How can a new kind of cinema be collectively created within a transnational society? SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA, the cinema-experiment by bi’bak, explores cinema as a space of social discourse, exchange, and solidarity. The curated film series brings together diverse social communities and connects places both near and geographically distant; it links pasts, presents and futures and moves away from a eurocentric gaze towards transnational, (post-)migrant and postcolonial perspectives. SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is a different kind of cinema, one simultaneously committed to local and international communities, that understands cinema as an important public sphere of sociality; it considers film history as crucial to the work of cultural memory and is committed to a diversity of film culture and film art. In Haus der Statistik at Berlin-Alexanderplatz, SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA builds a bridge between urban practice and film to create a space that opens access, stimulates discussion, educates, moves, provokes and encourages.
SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is funded by Haupstadtkulturfonds, Conrad Stiftung and the Programm NEUSTART KULTUR
Past event series can be found in the archive.
In cooperation with the International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies
Contesting Authoritarianism features films that challenge authoritarianism, neoliberalism and (neo)colonialism on both political and aesthetic fronts, proposing social and formal innovations for a cinema that engages with collective action. The films in the program surpass individual heroic narratives to counter long-standing ideologies of inequality and tropes of otherness by proposing transversal approaches to filmmaking from the Global South. What promising emotive and visual strategies exist that can stand against authoritarian ideologies and affects? How can authoritarian populist discourse and communication strategies be subverted? What is needed discursively, figuratively, aesthetically, and emotionally for an internationalist, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist practice which has the capacity to mobilize political change? Contesting Authoritarianism spans different times and geographies, zooming in on the similarities and differences between authoritarian transformations worldwide, as well as between the struggles against them. It searches for spaces of encounter, solidarity, dissent and resistance to contest authoritarian regimes, movements and ideologies worldwide.
The cinema program is part of the conference “Contesting Authoritarianism. Perspectives from the South” which takes place at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Berlin between 16.05. - 21.05.2022. More information at www.irgac.org
Sponsored by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany. Funded by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.
Berke Göl is a film critic and the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s leading independent film magazine Altyazı where he has been working since 2003. He is a member of FIPRESCI and the Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD). He served as a FIPRESCI jury member in numerous festivals, most recently at Berlinale 2022.
Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh is a lens-based artist working at the intersection of urban research and artistic practices. Their recent projectMomentography of a Failure builds up a multidisciplinary artistic and urban research platform for digital mapping and artistic collaborations. Fathollahzadeh is currently a Research Fellow with EUME.
In El Coraje del Pueblo theBolivianfilmmakerJorge Sanjinés poses a critique of the western understanding of time, manifesting a form in which past, present, memory and evidence are politicized. The Third Cinema revolutionary’s collective reenactment of the 1967 San Juan massacre, where the Bolivian government killed more than twenty miners, constructs a cinematic experience of the cyclical Aymara notion of time. Domitila Chungara, the representative of The Housewives Committee of Siglo XX, takes us on a journey through the indigenous labor movement, the political mobilization of women and their testimonial practices, challenging both patriarchal and euro-centric feminist agendas.
Diego Mondaca studied film at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV - San Antonio de Los Baños, Cuba - EICTV. Mondaca is a university professor in the Film Program of the UMSA (Bolivia) and a guest professor at the Blanco Chair of the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). He is the director of award-winning films such as La Chirola(2008), Ciudadela(2011) and Chaco (2020).
As the elections of March 2012 approach, young filmmakers on the streets of Russia follow presidential candidates, film political rallies, interview citizens, and document various incidents of political activism and police violence. The opposition is full of hope despite the media blackout, signs of election fraud and extreme pressure from the government. Collectively produced by ten filmmakers, Zima, Ukhodi! manages to create a coherent and insightful narrative about the social and political climate in contemporary Russia, with an emphasis on the ways in which resistance works.
R.Y. is a Russian activist, journalist and filmmaker who has to stay anonymous for safety reasons.
Krsto Papić, Yugoslavia 1972, 14 min.
Ole-Kristian Heyer/Patrick Lohse/Marian Mayland, Germany 2020, 16 min.
It’s a Long Way from Amphioxus
Kamal Al Jafari, Germany2019, 25 min.
Cuando el niño andrógino
When the Androgynous Child
Melina Pafundi, Germany/Argentina 2019, 9 min.
Institutional racism, bureaucratic violence and binary patterns of exclusion connect these four short films: It's a Long Way to Amphioxus leads us into the waiting rooms of Berlin’s migration office. An old woman leans in to a young man and asks, “what are they distributing here?” - “Numbers”, he replies. Likewise, when the Special Trains transporting “guest workers” arrived from ex-Yugoslavia to Munich in the 1970s, their names were replaced by numbers. In Dark Figure, which tackles the case of a house inhabited by migrant workers which was burnt down in Duisburg in 1984, the number of unreported racist crimes in Germany comes to light. Finally, When an Androgynous Childquestions the origins of binarity by contemplating notions of belonging.
Dunkelfeld film collective member’s Marian Mayland, Patrick Lohse and Ole-Kristian Heyer worked together for the first time on the short film Dunkelfeld (Dark Figure), where they combined their individual artistic approaches: experience in dealing with documentary forms, questioning common narratives in society and ways of functioning in visual media.
Kamal Al Jafari is a Palestinian filmmaker and artist. His work has been shown worldwide at film festivals such as the Berlinale, Locarno, Viennale and Rotterdam and museums such as the MoMA and Tate Modern. In 2021 he was a jury member for the Leopard of tomorrow section of the 74th Locarno Film Festival and a jury member for the Burning Lights Competition of Visions du Réel, Nyon.
Melina Pafundi (1987) Mar del Plata, Argentina. She studied Film and Video direction, Philosophy and Fine Arts. She has worked as a film archive restorer at the Buenos Aires Film Museum, Pablo C. Ducrós Hicken. Since 2016 lives in Berlin, and she has worked with the director Franz Müller as an Assistant Director and is member of the film laboratory directed by artists LaborBerlin e.V.
A group of students in Johannesburg’s Wits University protest against unaffordable fees. As the #FeesMustFall movement gradually spreads across the country, it becomes a junction for myriad issues, from class struggle to the heritage of the Apartheid, gender politics, and South Africa’s history of colonialism. Intertwining all these topics, Rehad Desai’s documentary follows the internal struggles and evolution of the student movement through different points of view.
Sarah Maldoror, Angola 1969, 16 min.
Aylin Kuryel, Turkey/Netherlands 2021, 16 min.
I Signed the Petition
Mahdi Fleifel, UK/Switzerland/Germany 2018, 10 min.
Pavel Mozhar, Germany/Belarus, 2021,26 min.
Is signing a petition an efficient way to protest against political oppression? What is the potential outcome and what does a signatory risk? In the context of colonialism, can language be used as a weapon against the oppressor? What does political activism mean in the face of a system armed with brutal, methodical torture, and how can one begin to understand torture’s physical and psychological impact? A selection of short films from a range of times and geographies that reflect on strategies of resistance.
Pavel Mozhar was born in 1987 in Minsk and is based in Berlin. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Economics (University of Bayreuth, 2012). After graduating he had various film industry internships and jobs. In 2015 he started his Master’s in Directing at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, majoring in documentary forms.
Aylin Kuryel is an academic and an independent filmmaker, based in Amsterdam and Istanbul. She is an assistant professor at the Literary and Cultural Analysis department at the University of Amsterdam. Her documentaries include Heads and Tails(2018), The Balcony and Our Dreams(2020), and A Defense(2021).
Set against the backdrop of the nationwide student protests against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019-2020, Sab Changa Si is an intimate documentary on friendship, language, love, youth, resistance and identity and how they are interwoven with class, caste, religion, and gender in the city of Bangalore. It probes complicated political questions by observing spaces of solidarity and their diverse subjectivities.
Teresa A. Braggs, born in 1997 and brought up in Calcutta, graduated from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, in Communication Studies in 2020. Sab Changa Si, her first documentary film, won the Peace Film Prize and was nominated for a Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival 2022.
India Justice Project is a collective of Indian and German citizens residing in Germany, concerned about the deteriorating situation of human rights and rule of law in India. In response to the nationalist divisive policies of the government led by the BJP, the collective is working towards building a sustainable solidarity network in support of affected communities in India and Kashmir in Germany.