be all that more effective while using the through the lens. I also whole body and projecting a see visual anthropology as the renegade of academia, expressing complicated concepts which may be exclusively understood within a specific discipline to the general public or for interdisciplinary research. we have For this special edition of selected , a stimulating ethnographic

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Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


Women Cinemakers


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Women Cinemakers documentary film that our readers can view at : what has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into the relationship between the theme of death and childhood innocence is the way your research eschews any nostalgic or conventional direction, favoring documentary style to provide the viewers with a sensitive yet realist portrait of Kristin's artistic journey. When walking our readers through the genesis of , would you tell us what did direct you to explore these themes? This was my first film and originally a project for my studies in visual anthropology. After graduating I re-edited the film to lengthen and make more available to the festival circuit. This was intentionally ethnographic and therefore influenced by cinema verite, habituating the camera, and very much influenced by Walter Murch’s call for empathy and emotion to be the main communicator when editing. I felt juxtaposition uplifted the upsetting themes somewhat, and that this reflected how I see Kristin’s personality and her attitude toward her experiences. She is an inspiring woman and has used her experiences to feed her creativity and her sense of life. I know her well and when viewing the generously donated footage of her as a child I saw those tell tale expressions and mannerisms that her mother had handed down, to Kristin, to her sisters and, in person, Kristin to her daughter. I wanted to show what I saw and juxtaposing throughout was how I could show the joy I saw. Kristin has a way of looking at her daughter, at her father, with such love. When I saw this in her mother’s eyes within the historic footage I knew what I needed to express through editing. Featuring such stimulating enriched with delicate and emotional references to Kristin's memories,


balances captivating storytelling and refined editing: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, how did you structure the editing process in order to achieve such brilliant results on the narrative aspect?

frame my aesthetic story. We always ‘go back to the garden’, this felt like the happier place to be, historical and present, this was where we see laughter and beauty, this is what I wanted to communicate and this was the basis of my narrative.

Cooking Ghosts was the name of the piece of theatre that Kristin had written about her mother and her childhood which can be seen referenced to and shown within my film of the same name. The footage of Kristin, her mother and her twin sisters where almost always in the garden or outside. I used the garden and the light, the greenery to

In your documentary you leave the floor to the figure of Kristin, finding an effective way to walk the viewers to develop between their own inner sphere and her epiphanic artistic journey: what are you hoping your film will trigger in the audience?


I try to create space to listen within the film and when interviewing, I also used the close relationship that Kristin and I shared to see more of her vulnerability, the camera became very habituated and some of the most intimate footage is that of Kristin thinking out-loud, in front of the camera, rather than to me specifically. Once Kristin had told me she felt she hadn’t really dealt with her mother’s death, even after writing and performing a theatre piece about it, I knew that this film would only be hers. I wanted Kristin to take president, and so I tried to just

listen. It was not my film anymore, I was just the storyteller. I can only express my story, which was purely observation, and do my best to document Kristin’s story. I cannot hope for a specific reaction from any audience, only hope for some pang of empathy or understanding to be felt. All I hope for, for any of my films, is emotion to be felt. We have been impressed with your stunning approach to documentary, that allows you to


captures hidden emotional reactions with sharp eye and at the same time with thoughtful detachment: what was the most challenging thing about making this film and what did you learn from this experience? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? The practicalities of film making where some of the most challenging parts of making this film, this was my first film with borrowed equipment and I had to learn everything I needed to, . I feel that within the process of making this film I learnt to listen to a further degree. I have always felt I am a good listener and that generally most people feel they can share intimate insights with me, but filming gives a greater opportunity to develop silent communication and further listening skills. To convey understanding and non judgement through body language alone as to keep the footage focussed on Kristin and what she had to say. I was not prepared, however, for the emotional journey that I was to go on while editing this film. As a mother myself I not only had a deep empathy for my friend as she is in the present but for the 16 year old child she was when she lost her mother. As a woman specifically I have never really thought about if that means that I have some special value for that reason specifically, I would say I may highlight other women’s experiences mindfully due to the understanding that women may be overlooked in certain circumstances. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under": as a researcher particularly

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interested in social sciences, what could be in your opinion the role of filmmakers in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? The very basis of visual anthropological theory is that of reflextivity and self reflection. Embedded in modern anthropological theory is an understanding that one must acknowledge and potentially address one’s own cultural influence. I feel that particularly my anthropological understanding helps me detach a little more and yet I am simultaneously aware of the huge influence my cultural upbringing has on my work and perspective. I have to agree with this statement yet being aware, honest and reflextive in the moment may not only address any influence the filmmaker has over the subject but the political discourse one may be otherwise blind to. We daresay that could be considered an allegory of human experience and of our relationship with grief: how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process and address your choices regarding the themes you explore? I feel extremely humbled by this description of my film and also blessed that even one person may see this within it. I am particularly interested in anthropological themes which could be considered universal. Death and grief being something that makes us human and something that every single human being will likely deal with. Within anthropological theory death is not the end at all but a transcendence into another form, whether that is memory, ancestory, the spirit world, when someone dies in the


biological sense they live on in theological imagination, whatever than may be perceived as. Suicide is a particular type of dying and a particular type of grieving, I feel it is something so difficult that it is rarely honestly spoken about. My everyday experiences certainly fuel my choices, empathy and emotion being the most important to me creative process. I want to tell stories of humanity, and what is more human than feeling? has been recently selected as a semi finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest: how much importance has for you the feedback that you receive in the festival circuit? And how do you feel previewing a film before an audience? I feel extremely vulnerable previewing any footage before an audience. Editing for me, is like any art work, I can spread my message on the canvas, I have hoped to be subtle and seed my message within implication or symbolism and yet, with film, every individual perception at any one time is unique. This vulnerability has made me strong in other ways and exploring and encouraging feedback has only ever been helpful for me, if I don’t agree this strengthens my artistic vision, if I do agree this gives me a different perspective to work with, either way feedback gives an opportunity for growth and strength in humility. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional filmmaker? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field?

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Women Cinemakers My personal experience has been positive, what I have found is that women support other women. The women I have had the pleasure of working with are enthused and excited by cutting edge and progressive ideas, whether that is in teaching, filmmaking or research methods. I see humour, creativity and beauty being in the future of contemporary art, or art that may creative political and cultural change. I feel that places of inspiration and non-judgement create change and I see this in more and more creative outlets, using a place of love and empathy to influence change. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Catriona. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am currently working with The Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and Dr. Jennifer Leigh, Nicole Brown and Phaedra Petsilas. Inspired by Dr. Leigh’s past work on teaching in higher education with embodied practice our current project focusses on teaching tools of self reflection through embodied practice. I find the people I have worked with within the past year have taught me exciting concepts I did not know I was passionate about, my focus during the last year has had an underlying theme of exploring and reading the lived embodied person through film. With whatever I choose to do in the future I want to bring the body back into the forefront. Rather than just words, I want to see the expression and movements of people as a whole person. I feel that communication is beyond spoken words and I hope that my films will communicate the feelings, the personhood, behind the words. Aesthetically I feel there is


Women Cinemakers meets

Anna Patton Melanie Brown Olivia Munoru 2012 saw women’s boxing reach new heights, with its inclusion in the Olympics for the first time ever - and subsequently, a sudden rise in popular appeal. Lesser known are the fights outside of the ring that have led to this tipping point. For decades, the pioneers of women’s boxing have faced a barrage of societal, legal and media prejudice. Some still carry the bruises. Have things really changed? Influential figures in the media and the boxing world still argue that the age-old art of pugilism is not for women, and some believe those choosing it are deviant or "unladylike". More girls and women are joining the sport than ever before. Is society ready for so many unladylike sportswomen?

An interview by Francis Quettier and Dora Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Hello Anna, Melanie and Olivia, and welcome to

: we would like to start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influenced the trajectory of your


Women Cinemakers filmmaking? Moreover, could you tell us your biggest influences and how did they affect you current practice? All three of us had previously worked in international development and community work, something that probably made us very aware of exclusion and inequalities, and the fact that some people never get the chance to have their voice heard. Two of us are journalists, so there’s a strong motivation to tell untold stories and to find the individual experiences that help illustrate the broader issue. we

For this special edition of have selected

, a captivating documentary film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be . What

viewed at

has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into is the way your brilliant storytelling provides the viewers with with such . While walking our readers through the genesis of


Women Cinemakers , would you tell us how did you come up to explore this theme? The three of us first met in early 2013 and very quickly decided to make a film together. We discussed several ideas, and women’s boxing came out as the strongest: it was timely (given the recent Olympic Games, when women boxers could compete for the first time) and one where we already had some access and insight (Olivia was an amateur boxer; Melanie had done some kickboxing and had made a short film about female boxers in Afghanistan). We initially saw ‘Unladylike’ as a short film of about 1015 minutes, but the more people we spoke to, the more fascinated we became. For example, we discovered Barbara Buttrick - who started boxing in England in the late 1940s - was now in her 80s and living in Miami, so we found a crew based there to interview her. We got to know the Scottish girls, and also one of England’s few professional female boxers, and felt their frustration was a big part of the story. So the film became a much bigger project. Featuring vibrant and unsparing realism, is directed with spare eye and effective what were your

:

when shooting?


Women Cinemakers

In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? We made the film on an very tight budget, so we had to make do with what we already had! Between us we had one Canon 5D, plus another SLR for additional shots. These gave us opportunities for nice depth of field but also pushed us to get up close to our interviewees. Two of us have also done quite a bit of photography, which maybe influenced the way we framed our shots. The film was never very scripted or staged. We arranged to meet people in their homes or gyms, or at competitions, and filmed as events unfolded in whatever space we found ourselves in. We wanted to take our viewers to places they wouldn’t otherwise see, and to bring them on the same journey of discovery that we experienced. How did you research the theme of women's boxing? Was it important for you to make a film or did you aim at leaving floor to the protagonists of your documentary?


Women Cinemakers

The film wasn’t really personal - it was about giving a voice to some of these inspiring, often angry or frustrated women, and showing the huge range of personalities, ages and backgrounds that choose to box. It’s so much more diverse than most outsiders would assume. And their stories were so strong that our own involvement was not necessary or relevant. One of the best bits of feedback we got was from one of the Team Great Britain boxers we had interviewed, who said ‘Unladylike’ “perfectly captured” the fight for female boxing, and that watching it had inspired her to carry on pushing for equality. That was fantastic for us to hear. We have deeply appreciated the way your work explores the that still affect our male-oriented age: what do you hope your documentary will trigger in the viewers? In particular, what could be in your opinion

in our

unstable contemporary age? Firstly, we hoped the film would open up a world that most people don’t know much about. Unless


Women Cinemakers

you follow the sport, you’re pretty unlikely to have come across a women’s boxing match. It is still a very patriarchal sport and exploring women’s involvement was a way of framing the ongoing challenges that women face in the fight for equality in many sports, and in other aspects of life. We wanted people - even if they didn’t agree with boxing (for men or for women) - to see the dedication, skill and grit of these amazing girls and women. And we wanted to show the ongoing injustice they face, but also the surprising allies many have found along the way: some of their biggest champions today were actually former critics of women’s boxing. We also had a strong sense of recording an important historical shift. Women who wanted to box just a few decades ago were openly mocked and criticised in the national media. It was pioneers like Barbara Butrick and Jane Couch who stood up to those dismissive voices and paved the way for future generations to pursue boxing. We have been impressed with your stunning approach to documentary, as well as your sapient use of editing techniques, that allow


A still from


Women Cinemakers

you to captures hidden emotional reactions with and at the same time with thoughtful detachment: what was the most challenging thing about making this film and what did you learn from this experience? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? Completing a film on virtually zero budget and alongside full-time jobs was probably the most challenging aspect! The whole process took us about two and a half years. Technically, one of the big challenges was finding a structure that worked. Our interviews raised so many topics - family support, media coverage, the role of coaches, the law, the impact of the Olympics, the difficulty of turning professional‌. Figuring out a narrative structure for all this and making tough decisions about what to cut was head-melting, but a real learning process. At one point we had a sheets of paper all over the floor with hundreds of post-its to help us sort through the themes and figure out a story arc.


Being a team of three women enabled us to connect

stereotypes and before leaving this conversation

naturally and easily with the film’s female

we want to catch this occasion to ask you to

contributors. At times during interviews it felt like we were a group of friends sitting around and chatting, which allowed the characters to forget the cameras and go deeper in sharing their stories.

express your view on the future of women in filmmaking. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are

We daresay that

could be considered

an effective allegory of

: how

does your everyday life's experience as a woman fuel your

signs that something is changing: what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Do you think that it is still

creative process to address your choices

harder for women artists to have their projects

regarding the themes you explore?

green lit today?

That definitely plays a role! We all feel angry about unfairness - and perhaps even more so, frustrated when people say that sexism is not a problem, or that it doesn’t exist. We really wanted people to see for themselves that

There’s no doubt that women have some catching up to do in the industry (as in many others). It is changing slowly, though. When we looked at festivals we did see quite a few opportunities for

it does still happen and that it really affects people’s

films made by women or about women’s rights, so

lives. Hearing some people’s reactions to the film

there’s definitely some effort being made.

confirmed that this had indeed opened their eyes to ongoing inequality.

An interview by Francis Quettier and Dora Tennant

We have deeply appreciated the way your inquiry into gender issues deviates from usual

womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Emilia Moniszko Lives and works in the United Kingdom

With eight years of experience in the creative industries, my work compromises elements of video making, graphic design and illustration for both not-for-profit and the commercial sectors. As part of my arts practice, I develop and curate art programmes, exhibitions and events both locally and internationally. My work has been featured in magazines, social media platforms, newspapers and tv. I use my experience and knowledge as an artist and digital content creator to teach arts, digital marketing and audience development.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com Hello Emilia and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BA in Fine Art at Coventry University, you nurtured your education with a MA in Arts, Enterprise and Development, that you received from the University of Warwick: how did these experiences inform your artistic evolution? Could you tell us what are your most important influences and how did they affect your art practice?

Studying at an art school gave me a great base for experimentation and a strong network of like-minded individuals whom I still often work with today. These further studies have definitely equipped me with the research skills and knowledge of understanding the position of visual arts within the wider, social and cultural sphere of the creative industry, public policy and social development. I guess that I have always been interested in using art as a form of social activism and a tool for development. I think that the practical approach to research that was present at Warwick, enabled to me further my practice as an artist and develop it in such a way that I was able to collaborate with communities and artists with a greater focus on social and cultural development, rather than creation of art for art’s sake. Additionally, after finishing my course at Warwick I had


Emilia Moniszko (photo by Timothy James Pratt)


Women Cinemakers the great privilege of staying on to teach at Warwick and work with students on innovative projects and isolated interventions aimed at developing the local cultural sector and its communities. You are an eclectic artist and your practice ranges from video art and film to paintings, digital illustrations and graphics, revealing the ability of crossing from a media to another: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit http://moniszko.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: would you tell us what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approach? How do you select a medium and an art discipline in order to explore a particular theme? When I was in my early teens I was convinced that I was a painter and will always remain dedicated to this medium. As soon as I got introduced to mixed media and digital modules in my high school art class I knew that my means of expression go beyond paints and canvases. Throughout high school I experimented with digital photography and video, when I went to university, I was introduced to performance practice, spoken word and sound art. It felt so exciting and fresh that I felt compelled and almost obligated to start experimenting. Personally, venturing among different mediums as well as using different materials is an urge for me. I can never stay still and get distracted very easily; I am like a child that needs to find new toys to play with. However, that’s not to say that I am not a painter because I still paint and draw, personally I don’t find it necessary


Women Cinemakers for artists to identify themselves with one discipline or one medium, I just think that this approach is slightly obsolete and doesn’t reflect the current day. In terms of themes, I often find that one research and development (R&D) period leads to another and so on, everything is somehow interconnected. For me, the process of discovery and learning is sometimes more important than the final outcome. German art critic and historian Michael Fried once stated that ' .' What were the properties that you were searching for in the materials that you include your artworks? Materials and their properties are crucial components of ‘making’ whether it is physical, three-dimensional work, performance or digital production. When working with a large range of mediums the properties of the material need to match the context and the purpose of intended work. When working on a particular concept or a theme I am most interested in materials that will execute my vision in a manner that is as raw as possible. I think it is all about being truthful to the material, whether it is using them for what they are or utilizing them to develop or portray a particular idea. We often personify materials with their characteristics, if materials were just what they are, doesn’t that mean that we would strip them of their characters? For this special edition of

we have


Women Cinemakers

selected , a captivating documentary film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry is the way your into sapient narrative provides the viewers with with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our of , would readers through you tell what did fascinate you of the figure of Pawel Hajncel? I first came across Hajncel’s work when I saw a report with him on national TV. The report was about his butterfly piece, a performance in which he dressed up as a butterfly and ‘flew’ around whilst a Catholic religious ceremony was ‘hijacking’ the public space. It was an extremely valuable performance, reflecting on the importance and purpose of public spaces and social duties that artists often commit to in their work. You see, Hajncel is acting against the current problem that Poland is facing, the continually growing notion of the Catholic Church merging with the right wing party, and the consequences are very obscure and oppressive – i.e. the most recent changes to women’s reproductive rights or new controlled media policy, even the EU is getting tired of Polish government’s unreasonable actions. But going back to the original question - If you stripped Hajncel down contextually, you would see a philosopher and a social worker and that’s why I immediately fell in love with his work and essentially his character. A few years after seeing this very TV report, I met artist Anna Katarzyna Domejko, who moved to Birmingham from

Łód , it turned out that Anna collaborated with Paweł before moving to the UK. Anna introduced me to Hajncel, after which, I invited him to undertake an artist residency for From East to West with Love which I curated. When Pawel stayed with us in Coventry, he gifted us with many interesting and compelling stories about the challenges he faces as an artist working with public


interventions, the current socio-political tensions that are present in Poland. In other words, I saw Hajncel as a mirror of powerful, Polish contemporary art that is fighting the oppression of the church and the state. I knew that such a wealth of experience is almost universal to the current political tension that is present in Europe, and I knew that more people need to hear his stories. Thus ‘The Visitor’ was born.

The theme of immigration is central in your artistic inquiry: what did address you to this particular aspect of our unstable contemporary age? Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? When I first came to the UK I was only a child, and I didn’t fit to any social circles. At school, I got teased by my peers for being Polish - as if it was something wrong or a


variable that I could change. For years I tried to ignore my background in conversations and I often introduced

Poland becoming part of the EU, which came with great media propaganda against migration.

myself as Emily rather than Emilia, just to avoid unnecessary and often difficult conversations about ‘home’ and the reasons we moved here. I also think it’s worth mentioning that it was during the time when the UK experienced a great influx of Polish migrants upon

Artists have a long history of rebellion against the state and I often feel like this is our duty, to challenge the status quo. For a long time I avoided making politically influenced art, however the recent events related to the refugee crisis, Brexit and the general increase of the far


Women Cinemakers

However, I would rather not call myself an immigrant, expat or a resident, as these are strictly political terms that refer to one’s ‘status’ and categorises them without any further cultural acknowledgment and analysis. Being Polish and growing up in the UK where the socio-political climate has always been somewhat unstable has definitely had an impact on the direction of my arts practice. If anything, I and many other people who I went to school with are nothing but children of immigrants, but again, that signifies strong political undertones. The concept of ‘national identity’ is still very new to me, it is something that I have never experienced and I don’t think I want to. This idea of ‘national this’ and ‘national that’ appears to create more problems than to achieve anything positive, I think we as humans have pushed the notion of nationalism to an extreme a long time ago and we don’t know how to escape it.

right movement around Europe, brought me back to these years where I tried to ‘fit in’ right after coming to the UK or somehow build a new national identity and I think it was a natural progression for me to explore these topics though my practice.

I adapted a new term to describe my sense of belonging while Theresa May contradicted the notion of many people feeling like ‘citizens of the world’ with her with ‘citizens of nowhere’ speech; I dare to say that I am nothing but a mongrel. And with the current cultural shift, I feel like more and more people are cultural mongrels; a friend of mine, songwriter Ian Todd, is currently creating an album which tackles these very issues as well. This was completely outside of my knowledge until very recently so I am now seeing evidence of other mongrels speaking out which is fantastic.

The concept of immigration, ‘national identity’ and ‘belonging’ is now central to my work.

You know, mongrels tend to be healthier and live longer, so I guess I’ll be fine.


Women Cinemakers

Moreover, how would you describe the influence of the relationship between your cultural substratum due to your Polish roots and your current life in the United Kingdom on your general vision on art? I know Polish art and culture mainly through books, television and film, and I absolutely adore the novelty of Polish Pop culture. Particularly the culture from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, as it takes me to the nostalgic memory of ‘home’ and child-like naivety, before my mother and I fled the country in pursuit of a better, more stable life. However, I have never fully indulged in Polish art, particularly contemporary art, from an adult point of view. I am very aware of Polish art with a British slant which is often demonstrated through works of my fellow migrant colleagues. I can assure you that this art is often brutally honest. In terms of my general vision on art, I think that working within a multicultural setting is nothing but a bonus. Having worked with people from around the world, it exposes to different narratives, manners and attitudes where very often your opinions are challenged which make you step out of your comfort zone. We have highly appreciated the way accomplishes the difficult task of acting as a vehicle for dialogue, in order to break through the skepticism following the political decline of ‘ ': how much important is it for you to trigger the viewer's cultural parameters? What do

you hope your spectatorship will take away from your work? As I neither grew up in Poland or experienced the most recent changes of attitudes towards migrants and refugees that are currently on the rise, I am still somewhat able to connect with it, not only through the prism of media but also through the current situation in the UK,


where many Brits share very similar attitudes towards migrants. Making ‘The Visitor’ made me realize that these two countries aren’t too dissimilar; in fact, I think that the whole of Europe is experiencing this critical cultural collapse in one way or another. Ultimately, through my work, I want nothing more but to open this dialogue, and ask delicate questions,

questions that often too many of us want to avoid, ignore or pretend they don’t exist. is a part of the , which is happening in June over two days as a part of the transient performance, and we would invite our readers to visit : this project is


the result of an ongoing collaboration with British artist Rob Hamp and it's no doubt that collaborations are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project: can you talk about your creative collaboration with Rob and how it has evolved over the time?

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My collaboration with Rob started very organically, I think that what got us working together was the shared anger and disappointment surrounding the cultural and political disorder that kept on growing around us. I think it is very natural for artists to respond to issues that are affecting them personally, and that’s what we did. We decided to embrace this, the socio-cultural tension of contemporary Europe and the understanding surrounding the concept of


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backgrounds and a hugely different portfolio of experiences, I think that what we are doing is repurposing our practices and cultural backgrounds as a mechanism for this collaborative artistic programming. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, in your current work you are mocking the current socio-economic system, by offering a platform for individuals to create their own Utopia. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "

". Not to mention that almost everything, could be considered , do you think that your work could be considered in a certain sense? Moreover, what could be in your in our opinion contemporary age?

belonging’ and ‘national identity’ through a curatorial programme of events and public interventions which resulted in us creating From East to West with Love. Our main intention is not to create a long-lasting physical piece of work but to instigate, often difficult dialogue between local and frequently divided European communities. As we both have completely different

Avoiding politics is indeed a political act in itself. I think what I am trying to achieve in my work is to challenge the framework and bend its boundaries, whether these are political, cultural or social. Just as I previously mentioned, I feel that we as artists, film-makers or [generally speaking] creators, have a duty to question and challenge the things that we disagree with or think that could be improved. Visual communication underpinned with a strong contextual delivery is a very powerful tool or some could even dare to say a weapon. I think now, more than ever before, makers and creators have a very responsible role which allows


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them to fight the social and political injustice. We have a voice; we just need to find the right way to channel it. It's important to mention that you were the Creative Project Leader on the MA course at Warwick University (Art, Enterprise and Development) where you teach about the importance and impact of the creative industry and the roles of arts practices within local and global development. Moreover, you use social platforms in order to produce the work and engage with international audience: Marina Abramovic once remarked the importance of not just making work but ensuring that it’s seen in the right place by the right people at the right time: how is in your opinion online technopshere affecting by the audience? Do you think to a particular niche that today is easier of viewers or that online technology will allow artist to extend to a broader number of viewers the interest towards a particular theme? I think social media is a very crucial component of developing an audience for a creative practice whether it is film-making, sculpting, painting or writing. Social media gives us an ability to connect with people and situations like never before. It was only thanks to the social media that I have been able to screen ‘The Visitor’ in Charlotte, US at the Queen City Cinephiles event and talk to my audiences there, who also experience a very similar cultural and social stretch but

on the other side of the globe. Combining arts and the ability of the reach that can be achieved through social media can lead to very powerful actions, actions that weren’t possible 15 years ago. I also think that it is extremely important for artists to tap into the right online circles not only for the self-indulged gratification but also to become a part of a wider


community or even start creating one. This is one of the reasons why my upcoming project ‘The Van Trip’ is going to mainly rely on the engagement through social media which we use to distribute information about the project, and also use live streaming during the very act of this intervention in order to allow the audiences to simultaneously be part of this experience.

Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on in the contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something ' ', however in the last decades women are finding their voices in art: how would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional


artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? I think that the future of female voices in arts is very bright, women have definitely started getting acknowledged for their professional work and are taken more seriously, but there is still plenty of work that needs doing. I definitely think that we need to enforce this

global cultural shift and allow more space for female influencers to inspire the next generation of artists and film-makers. In my opinion, a great part of this future lies in the hands of art curators, cultural programmers, commissioners, cultural policy makers and educators. Those who are in the position of programming and stirring culture are in a very unique position to ensure that the opportunities regarding work placements are


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I would like to invite everyone to join us for the Van Trip! As previously mentioned, my newest intervention created as part of the From East to West with Love programme, ‘The Van Trip’ will happen in June this year. In this outreaching, transient performance, we will witness artists undertake the transportation of one tonne of grit salt and bread on a builders open-top vehicle from Coventry, to a Łód (PL) based art gallery, where the local residents will welcome their ‘gift’ and together with FETWWL artists will off-load the salt and bread into the gallery space. This action plays a partial homage to a reversed version of the Polish tradition of ‘bread and salt’ which symbolises generosity and hospitality within Central and Eastern Europe. This happening seeks to highlight that people’s separation with each other may be through speech but not language, FETWWL uses intervention as a language and intangible heritage as a means of communication. For the duration of this 2106 mile-round journey, Rob 21st

adequate to the century understanding of gender, gender roles and their equal representation within the industry.

Hamp (driver & ‘constructor’) will play host to a film-

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Emilia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

the global audience through our social media channels.

maker who will document and live-feed the voyage to

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant

Thank you, it has been my pleasure!

womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Natacha April Souyris Lives and works in Oslo, Norway

Elegantly constructed and marked out with gorgeous cinematography, is a captivating documentary film by Natacha April Souyris. Inquiring into the struggle of the french talented dancer Jennifer D. Houthmann to go beyond the boundaries of her practice, this captivating film offers to the viewers an emotionally charged visual experience, supported by poetic narrative: is a moving tribute to all people who introduce an element of change in their lives and we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Souyris' artistic production.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Natacha and welcome to : we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions regarding your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your artistic evolution? Moreover, do you think that there is any central idea or interest that connects all of your work as a filmmaker? Moving from south to north to south and north again, and redefining my identity and finding safety again. Longing to belong and then realizing it was more about finding confidence in my self,

and leting go of unnecessery doubt. Questions like wether I was strange, different, if people could see that I sometimes felt like a guest made me search and analyze who I was for a while. These questions eventually faded a little realizing that maybe I would´t find an answer, at least one that would´t change. We are what we are, and in an increasingly globalized, and complex world maybe we have to redefine our notion of identity to not feel lost in the middle of everything. The contract between my dad and my mum, realizing how good dance was for me, all the stories my grand mother has told me since i was little, my little brothers struggle and strength to become what he wants, my mothers positiveness, insecurity and happy go Lucky way of


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Women Cinemakers living are things that color me. Feeling transparent and really lonely in Buenos Aires at 21, derring to love when it is difficult, studying physical teatre in copenhaguen for a year, has gradually forced me to read, respect and trust my own feelings, and consequently maybe unraveled my creative voice a little. For this special edition of we have selected , an extremely interesting short video documentary that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can . be viewed at What has at once captured our attention of your clear approach to narrative is the way its allegorical qualities provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience. While walking our readers through the genesis of , could you tell us what did attract you to this particular story? It began with my own existential questions, I was between 23, 24 years old and felt a little lost, i did t really found the motivation to dive into a year of exam film making, i felt alone and overwhelmed by the idea of it. So in retrospect I think i desperately seaked something that would keep me interested enough to keep going. I though of what interested me: memories, dance,


what lies within us, freedom and the lack of it, and how the position of our body in space can define our perception of our own lives. I had meet Jennifer one year before while portraying the dance company she worked for Carte Blanche. She made an impression on me, maybe because I could recognize something from myself in her. Also I wanted to make something that I found beautiful, and intimate. So this particular story was in some way gathering many good elements to make a film, movement, both physical and emotional, the language of my childhood, and a young woman trying to improve her relationship to herself and the life to come by taking responsibility derring to make changes. It also allowed me to get closer to fictional methods. (trance scene, and the use of sound trough the film). features gorgeous Brilliantly shot, cinematography and keen eye for details: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Thank you very much, I think a lot of it could have been better, but that s the thing about documentary i guess. You have to embrace the unperfections, and learn by doing, shaping narratives trough the sum of the process. We shoot diving upstream with a Black magic camera mainly, and with‌.for the pictures of her final show. I though of Veronicas dobbel life from Kieslovski, and AmÊlie Poulain, as well as Black Swan.

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Featuring brilliant storytelling, escapes the boundaries of narrative, to inquire into an ever shifting internal struggle: would you tell how did you develope the structure of your film? The structure was established gradually, I just knew that i wanted to illustrate her journey as close as possible to how i perceived it through observing J and talking to her. And to make it a little easier to understand I found it logic to follow the narrative that was there: the making of a choreography. After a while it became clear that her travel to the work-shop in France was a key experience for her and that it then should be used as a turning point in the narrative. A lot was build while editing, with some distance. In your film you leave the floor to the figure of Jennifer, finding an effective way to walk the between their own viewers to develope inner sphere and her struggling with the feeling of being unhappy: what are you hoping your film will trigger in the audience? I'm very pleased by this question! It was exactly what I wished for. I hoped that Jennifer would be like a mirror for the audience, mirroring different stories. I wanted the audience to bend over them selves for a moment. Take the time to reflect about what may have an impact on us individually, and which relationship we have to ourselves. Sometimes it can be scary to look inward, and


Women Cinemakers oddly specially when we could need to stop and think a little. I also think that our society moves forward quite fast, or that s the effect medias can have on me at least. When so much is projected in front of my eyes I get a tendency to get anxious to ÂŤfall of the trainÂť and thinking gets in the way of doing. But actually I believe that we have more then enough time and it motivates to even better. to We have deeply appreciated your approach to narrative and the way you have balanced analytical research of your characters and the emotional aspect of the storytelling: what was your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal? In particular, do you like spontaneity or do you prefer to meticolously schedule every details of your shooting process? No rehearsal. Only time, honest discussions, and intuition. I think we were quite spontaneous while shooting, but that the research and editing process were meticulous. I was confident about the fact that I would be able to tell something about a young woman relationship to herself by filming Jennifer because I felt that I understood a lot of her thoughts and struggles, and because I in some ways recognized aspects of me in her, but i also knew that the way to tell it would be shaped trough the process of observing her in particular, and that it was the only way to make this little story real.


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Women Cinemakers We have been enchanted by your elegantly detached inquiry into Jennifer's genuine passion for dance and her search for doing something else: do you think that it could be considered also a metaphor of human condition? Absolutely. This is not about dance saving her. It is about daring to take the time to do something that brings you back to yourself, or that creates a feeling of a meaningful existence. A path I think gets blurred for all of us from time to time. Sounds play a crucial aspect in the balance of the and we have really narrative of appreciated its emotionally capturing tapestry of sound and images: how do you consider the relationship between sound and the flow of images in your practice as a filmmaker? I think it is underestimated. But really important! Sometimes I think that sound plants seeds in our unconscious. It is not a language that is as obvious as images, but maybe even more powerful because of that. We react on it intuitively, sometimes without even noticing how sound can affect us. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there


Women Cinemakers are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema? It is going to be really exiting following the evolution of which kind of stories that will be told, and even more how they will be told. I wonder how it s going to affect society, and what we will discover has been laying underneath the surface. Balance is healthy anyway. Speak low boys and girls. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Natacha. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? In the future I would be very happy if I could tell something about human relationships. Now I will soon start at the new international master in Film at Akademin Valand in Gøteborg (Sweden) to work with the following project: HIDINADREAM. Since spring 2017, while studying physical theatre in Copenhagen where the aim was to learn how to make character-driven film, I have written a of 40 pages. HIDINADREAM. It is inside the construction of a human being this story is taking place. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Cassie De Colling Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia

Cassie De Colling is an award winning Australian director with a knack for high impact visual storytelling. She works around the world on projects spanning across documentary, advertising and VR. Her work is brave and real.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

is a captivating documentary by Australian director Cassie De Colling: featuring stunning cinematography and keen eye to details, this film offers an emotionally charged visual experience, walking the viewers to remind of the beauty of our oceans: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to De Colling's captivating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Cassie and welcome to : we would like to invite to our readers to visit http://www.cassiedecolling.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production

and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Your career began in filming extreme snowboarding and skiing, revealing your passion for the outdoors and wildlife: are there any experiences that did particularly influenced the trajectory of your filmmaking? Moreover, how does your direct your artistic research? Hi, Thanks for inviting me to have this conversation. Yes, my background started through my passion for adventure and combining this with filmmaking has always been part of my career trajectory. When I was in film school I worked as a camera assistant to a wildlife / underwater


cinematographer. This heavily shaped my early career years, given the nature of the small crews I often shot second camera, did sound, and time-lapses. We worked on programs for the BBC Natural World series in the southern hemisphere and during this time I was learning from the directors and how they navigated shaping the story from ‘what they were able to get’ given the nature of wildlife. And then watching them work their way backwards to craft the story. This is so different to the world of narrative. Elements of this approach still stay with me in my commercial work. Whilst I was assisting and finding my feet as a filmmaker. I went to Kashmir to make a film about a charity group that I had heard of, the group were helping train young Kashmiri people to become snowboard guides. When we arrived in Kashmir we couldn’t get in touch with the charity for weeks, there was no one on the ground that knew about it that could help. So in that time after spending months of organising and arranging sponsorship deals I knew I couldn’t return back to Australia empty handed. We persisted in filming and trying to find a story, which eventuated into me meeting a local villager Raja Khan. Raja introduced me to his son a young Kashmiri boy who was chasing his dreams to become a professional snowboarder and his sister Benazir who was 6 at the time and Kashmiri first female snowboarder. We

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Women Cinemakers started filming them, I took and a return trip the following year I crafted both a long film called ‘Beneath the Boarder’ and the short ‘Gulmarg - Paradise on Earth’. Making these films allowed me to blend my love for the outdoors and backcountry snowboarding and learn about a culture that I knew very little about. Being immersed in an environment with the people and personalities is crucial to my process. My approach is to spend time with my characters beyond the realism of a pre-prepared interview and shot-list. Whether it be climbing a mountain, going fishing or just getting milk from the shop its nice to share an experience with whom you are working with if possible. Of- course this isn’t always possible, but when I can I make a conscious effort to instigate ‘going an doing something’ well before the filming commences. Beneath the boarder -

Gulmarg Paradise on Earth -

For this special edition of we have selected , a captivating documentary film about world champion freediver Ai Futaki, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful inquiry into


is the way your brilliant storytelling provides the viewers with with such . While walking our readers through of , would you tell us how did you come up to explore this story? ‘Ai’s Journey’ actually came about off the back of a commercial I was making for The Great Escape boutique travel cruise company in Western

Australia. Initially I was commissioned to make a content commercial for their tour to Rowley Shoals, an isolated pristine reef 300KM west off Western Australia. It’s an incredible location. I had pitched that they fly Ai out from Japan for the job and instead of the commercial being focussed on the cruise that we’d made it about Ai Futaki and her perspective of the place. When we were shooting in those beautiful


surroundings it was impossible for us not to continually generate ideas around shots and scenarios beyond the brief. The feeling I wanted to create with Ai’s Journey was to take people on a esoterica visual experience that would immerse viewers in the mediative state of free-diving. Ai and I worked on the script together to blend a narrative that would give audiences a genuine perspective of the experience and the beauty below the surface.

Elegantly shot, features gorgeous cinematography and keen eye to details: what were your when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens? Our equipment was quite modest, we filmed the topside on a combination of a Sony PMW - FS5 with Canon L series zooms and a DJI Phantom 4 Drone. It was the first time I used the Sony Fs5


and I really enjoyed its form factor, it’s light and the pictures were consistent and held the hard light on the ocean exceptionally well. For the underwater we shot with a Sony A7S in a Nauticam Housing. Ai Futaki is a master of underwater cinematography, as she can hold her breath for such a long time she is extremely elegant in the water this allows her to get right up and close with the animals. I shot the underwater hero shots of Ai whilst being on scuba. This collaboration allowed us to both capture her in her element as well her intuitive perspective up close to fish and sharks without disturbing them. In essence is one of the beautiful things about free diving comparative to scuba diving where you are attached to cumbersome equipment which can scare sea life away. What was the most challenging thing about making this film? What did you learn from this experience? The biggest challenge with making this film was standing my ground as an artist and what I wanted to create. When I was constructing the edit I was showing my friends and peers the film. A lot of their feedback was about wanting me to elaborate on who Ai Futaki was, like a bio-pic. And yes Ai Futaki is the main character but the film isn’t about her, we are not investigating her personality and

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deconstructing her life instead we are using her wisdom as a mentor to take us on an incredible free-diving experience. In essence I wanted my viewers to feel compelled by a world beautifully observed wrapped an organically form of story. I stood my ground and continued with this is approach. The films is pure and un effected by obvious scripting and thats what I like the most about it. Reminding us of e daresay that could be considered an effective allegory of : how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process to address your choices regarding the themes you explore? I was always taught as a filmmaker you need to tell stories and experiences you know or at least can relate to. And, through a bit of trial and error I have realised that this is completely true. For me as an artist to project thoughts and feelings into the themes of my work comes through trusting my instinct. I tend to follow the themes that naturally surface though the story process and then expand or refine them into a shape that feels right. Your practice tends to lend itself to and you have remarked once, you


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believe that : what do you hope to trigger in the spectatorship? And how much important is for you to trigger in order to address them to narratives and elaborate interpretations from of your films? Yes absolutely, telling stories with your characters rather than about your characters is fundamental to the way I work. I want bring viewers into my characters world rather than being a just an observer. I have always believed that audiences are smart and don’t need to be spoon fed the details. Films are visual stories there for cinematography and soundtrack rather than spelt out voiceover can lead viewers down the path of the story. When I am on location with the camera I prompt certain questions and moments to help drive the action. I work to do it in a way that doesn’t mean my character is overly explaining who they are, what they are doing or why they are doing it. Much like being an observer or an explorer you need to pay attention to the details around you to piece together the heart of the narrative. As an extremely visual person I use cinematography and music to evoke emotion and thought rather than contrived narrative direction.


We have really appreciated your stunning approach to documentary, reminding us of Frédéric Tcheng's work and we have appreciated the way your storytelling captures hidden emotional reactions with a delicate, thoughtful detachment: could you tell us your biggest influnces and how did they affect you current practice? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with ? I draw my inspiration from many mediums in my life. From filmmakers such as Werner Herzog because he is very interested in the natural world and humans relationship also because he doesn’t draw a hard fast distinction between fiction and reality. His notion of ‘Ecstatic Truths’ is something I strive towards in my work. Striving to create a illuminated feeling of elegance and pureness though my work. Even though the voiceover in ‘Ai’s Journey’ is scripted I drew on Hertzog influence of trying to penetrate towards a deeper metaphysical truth. Beyond filmmakers world I have influences from the Aboriginal people in Australia and their symbolic relationship with the natural world and spirituality. I have worked on a few collaborative projects in the Northern Territory with Indigenous artist and always

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find it incredibly insightful and inspiring to work amongst these people‌ I also draw on the craft of several international commercial directors who play with abstract visuals and emotive storytelling. And, I feel that yes because I am female I would naturally have a different artistic approach to any project than anyone of the opposite sex to me and yes that it has a different uniqueness to it because of my personality and experience, not because of my gender. We couldn't do without mentioning , a social impact advert for that you created in collaboration with Olivia Cheung. We have deeply appreciated the way your inquiry into gender equality deviates from usual stereotypes and before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on . For more than half a century women have been from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing: what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? Right now there is a constant conversation going about inequality and the the under representation of


females in the film industry. We all know that men dominate the roles of directors and cinematographers and that this alone has created and intimidating environment for many women. This disparity in genders has made it quite hard for women to have a voice that can be heard and I think its easy for us to be sidelined because we dont just want to be ‘easy to work with’ not bossy, or difficult or tricky with our request for our creative needs. When Olivia and I set out to create we were inspired to send a message to both male and female audiences to work together, to treat women with respect and to give us the opportunity so we can shine equally. We also wanted to make a film that was strong in nature, that didn’t feel particularly feminine or soft. I firmly believe that there’s some much content out there that still portrays women as less than men, which isn’t the case at all. I wanted to make something that inspired women and didn’t switch men off. The end feeling of the piece is bold, strong and empowered which is how women should feel in every circumstance no matter what. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Cassie. Finally, would you like to tell us

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readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? It’s a pleasure to be interviewed. As a director theres always a few things on the cards. My work spans across VR, documentary and advertising. I wont go into all of my projects but my main focus is an underwater Virtual Reality piece which revolves around indigenous dreamtime stories and the ocean. The narrative is framed as hybrid narrative documentary. We plan to work with traditional custodians of the sea and CG to unravel stories of ocean mythology in an experimental first-person perspective journey. Theres a I see my work evolving in the future as becoming more impactful. I am finding myself increasingly drawn to projects with a deeper purpose that goes beyond just entertainment. As an artist I am hungry to create work that is continually lifting the bar and explores innovation and untold perspectives.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com


Women Cinemakers meets

Daliah Ziper Lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany

Looking at the invisibilities of everyday life. Still and Moving. Silent observation of places and people. The nature of perception is at the fore, exploring the tensions and equilibriums between seemingly opposed forces: standstill and motion, presence and absence, the now and then - Ephemerality in its abstract and figurative appearances. Immersing into narrative environments that become inspiration and protagonists at the same time. Imagery, which invites the viewer to actively perceive - the invisible and inaudible.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hotel Sorrow is an artistic approach and reflection on the global phenomenon of trafficking in women by German artist and filmmaker Daliah Ziper: through a realistic and clichĂŠ-free narration, she

unravels a forgotten tragedy, establishing a subconscious channel of communication with the viewers. Combining footage from environments in Lodz and in Buenos Aires, this captivating work involves the viewers into a sustained and emotionally resonant dialectic with the stories condensed in the place that she captured in her video: we are particularly pleased to introduce


our readers to Ziper's captivating and multifaceted artistic production. : Hello Daliah and welcome to we would invite to our readers to visit in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production and we would like to introduce you to our readers with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid training: you hold a B.A. of Media Management and after having earned your M.A. of Narrative Environments, from the prestigious Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, you nurtured your education with a Meisterschülerin of Thomas Arslan (Film Class), at the University of the Arts Berlin: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, could you tell us your biggest influence and how did they influence your trajectory as a filmmaker? I see my studies at Central Saint Martins, together with the time spent in a very demanding city such as London, as the starting point of my artistic practice. The critical and especially self-directed thinking and work that Central Saint Martins taught me was on the one hand a huge challenge with personal as well as professional difficulties but on the other hand it founded the basis for all my art practice to come. Entering art studies at a late stage (M.A. and then Meisterschüler) was like „jumping into the deep end“. And since then, it happened to be that all my projects feel as such experience - falling deep

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Women Cinemakers in order to face difficulties that help me with each project to experience and redefine myself as well as my practice anew. Here the criticism, which is practiced in both art schools - by tutors and peers just as much as the selfcriticism that was asked for - faced and prepared me with the tough reality that one encounters in this field of work. Before coming to London, I did not know what to expect from studying in an art school. Just as such, as a filmmaker, I encounter the unexpected with each film. Of course, I chose my subjects and they tend to be difficult but what is so exceptional about making documentary and/or experimental films is the unforeseeable flow of occurrences. Through my practice, life always presents itself anew to me: Filmmaking leads me to the unpredictable. For this special edition of we have selected , a experimental film that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your insightful exploration of is the way your sapient narrative provides the viewers with with such an intense and struggling visual experience. While walking our readers through genesis of , could you tell us what did attract you to this particular theme? I read an article, in which a cemetery for Jewish


prostitutes in Buenos Aires caught my interest. Until then, I was not even aware that in general there are cemeteries only for prostitutes. Together with the fact that in Buenos Aires such cemetery was created only for Jewish sex workers was triggering my interest. The history behind it how those Jewish women ended up there, their journey from the poor Shtetls of Eastern Europe to brothels in South America as well as the change from an orthodox life to prostitution was part of Jewish history that was not only unknown to me but also hard to believe. So I decided to search for traces. has drawn heavily from and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such powerful the material shot in Buenos Aires and footage from environments in Lodz: could you comment this aspect of your film? In particular, how do you consider the relationship between environment and your creative process? Environments have become my field of research. They act as inspirational source as well as protagonists in all my films so far. Environments not only manifest themselves through their physical appearance - such as architecture, in either natural or constructed form. Places also express , which I´m most interested themselves as a in. This includes how people use the space but also the invisibilities of a space that can only be felt or assumed. For me environments inhere all aspects of tenses - they show

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Women Cinemakers what was, is and what could be. Places inspire me and trigger my imagination. They are characters as well as stages at the same time. In Hotel Sorrow the filmed environments act several roles: a site of crime, place of remembrance, but also everyday environments such as the home and work space of the women. For me, the rooms and passages from one place to the other convey various feelings and hence trigger a variety of associations and possible narratives. In you turned places into protagonists and narrators, something not very easy to do: in your film you leave the floor to the places, to develop with the viewers' inner sphere and the stories that happened there. In this sense, your work seems to reflect German photographer Andreas Gursky's words, when he stated that : are you particularly interested in structuring your work in order to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? When looking back at previous works and when reflecting on my fields of interest, I can conclude that I´m always intrigued by the absences within the presence. For me that is the only way to get to the „truth“. I`m interested in the unseen and unheard, the unknown yet present realities, which kind of live a parallel life next to


our everyday perception. When revealing such, I obviously would like to keep their hidden characteristic and yes, open up personal associations by that. I don’t want my works to impose facts or realities but rather to enable new ways of perceiving reality. As such, my works are deliberately open for personal reflection and understanding. I agree with Gursky`s words but I would add that, for me at least, it is not only about what is „behind something“ but also how this specific „report on reality“ can be found within ourselves. I`m always curious about how other realities can be found within myself and even if it appears to be all so different, there is always at least one aspect that can be coinciding. With unsparing realism and featuring sapient offers an unsparingly realistic editing, look at the condition of women, exploring both the devastating aftermaths of their broken dreams for a better life and we have particularly appreciated the way your narration pulls the spectators into a sustained and emotionally resonant dialectic with the stories that are condensed in the shots that you have captured. How did you achieve such powerful outcome regarding your choices about editing? The choice of shots and editing reflects the journey I went through and the insights I gained during the research: In Buenos Aires, it became clear to me that women trafficking is not bound to times nor places nor religion.

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Women Cinemakers Nowadays, sex trafficking remains a very current issue in Argentina. Search notices of young girls who disappeared can be seen on many street corners in Buenos Aires. Hence, I expanded my research towards prostitution and trafficking of women today disregarding their national or religious background. Out of great luck, I met people who help trafficked women to get out of their situation. Those people gave me audiovisual documentations by the police, which filmed brothels that they have shut down because of proven trafficking. The cases were closed for years so I was allowed to use the material. It then became clearer to me what I want the film to be: an emotional journey through the places of destination and origin of the trafficked women. In Lodz (Poland) then, I searched for the very places where the Jewish women of my previous research came from and filmed there - in the same manner as the police documentation. I didn’t want the spectator to differentiate between the material shot by the police or by me, hence to „locate“ images. I rather wanted the transitions to be as fluid as possible and to emphasize on a mental journey rather than a spatial. My aim was and is to open up possibilities, which let the spectator see and feel what the women must have seen and felt. We have deeply appreciated your successful attempt to unravel the existence of such forgotten

tragedy: what do you hope to trigger in this situation, by making aware of this issue a wide audience? In particular, what could be in your in our unstable opinion contemporary age? While talking to many prostitutes and by researching various destinies of these women, I realized how quickly it can happen: one wrong encounter, one wrong decision or just bad luck even if its difficult to grasp, but I believe it can happen to anybody and then their is mostly no way out. Being forced into prostitution, either by people or by circumstances, reflects for me the fragility of each moment. With the women I talked to during my research, I often discussed the term „forced“ in the context of prostitution: all of them agreed that prostitution is always forced - with or without trafficking. Their choice for this work is pure survival - poverty and lack of perspectives. I tried to make a film, which reveals this social problem in a way that it doesn’t show the victim or the perpetrator, but rather as a subjective approach towards this subject. As such, two aspects of documentary filmmaking are of great importance for me. Firstly, documentary filmmaking remains a search for traces of a specific reality. A subjective search in which absences are as important as presences. And secondly, I think a filmmaker must clearly empathize and not pity -


especially when it comes to such crucial social matters just as forced prostitution. It is of interest to me that filmmakers create works that show the normality behind such destinies or „forgotten tragedy“. Your film has been presented at and the : how much importance has for you the feedback that you receive in the festival circuit? And how do you feel previewing a film before an audience?

Every feedback has an impact and is important for me. Hotel Sorrow was so far only shown in screenings with a small audience. In Hanoi as well as Jihlava, I showed the film to a group of filmmakers with a subsequent debate, in which of course various opinions come up. Hotel Kummer is a film that raises questions and even though that was my aim, it remains difficult because spectators usually expect answers from a film rather than questions. Hotel Sorrow is an experimental film, yet its documentary content calls for a different kind of perception and criticism. The two genre are treated differently and Hotel Sorrow crosses thresholds into both. The film embodies the bumpy road that I took while doing the film. I guess this can be felt when viewing it. I still feel the difficulties I encountered when making the film while viewing it. Together with

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Women Cinemakers an audience it is of course even more affecting - there is a sort of exposure that I feel with every screening in front of an audience, because every film I do also shows a very personal journey and experience that I went through. Unexpectedly, Hotel Sorrow was less successful in film festivals than my previous film Über Sehen (2014). I didn’t expect that a film about streetlamps will be shown in more festivals than a film about women trafficking. In fact, Hotel Sorrow was not accepted to any official film festival program, which also for me then raises questions. We have appreciated both the originality and the of your approach, so before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. Do you think it is harder for women artists to have their projects green lit today? What's your view on the future of women in cinema?

This subject is being debated a lot and I´m quite ambivalent about it. I met good and successful female cinemakers and I´m convinced that women in cinema do get support and can realize their visions just as men do. For me, men and women in cinema are treated the


same nowadays. This is of course good and bad at the same time. When being treated equivalently, it is also expected to behave or react equivalently. Women have to prove strengths and endurance just as men do. Of course women have to establish themselves in this still male-dominated industry, financially as well as practically. But even though I think that possibilities to do so are as open for women as they are for men, women remain different to men: By nature, they are not the same even though that is being expected nowadays. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Daliah. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I´m currently working on my third short film, which addresses the Israeli/Palestinian conflict - Again a challenging subject for me. This time though, I will try to show people in the film, which I deliberately avoided in past projects. I have the feeling that my future work will change - I would like to experiment more with different ways of presenting film. What interests me a lot is to break clear distinctions between film and other artistic practices - the moving image can take shape in various forms and I´m intrigued to find out what is possible off the screen. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

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Women Cinemakers meets

Sarah Shamash Lives and works in Vancouver, Canada

Informed by cinema, my practice is interdisciplinary, often collaborative, with conceptual and socially engaged underpinnings. I work through a variety of processes and mediums including sound, photography, video, film, sculpture, performance, installation, Internet and mobile devices. Influenced by cinema, my experimental projects typically explore identities and geographies as personal, political, feminine, and dynamic, while critiquing and subverting fixed, colonial and hegemonic demarcations of the body, territory, and space. I live on the territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tseil-Watuth First Nations in Vancouver where I work, parent, and study. I am currently a PhD candidate in UBC’s interdisciplinary program where I research film as a decolonial project with a focus on Latin American, Brazilian, Indigenous film and video. I make DIY films, I teach film studies and program films for the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. I see my work as an artist, researcher, educator, and programmer as interconnected and whole; they all revolve around a passion for cinema.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Hello Sarah and welcome to WomenCinemakers: we would like to start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your B.A. in

Film from the University of British Columbia, you moved to Paris to nurture your education with an M.A. of Film and a M.F.A. of New Media and Contemporary Art, that you received from the Paris VIII UniversitĂŠ De Saint Denis. Moreover, you are currently pursuing your PhD in the Interdisciplinary studies program at UBC: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an


Sarah Shamash (photo by Carlos ColiĂ­n)


artist? And how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your artistic research? Great question. Every life experience has influenced my practice from my education, in all senses of the term, to growing up multi-lingual, and between a few cultural influences, namely, Canadian, Middle-Eastern, Latin American, Brazilian, and French. Through my formal education, I discovered that I enjoy learning, researching, and now teaching. In Vancouver, the influence of commercial filmmaking processes and techniques with an emphasis on big budgets, high production values, and more conservative narratives and structures was something I have been influenced by, but, also an influence I ultimately rejected. My resistance and rejection to the latter dominant North American model of filmmaking, was partly out of lack of choice when it came to access to big budgets, as well as some early experiences working in the commercial and film industry. I realized I wanted to have control over my means of representation and production and I started to make small, independent, DIY films with the tools and resources at my disposal. In Paris, I was able to benefit from the intellectual, cinephile, cultural climate in terms of watching tons of films and going to art galleries, museums, and talks. I started to develop my practice more as an interdisciplinary artist in Paris. My film and art education in France was more focused on documentary, experimental and political films and art practices. I have also spent a significant period of time in Brazil throughout my life, through my paternal family and more recently through artist residencies and now with my doctoral research. My heart and soul are

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Women Cinemakers connected to Brazil and Latin America as is my cinematic research. As such, my own work is influenced by Brazil and Latin America’s film history, in terms of Third Cinema, Cinema Novo, Cinema Marginal, Imperfect Cinema, and Latin American Indigenous Film and Video. You are an eclectic artist and your versatile practice ranges from sound, photography, video, film, sculpture, performance, installation to Internet and mobile devices, revealing the ability of crossing from a media to another: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit http://sarahshamash.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production: would you tell us what does address you to such captivating multidisciplinary approaches? How do you select a medium in order to explore a particular theme? Before I choose a medium, I am often driven by an idea, or concept which is then translated through a, or various media and medium(s). Sometimes, I want to work with sound, for instance, and I explore that too. Yet, generally, my projects start with an idea, sometimes an image or a fragment of something that I end up developing. Actually, about a year ago, I inherited a bunch of old, “defective” art history slides from the university’s slide collection. I am doing a reverse process where I am being guided by the material to develop a strong concept around the material, which is also an interesting process. For this special edition of WomenCinemakers we have selected Kwanxwala-Thunder, a captivating documentary film that our readers have already started


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to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. We have been impressed with the way your journey through the incorporation of soccer into kwakwaka'wakw culture despite its colonial arrival on the island provides the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience, capable of unveiling the elusive bond between the relationship between indigeneity and sport, While walking our readers through the genesis of Kwanxwala-Thunder, would you tell us how you

come up with the theme of soccer as a conduit to explore the cultural development of Alert Bay? The answer to this question has to do with my life trajectory or an anecdote really. I first traveled to Alert Bay in my early twenties, (sometime in the late nineties). At the time, I was completely ignorant about Alert Bay, its history, its people, and its rich soccer and Indigenous culture. I agreed to accompany a friend on a road trip and I experienced this very different side of


Women Cinemakers

Canada in this small community and reserve which was on a remote island on Canada’s Northwest coast. To make a long story short, my friend and another friend who joined our road trip, all ended up partying with the local women’s soccer team. Familiar with Latin American soccer culture, this was the first time I had seen the same fervour for soccer in Canada, where status in the community could be altered depending on your soccer playing abilities. I was also very moved by the land and the energy there and the

experience was a powerful one that stayed with me. I always had it at the back of my mind that Alert Bay’s female soccer culture would make such a great documentary film. It wasn’t until I made contact with the coach, Shannon Alfred, and I went up to start researching and filming, did I fully understand how soccer was so intertwined with Alert Bay’s Kwakwaka'wakw community, history, and cultural pride.


Featuring vibrant and unsparing realism, KwanxwalaThunder is edited with spare eye and effective verité style and we have appreciated the way you mixed different shooting formats: what were your aesthetic decisions when editing your film? Was it important for you to make a personal film or did you aim at leaving floor to the protagonists of your documentary? Initially, I approached filming with a very observational and verité camera and the characters that emerged led the film’s action in many ways. Honey Alfred, an important community member and one of the founders of the Thunderettes soccer team would tell me, “you should interview so and so, or she’s one of the oldest soccer players on the island, go talk to her” and so on. So, I took her lead and filmed and interviewed the people she and other people indicated. William Wasden also provided a wealth of knowledge on the history of soccer on the island along with Sharon Whonnock, Shannon Alfred, George Alfred, and Mariah Robinson. Some people also asked me to film them, so I did. The film ended up being more personal in the sense that I connected with people and made friendships and felt a deep responsibility to the people I filmed. I always try to film people from a place of love and respect by offering them my complete focus and devotion. I sort of fall in love with my subjects during the filming process. Also, because the film was carried out over such a long period of time, life events affected the filmmaking process. My son was born in 2014, while I was trying to edit the footage which was both a blessing and a challenge. It was hard to devote myself to the filmmaking process. I had to devote myself to my son. Actually, that

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was a hard thing for me as an artist. I had to adjust my ways of working and learn how to create in a different way. So, the film is influenced by a verité approach as well as life’s events and trajectories. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your artistic research is based on the understanding that space is not neutral and that perception is dynamic depending on our position and condition in time and space: Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under": what could be in your opinion the role of artists in our unstable, everchanging contemporary age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? What a great question. I think the role of artists is to critically engage and respond to the world by having the ability to translate what they see, hear, and feel through a distinct vision that looks both inwards and outwards. In this way, artists are generous and I see what we do as gestures and offerings of different ways of seeing, feeling, hearing, knowing and being in the world. Of course, being in the world is not a neutral position; it is informed by our herstories, our bodies, our skin tones, our gender identities, our abilities, class identities, the “political system we live under,” and so on. This process isn’t a quick turnover, like a news report; it is a slow, deep response to and engagement with our political,


social, cultural, personal, and geographic moment. In this sense, even in our unstable, ever changing contemporary age, there is a responsibility and ethics to art making where artists play a crucial role in calling out and tackling injustices, inequalities, resisting hegemonic discourses and political systems, and engaging with taboo topics. We daresay that Kwanxwala-Thunder could be considered an effective allegory of human experience of our everchanging societies: how does your everyday life's experience as a woman in a globalized still patriarchal society fuel your creative process to address your choices regarding the themes you explore? My work is a blueprint for my life trajectory and as such it deals with themes of migrations, colonial histories, dislocations, womenhood, reproductive labour, female voices, complex identities, while questioning and hopefully unsettling the art and film historical canons. We live in a patriarchal world where sexism and every other form of discrimination and xenophobia are thriving and even legitimized and emboldened by governing powers. Working within an elite and white male dominated (film and art) world that excludes us and disconnects us from our creative life forces as beings, as mothers, as inventors, as improvisers, as artists, I am interested in connecting and creating just for the sake of personal and collective enrichment as opposed to any real careerist agendas. Responding to the world, to my desires, politics, ethics, and interests becomes an act of resistance to the current

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Women Cinemakers capitalist system that only values the type of productivity that can be monetized and capitalized upon. The process of making the work is also important and often explores anti-oppressive frameworks that are about living well together and creating and maintaining sustainable relationships to human and other-thanhuman beings. We have been impressed with your stunning approach to documentary, as well as your sapient use of editing techniques, that allow you to captures hidden emotional reactions with sharp eye and at the same time with thoughtful detachment: what was the most challenging thing about making this film and what did you learn from this experience? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? There were many gifts that came with making this film which was a whole education on Alert Bay and getting to know some incredible people along the journey who taught me a lot. In Canada, when you deal with Canada’s colonial history and its original peoples, the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, it’s understandably hard to get any financial support from an institutional body as a non-Indigenous person. Understandably, because Canada’s history has been so brutal and violent to its First People and all minority and racialized people. As a result of this ongoing violence and racism, the distribution of wealth and power continues to be


incredibly asymmetrical. Engaging with Canada’s colonial history and my role as a non-Indigenous filmmaker, in terms of my ethics and responsibility, was a part of the process. As such, I had to be clear on my conviction that this was a worthwhile project, that my engagement was relevant, and an important part of making this film was to always be in consultation with the folks from Alert Bay whom I was filming. Shannon Alfred and her family were incredibly generous and supportive and provided key input in completing the film. Another part of my approach was to engage with this history through the use of archival footage and through the history of soccer in Alert Bay which is also a universal sporting phenomenon. The DIY work ethic is liberating in many ways as it allows you to create within your means, at your own pace, being true to your creative vision, but it is also an uphill battle in terms of being the only one responsible for carrying the project to completion. As a woman, my acute awareness of the often harmful and imbalanced precedence of representation of women in film and art through the male gaze, allows me (and us as women) to look back, to present a counter gaze, a feminized gaze that understands and thus presents complex, multi-dimensional, and powerful female characters on screen that have agency but are also fraught human beings. Since the 2000s you have been exhibiting your work in art venues and film festivals: one of the hallmarks of your practices is the ability to establish direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So, before

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Women Cinemakers leaving this interesting conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. What are you aiming to provoke in the viewers? And what do you hope the spectators take away from your works? Maybe I partially answered this in my last question, but I am trying to address some of the gross imbalances, gaps, and inequalities in my practice, research, and teaching by inviting viewers to critically and meaningfully engage with a decolonial subject matter. In Kwanxwala – Thunder, for instance, I am asking audiences to reflect on a part of Canada’s colonial history through the history of soccer in Alert Bay. I think, as artists and filmmakers, we all hope we are tapping into a public’s subconscious and even effecting gradual shifts. One of the things I have been thinking about and what I hope to provoke, at some level, is our interdependence and interconnectedness to everything in our cosmos. Approaching work that isn’t about entertainment value is always more challenging. Ideally, I can be present to personally present work for screenings and exhibitions to be able to directly engage audiences. I can’t always be physically present yet I invite audiences to approach the work with an open mind. My wish is that the works provokes thought, discussion, and / or action. Before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in contemporary art scene. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from producing something 'uncommon', however in the


last decades there are signs that something is changing. How would you describe your personal experience as an unconventional artist? And what's your view on the future of women in this interdisciplinary field? There are so many women working in film and contemporary art, yet they are too often excluded from the conversation and from the history books. In my experience, throughout my film and art educations there was and continues to be an exclusion of women, particularly around technology. Women can be just as tech savvy but we might have different ways of learning or maybe we would embrace learning technological skills, such as programming, camera operating, sound gear, editing, electronics etc., if we had more female instructors and role models. And more and more there are incredibly inspiring female references when it comes to film history such as Lourdes Portillo, Marta Rodriguez, Alanis Obomsawin, Anna Muylaert, Loretta Todd, Agnès Varda, Chantal Ackerman, Tracey Moffat, Lucrecia Martel, Sara Gomez, etc., that don’t get highlighted enough in film education. Those are just a few names that have been personal references, inspirations, and mentors, (at least through their work). However, there are many forces, namely the current patriarchal structure, that dominates the world including the fields of film and art creating very real boundaries for women. We’ve all read too much about it in the latest Hollywood scandals and many of us have experienced similar

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Women Cinemakers types of violence. I think as interdisciplinary or undisciplined artists, we are often the ones creating new spaces, platforms and architectures for our works to be disseminated. I have many female contemporaries and peers that are hugely inspiring and working and creating strong film and art works despite various intersectional violence and discrimination. I think, we all need to hold each other up, despite our challenges, and, in this way, we are a stronger community and network and ultimately more powerful, opening new avenues for future women. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sarah. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Collaborations and creating enriching experiences are current preocupations. I am at a time in my life where I am slowly working on some smaller projects and developing ideas for larger projects; one is a photographic series and another is a collaborative installation project. There is a documentary project I was offered to work on, about migrant workers in BC, Canada. In fact, I sort of feel like I am biding my time; once I have my PhD in hand and my son is in school full time, I will have a different freedom to focus on larger scale projects. I look forward to this moment. An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

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