Short film screening at kunstblitz, Berlin

Dori Varga at Rawlines

Exactly a week ago (16.07.) we held a movie screening for short films at KUNSTBLITZ for four young talents:

Nadine Poulain (Germany) showed a preview of documentary ‘U-977 – 66 Days Under Water’ followed by her art film on the same subject. ‘U-977 – 66 Days Under Water’ is a cinematic feature length documentary about the deeply human quest for freedom and self-determination. Set at the end of WW2, it is the story of Heinz Schäffer, former u-boat commander of U-977, and his crew.

Arata Mori’s (Japan) ‘Camino Negro’ is based on key concepts such as Body and Image, Repetition and Nomadism. Inspired by French modern philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze and Georges Bataille and indigenous traditions and mythologies from all over the world, Arata has created a number of multimedia artwork including photography, video, sculpture and dance performance. Camino Negro, written and directed by Arata Mori was selected for Short Film Corner at 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Anja Marais’ (South Africa) ‘Cathedral’ is a tale about acceptance. Shot entirely in Russia, it is a visual and audio poem inspired by the poet Anna Akhmatova. Instead of fighting suffering our female protagonist decided through admission of her burden to achieve union with herself and nature. Anja’s previous film ‘Shift’ is in a permanent collection of MOCA and was also selected for the Cannes Film Festival Short Corner in 2013.

Irene Moray’s (Spain) ‘Bernarda Rodríguez’ is a mokumentary about an artist. Irene usually works for different producer companies as a still photographer but she also experiments with video and directed a couple of video art pieces. Usually her recurrent issues are dance, female body, and underwater scenes, but in this short film Irene is just having fun as she said, directed and starred about a Berlin artist.

The night was curated by my right hand, and of KUNSTBLITZ’s artists: Adela Holmes, photographer. After the show, I set down with Adela and asked her about experiences with this project.

Short film screening at KUNSTBLITZ

DV: How did you choose between works while picking out the final pieces?

AH: We received a lot of film submission for the KUNSTBLITZ Short Film selection but the four films I chose for the viewing were the ones, which kept me wondering. I wanted to see more and had the urge to find out what will happen. There was not a moment where I wanted to skip any of the scenes and to me that was the crucial aspect in choosing these films. While watching the submissions I learned that you really have to give a film a chance, which means to watch the whole thing. Sometimes, it is clear in the very beginning that this is crap but you don’t know yet if this crap is intentional which could result in pretty good. Its also tricky with the really slow art films where in that case beautiful imagery keeps you captivated. Other times its other things, but captivation I’d say is the number one interest grabber. Be it the story, the music, the expression but something has to grab you and evoke curiosity. The quality of the film does not matter, but to me the quality of an actor is a very crucial choice.

DV: What made you like the showed movies?

AH: Nadine Poulain’s film puts you in a mood of meditation while gorgeous imagery slowly interchanges, enforcing a feeling. It is important to feel a film otherwise why even bother. Arata Mori’s strangeness in combination of incredible sounds on the subject of repetition was loaded with symbolism I still don’t quite understand, but that’s OK. There is always time to dissect a film. Most impotently, the fifteen minutes felt like so much longer (in a good way) because of the amount and variety of impressions, captivating. The Anja Marais film I could watch forever. The character’s body language, mainly her walk, keeps you wondering where she might be going and what is her intend. I could follow this character thought the world wondering forever. Irene Moray’s film was interesting to watch. It was one of those where you didn’t know if this is intentionally bad and yes, a few minutes into the film the realization that it is, makes you burst out in a loud laughter. The other submissions didn’t catch my interest in that intensity as the four selections and so the decision-making was easy. It might be on a personal level but curating a show means you show what you believe in and these four filmmakers I can’t wait to follow and see what else they will do.

DV: This was your first film-related curatorial work. Was everything like you imagined at the screening?

AH: I can say I’ve learned a lot from curating my first films show. Firstly that film is a really tough nut. And that whoever dares this endeavor is valiant. Showing it is also a challenge. I was lucky to have picked filmmakers who were patient with me. Overall it went really well but hard is what I am on myself. What I should have done is not to trust the fact that it will look fantastic on a textured wall projected with a projector never tested on the wall. Some films did all right, not all. Even though I have curated many shows, the difference between curating a short films viewing and a show with still images has become apparent. It has to be quiet and dark during the viewing that sets a mood, which is hard to break once the film is over and that it sometimes results in an awkward silence. Breaking that silence means taking things in charge in a very different way then usual. Not my expertise, but thankfully the KUNSTBLITZ crew managed to save the situation, as usual.