Curated by Sarnt Utamachote, Popo Fan and Ragil Huda
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.
Curated by Sarnt Utamachote, Popo Fan and Ragil Huda
Berlinale Forum Special Programme
Curated by Can Sungu, Karina Griffith, Jacqueline Nsiah, Biene Pilavci and Enoka Ayemba
Children's cinema from SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA
Concept by Malve Lippmann and Dr. Martin Ganguly
Curated by LaborBerlin e.V.
Iranian Cinema Before 1979
Curated by Ehsan Khoshbakht
Curated by Can Sungu and Malve Lippmann
Cinema beyond the Screen
un.thai.tled Film Festival 2021
Curated by Sarnt Utamachote and Rosalia Namsai Engchuan
Feminist Gestures in Film
Curated by Pia Chakraverti-Würthwein & Eirini Fountedaki
Archive screenings with films from Navina Sundaram
Curated by Merle Kröger and Mareike Bernien
Symposium, Screenings, Talks
Curated by Borjana Gaković and Madeleine Bernstorff
Curated by Darunee Terdtoontaveedej
Perspectives from the South
Curated by Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh and Berke Göl
Curated by Jade Barget and Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee
A program by C/LENS in cooperation with Sinema Transtopia
Curated by Tang Xuedan (Echo)
New Woman, New Narrative is a film series that explores the tension between Chinese women who live through a sweeping feminist awakening and the omnipresent patriarchy in China. Transgender girls, university students, lesbian activists – as women, they confront similar challenging realities and create extraordinary narratives. The selected films offer a chance to take an in-depth look at the development of feminist issues in contemporary Chinese society and how this manifests in individuals.We invite you to come together to explore: How do women cope with the complicated gender relationships in contemporary China? What are the conditions they are faced with? How is feminism perceived in both the activism and the micropolitics of women’s everyday lives?
C/LENS is a Berlin-based, non-profit film curation project that explores cinema as a space for transcultural dialogues by showcasing Chinese independent films that are rarely exhibited. The curatorship mainly focuses on socio-political issues regarding women, migration and urbanization represented in Chinese filmmakers’ works.
Tang Xuedan (Echo) is a Berlin-based cultural researcher from Chengdu. Before moving to Berlin, she worked as a documentary producer in China. She initiated C/LENS in 2022 as her fellowship project, one which reflects the intersection of her strong interest and ongoing research in cinema studies, feminism, and socially engaged practices.
OV with English subs
Chen Junmi / Gao Guo, China 2021, 45 min. OV with English subtitles
With a video message by Chen Junmi and Gao Guo
This documentary shines a spotlight on the experiences and conditions of transgender groups in China, featuring the 17-year-old transgender girl Xiaodi and her story of escaping from violent conversion therapy at a military school. The story of Xiaodi, as recent as 2018, reflects some of the multi-faceted, conflicting realities that exist in contemporary China and prompts us to think about how to narrow the divide between different values and ideologies. How do we form solidarity with stigmatized and disciplined groups?
Chen Junmi 陈军米 was born in Guizhou, Southwestern China, and currently lives in Beijing. They received their B.S. degree in Software Engineering from Shandong University. After graduation, they joined Beijing Gender, one of the first NGOs that focus on issues of gender, sexuality, and sexual health. Through film, they campaign for anti-bullying and suicide-prevention among LGBT teenagers. They currently work as an independent producer and interviewer for Beijing Gender’s Chinese LGBT pathology oral history program.
Gao Guo高国 is a queer filmmaker. They studied in the Printmaking Department of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts. During this period, they began to be interested in sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE) issues. After graduating in 2019, they went to Beijing and worked as a choreographer and filmmaker. They produce videos on disability, feminism, LGBTQIA+, and other related issues.
The VaChina Monologues 来自阴道
Popo Fan, 2013, China 30 min., OV with English subtitles
After the screening talk with Popo Fan
This short documentary is a retrospective look at how the influential American feminist play “The Vagina Monologues” was introduced to China. Initially presented by a group of university students and their professor, the film explores how the adoption of the play incites a hurricane regarding the representation of vaginas and feminist debates, particularly among young urban Chinese women.
Popo Fan, born 1985, is a Berlin-based Chinese diaspora filmmaker, curator and writer. His films include queer activism documentaries and scripted, sex-positive shorts. For more than a decade, he has organized the Beijing Queer Film Festival and founded the Queer University Video Training Camp in China.
Director Zhao Jing / Shi Tou China 2015
58 Min., OV with English subs
After the screening talk with Shi Tou
What would happen if, back in 1995, three hundred Lala (拉拉, meaning “lesbian” in Chinese) had come to the UN conference hosted in Beijing? What would happen if two buses loaded with them headed to an underground club in the city center of Beijing? Well, this is how the flame of China’s lesbian movement was ignited. We Are Here, made by Chinese lesbian activists, interviews the attendees of the United Nations’ “Fourth World Conference on Women” in 1995 in Beijing. Via their candid, hilarious narration, we witness a brief history of the Chinese lesbian movement starting with the “secret correspondence network of LaLa” and “eight Chinese Lala as a national movement”.
Zhao Jing赵静 （also “Sam 三木”） has been a pioneering LGBT activist in China since 2005. She is the co-founder and chief editor of les+, the most influential lesbian print magazine in mainland China, with readers across all provinces as well as many other countries. In 2014, she graduated from New York University School of the Arts and directed the documentary We Are Here, which was invited to several international film festivals and screened in more than 10 cities in China. In 2015, she founded Yummy with the aim to provide Chinese people with professional and positive sex education.
Shi Tou 石头 has been an artist and a lesbian activist since the 1990s. She is China’s first lesbian activist celebrity: In 2000 she starred in the country’s first lesbian film, Fish and Elephant, which received the Elvira Notari Prize at Venice Film Festival in 2001 and the Best Asian Film at Forum of New Cinema of the Berlinale in 2022. Her paintings and photographs have been shown in Rotterdam, Chicago, Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenzhen.