About

SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA

From September 2020 on bi’bak will embark on a cinema experiment at Haus der Statistik.

SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA explores cinema as a space for social discourse, a place for exchange and solidarity. SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA brings together diverse social communities, links geographically distant and nearby places, the past, present and future, and decentres an eurocentric view through transnational, (post-) migrant and postcolonial perspectives. SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is a transtopia, a place where “cross-border ties and connections converge, are reinterpreted and condense into everyday contexts” (Erol Yıldız). As part of the pioneering urban policy Initiative Haus der Statistik, the cinema experiment bridges the gap between everyday urban practices and film to create an alternative art form that connects different social perspectives.

SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is funded by Haupstadtkulturfonds, Conrad Stiftung and the Programm NEUSTART KULTUR

bi'bakino

bi'bakino is a curated film program that focuses on transnational narratives, migration and mobility discourses in film and seeks to stimulate differentiated discussions and changes of perspective. The program highlights films from outside Europe that have often not been shown in Berlin before, as well as archive excavations and rediscoveries. Following the film screenings, moderated discussions take place with filmmakers and experts.

Past event series can be found in the archive.

Series
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Curated by Popo Fan, Tobias Hering, Malve Lippmann, Branka Pavlovic, Can Sungu, Sarnt Utamachote and Florian Wüst

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Curated by Sarnt Utamachote and Rosalia Namsai Engchuan

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un.thai.tled FILM FESTIVAL BERLIN 2020

"Thai" identity has become a kind of hyperreality. For decades, images about Thailand have been circulated and reproduced. These images have become, for many people (also for many Thais) overwhelming and internalized as a part of their identities. As these images of promiscuous women and desexualised men are normalized, the Thai people behind such stereotypes are rendered invisible. The un.thai.tled Film Festival aims to look beyond these one-dimensional, superficial representations and asks the questions: how can we critically deconstruct these reproduced stereotypes? What kind of images appear in the films of Thai filmmakers themselves? This film programme - a mixture of documentaries, poetry and fiction - will delve beyond the surface to offer different insights into Thailand. These hybrid films convey the social experience and lived social realities in Thailand and in the diaspora. 

un.thai.tled is a collective of Thai/diasporic creatives in Germany, which stands against misunderstanding, stereotypes and ignorance within the public discourses in the west and encourages socio-cultural exchanges. un.thai.tled gathers artists and creatives from Thailand or with Thai diasporic background and curates film and cultural programmes that critically untangle the stereotypes and support political engagements. 

Funded by Stiftung Nord-Süd Brücken aus Mitteln der LEZ

Rosalia Namsai Engchuan is a social anthropologist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Southeast Asia. She is currently working on a collaborative project with artists and cultural producers in Southeast Asia on artistic investigations and interventions into problem clusters of modernity that pivot around notions of climate change.

Sarnt Utamachote is a filmmaker, photographer and curator. He is a co-founder of un.thai.tled, a collective of Thai-diasporic creatives in Germany, through which he curated un.thai.tled Film Festival Berlin as well as Beyond the kitchen: Stories of Thai Park. His video installation I Am Not Your Mother (2020) was officially exhibited at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

To the events

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Critical Conditions

Fields of action in the environmental crisis

Curated by Sarnt Utamachote, Malve Lippmann, Rosalia Namsai Engchuan and Pia Chakraverti-Würthwein & Eirini Fountedaki

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To the archive

Events

Director Anocha Suwichakornpong, Ben Rivers and Tulapop Saenjareon

OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Sarnt Utamachote and Rosalia Namsai Engchuan

Krabi 2562 + Room with a coconut view

KRABI 2562
Anocha Suwichakornpong/Ben Rivers, Thailand 2019, 94 Min.

Krabi 2562 looks at the landscape and the history of the touristic destination Krabi in the South of Thailand. The filmmakers manage to capture the city in the moment of change, as the prehistoric and the new pasts - embodied by many protagonists - contest with the present.

ROOM WITH A COCONUT VIEW
Tulapop Saenjaroen, Thailand 2018, 28 Min.  

In Room with a coconut view Kanya guides her guest Alex through the beautiful scenery at the beach but Alex is unhappy with these sterile, touristic images and decides to explore by himself. The histories of Thai cinema and local corruption start to merge and one begins to question how much of our understanding of the world is shaped through film. Both films offer a satirical look into the touristic South of Thailand, which is known worldwide both as an “exotic paradise” and for its mass tourism, while putting the perspectives of the locals and of tourists up against each other.

After the screening there will be a discussion on Thai tourism + Opening Party with Thai food

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Sarnt Utamachote is a filmmaker, photographer and curator. He is a co-founder of un.thai.tled, a collective of Thai-diasporic creatives in Germany, through which he curated un.thai.tled Film Festival Berlin as well as Beyond the kitchen: Stories of Thai Park. His video installation I Am Not Your Mother (2020) was officially exhibited at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Rosalia Namsai Engchuan is a social anthropologist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Southeast Asia. She is currently working on a collaborative project with artists and cultural producers in Southeast Asia on artistic investigations and interventions into problem clusters of modernity that pivot around notions of climate change.

Director Visra Vichit-Vadakan and Foundation for Women

OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Ban-Ying e.V.

Karaoke Girl + Westwärts: Südostasiatinnen in der BRD

KARAOKE GIRL (สาวคาราโอเกะ)
Visra Vichit-Vadakan, Thailand 2013, 77 Min.

A young girl from the countryside, Sa, moves to the big city to support her family and ends up in sexwork. This kind of story has been told repeatedly in cinema, however never so fluid and poetic as this independent Thai film. The film focuses less on the transactions of sex for money and more on dreams and hopes - both of Sa and of others. Fiction and documentary seem to seamlessly melt into each other, bringing forth the multidimensional portrait of a karaoke girl.

WESTWÄRTS: SÜDOSTASIATINNEN IN DER BRD
Foundation for Women, Germany 1990, 50 Min.

Four women of the Southeast Asian Information Support in Bochum and Foundation for Women (FFW) in Bangkok together have made this reportage about the lives of Asian women in West Germany. Three stories bound together during one period of time - that of a Thai woman during divorce, of a Thai former sexworker and of an undocumented Filipina housemaid - reflect on their social interactions, their daily routines and discriminations they face.

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Ban-Ying is one of the oldest women’s projects working to combat human trafficking in Berlin. It campaigns for the rights of migrant women who have experienced violence, exploitation or human trafficking.

Director Pimpaka Towira Thailand 2015

105 Min., OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Pimpaka Towira and Benjamaporn Rattaraungdetch

The Island Funeral

This road movie deals with the problem of a politically divided country, in which the south is marketed as a tourist paradise, while at the same time is in a state of emergency on the brink of a civil war. The young protagonist Laila travels with her brother, her boyfriend, and a soldier down to the southern part of Pattani province; the part of Thailand with a Muslim population. This trip thus becomes the moment of reflective understanding about the “differences”, which have been an issue in the eyes of many in other parts of the country.

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Pimpaka Towira was one of the first Thai filmmakers whose films were internationally successful. She served as a jury at international film festivals and was awarded the Silpathorn Award of the Thai Ministry of Culture in 2009.

Benjamaporn Rattanaraungdetch is a director of photography based in Germany and Thailand. She graduated from University of Television and Film Munich (HFF) and has been working for internationally acclaimed artists/filmmakers such as Pimpaka Towira, Arin Rungjang and Bussaraporn Thongchai.

Director Sompot Chidgasornpongse Thailand 2017

102 Min., OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Nut Srisuwan

Railway Sleepers

In 1893, the first railway was constructed as a representation of technological advancement and economic vitality in Thailand/Siam. Today, however, if you look out the train window, you will only see rice fields and palm trees. The observations of the daily activities in the train spotlight the voices of a society that seemingly doesn’t know where it is going, even though the train has been travelling from north to south for over 100 years.

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Nut Srisuwanis living between Bangkok and Berlin. His works are inspired by urban life, the dynamics of people, atmospheres, and the structures of communities. His practice focuses on creating a dialogical space, where the borderline between being an audience and a participant is blurred. 

OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Pimpaka Towira

Short Film Programme: Deep South Young Filmmakers

Deep South Young Filmmakers helps children from southern Thailand express their voices and exchange their experiences with others. The film project was initiated by Pimpaka Towira in 2019. Over the course of ten months, Pimpaka and her team of mentors worked together with the young filmmakers to produce a variety of short films. Pimpaka Towira will present three of these films in Berlin.

THE GHOST'S VIEW
Ajmal Rerngsamut, Thailand 2019, 19 Min.

THE LIFE
Muhamasubay Deng, Thailand 2019, 20 Min.

MELAGU
Nurdeen Kasor, Thailand 2019, 24 Min.

Supporting film: The Sea Recalls
Aekaphong Saransate, Thailand 2018, 28 Min.

In The Sea Recalls the director remembers his uncle, who along with his wife was murdered in his own house. One year after the incident, Aekaphong came back to his hometown to explore the past and deal with the absence of loved ones.

After the screening there will be a discussion about working with marginalized communities with Pimpaka Towira (Extra Virgin Films).

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Pimpaka Towira was one of the first Thai filmmakers whose films were internationally successful. She served as a jury at international film festivals and was awarded the Silpathorn Award of the Thai Ministry of Culture in 2009.

OV with English subs

Short film programme: Journeys Of Urban Ghosts

FFF (วิป)
Nonthachan Prakobsup (นนทจรรย์ ประกอบทรัพย์), Thailand 2017, 20 Min.    

FLUMMOXED COCOON (ดักแด้โกลาหล) 
Theerapat Wongpaisarnkit (ธีรภาส ว่องไพศาลกิจ), Thailand 2017, 28 Min.

THE MENTAL TRAVELLER
Taiki Sakpisit (ไทกิ ศักดิ์พิสิษฐ์), Thailand 2019, 18 Min.   

PLANETARIUM PROJECT (ท้องฟ้าจำลอง) 
Kritsamas Ualapun (กฤษฏิ์สมัชญ์ เอื้อละพันธุ์), Thailand 2017, 27 Min.

The short film programme Journeys of Urban Ghosts takes a look at the metropolis Bangkok, where various people live together and shape their surroundings. In FFF (2017), Bangkok becomes a source of trauma and pain, while Flummoxed Cocoon (2017) tracks how suppressed desires become the driving force for travelling. In Planetarium Project (2017) the concrete jungle marks the beginning, yet in The Mental Traveller (2019), it indicates a journey’s end. Afterwards, the performance Oh Missing Moon (2020) deals with homesickness as a dilemma of being unable to return to Thailand.

After the screening there will be a performance Oh Missing Moon from Theerawat Klangjareonchai, Kantatach Kijtikhun and Raksa Seelapan (un.thai.tled CTM 2020)

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Director Rosalia Namsai Engchuan and Nontawat Numbenchapol

OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Nontawat Numbenchapol

Soil Without Land + Complicated Happiness

SOIL WITHOUT LAND (ดินไร้แดน)
Nontawat Numbenchapol, Thailand 2019, 80 Min.

After fleeing the fighting between Burmese forces and the Shan minority, Jai Sang Lod arrives with his family in 2001 in a camp on the Thai border. There, he does his military service with the Shan State Army in order to obtain an identity card and state recognition. Against the backdrop of the conflicts between the Shan and Myanmar, Soil Without Land deals with the construction of masculinity in the military.

COMPLICATED HAPPINESS 
Rosalia Namsai Engchuan, Germany/Thailand 2020, 30 Min.

The supporting film Complicated Happiness shows the Thai community in Berlin against the background of colonial entanglements and sexual power relations. The film, created as a point of contact and in cooperation with the Thaipark community, deals with the notion of female power and the participation in a historiography that is mostly dominated by men.

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Nontawat Numbenchapol is a Thai film director and screenwriter, who is widely recognized for his documentary works. He has frequently collaborated on Cannes Palm d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s works. His films were screened at Berlinale, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), and Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. His film By the River (2013) became the first Thai film to receive the Special Mention award from the Locarno International Film Festival.

Director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng Thailand 2018

105 Min., OV with English subs

Followed by a talk with Koen de Rooij

Manta Ray

In a small Thai fishing village, a fisherman finds an unconscious, mute man; probably one of the many Rohinya refugees from Myanmar. The fisherman takes him home and gives him the name Thongchai. A few days later the fisherman disappears and Thongchai starts to take over his life, his home and his job. Instead of reproducing the usual media narratives about Rohingya refugees, the film portrays the complex dimensions and negotiations of power in everyday life.

After the screening there will be a discussion + Closing Party with southern Thai food

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Koen de Rooij is a film programmer specialised in East and South-East Asian cinema, and a part of the IFFR Short Film selection committee since 2017. His main interest lies in the continuing influences of national borders, migration and the colonial past. He holds MA degrees in Asian Studies and Media Studies from Leiden University.