ETHNOKINO STAYS HOME YET UNITED WITH THE WORLD
Covid-19 hit us during our Roads & Routes program March 2020 when Kino in der Reitshule informed us; all screenings needed to be canceled. Reacting to the situation quite fast, Pavel came up with a brilliant solution; to ZOOM! (only if he knew that our worlds were to be zoomed in and out ever since). We instantly mobilised people through our social media accounts as we gathered our audience for a virtual screening and Q&A of EARTH and then later on with SUSPENSION.
During lockdown we realise; Raed Andoni’s masterpiece GHOST HUNTING is to be screened online by the Palestine Film Institute, we hosted a POP UP Q&A event in collaboration. Our motivation has been to understand a Palestinian point of view into the lockdown as Palestinians have been living under these conditions for decades. Raed responds to the situation ; “The lockdown, makes me feel at home” .
We receive a record number of 74 participants from all around the world whom joined Raed's Q&A. See a highlighted version of our conversation with Raed . Some students in Turkey found the conversation too inspiring , they have written their University essays on Raed’s films with references to our EK Talk.
Two weeks later we did another POP UP Q&A with our good friend Loten Namling, a prominent Tibetan opera singer and rock musician residing in Bern. Accompanied with his film TIBETAN WARRIOR that also went online, on YouTube (a 2017 EK Selection) we spoke on the need for more compassion and activism; To see the recording.
Hence the imposed confined experience has made us reflect on our past and present. The maddening situation has made us think of what kind of future we wanted to co-create and see. After an intensive brainstorming session, we have opted to choose ANCIENT FUTURES as the title of our new season, a term coined by a pioneering applied anthropologist ; Helena Norberg Norge whose Award winning book Ancient Futures speaks of how the global world had much to learn from Ladakh an isolated region of the Indian Himalayas bordering Tibet (opened up to the world only by 80’s). The book is filled in with traditional and spiritual ancient wisdom around practices on regenerative, restorative and sustainable livelihoods. The term deeply resonated with all team members particularly with Nimal and Elif, who have been in Ladakh and equally had a transformative life experience. Here a former blog piece written at University of Kent’s Visual Anthropology Society; on filming AMCHI in Ladakh a personal account of Elif's journey together with Tibetan healers.
Being committed to give space and to create a platform for least represented filmmakers and languages of the world: from Tamazight, to Talangana to Tibetan and Haida (with only 20 people left speaking) ANCIENT FUTURES set it’s radical agenda to exist in a physical space in between the unknown sphere of the lockdowns. Our poster, a true work of art, has been designed once again by our one and only KAI MATHIESSEN the inspiring graphic artist of many talents and have been placed and highlighted all around the city by PASSIVE ATTACK 's tireless efforts.
With a brave attempt of making an actual grand opening in September 2020 we hosted a record number of people and ended up having probably one of the most bizarre scenes of cinema’s history ever;
Our beautiful audience with masks sitting next to each other:)
AIT ATTA: NOMADS OF THE HIGH ATLAS & OUR COMMON (S) FUTURE FORUM
Inanc Tekgüc the co-founder of KARMAMOTION collective together with Eda Elif Tibet are the co-directors of the film Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas which has become the opening film of ETHNOKINO's 8th Ethnographic Film Screening Programme ANCIENT FUTURES. Inanc Tekguc a digital nomad, flew from one lockdown to the other, from one quarantine to the next , taking multiple tests in each country from Cambodia to Vietnam, Cyprus to Basel and then finally into Bern, has made the impossible possible and arrived only a few hours before the screening. Accompanied by the delicious APERO made by Ali Baba's Baba Vegie Food whom makes the finest Mediterranean and Mesopotamian cuisine in town, our film screening was then followed by with an engaging forum on the Commons with researchers from the Institute of Geography (UniBe) Timothy Adams and Sebastian Boillat see the recording of the conversation
NIMAL'S HOME CINEMA
On October 15 we screened SONGS OF OUR SOIL by Mumbai-based filmmaker Aditi Maddali, a film on Uyyala Songs sang by woman farmers of Tenagana and on their role at the frontline of agrarian rights and agriculture futures. The screening itself, which has also been our last physical screening this season, took place in a somewhat unusual setting which is Nimal's Home Cinema in a former carpenter's workshop. This included the writing of a “Schutzkonzept” and the implementation of further precautionary measures. Additionally we offered our audience to either come to the cinema or to watch the film online and to join us nevertheless on the following up Q&A with the filmmaker.
Our virtual film screening and Q&A with Renata Keller has proved itself to be an inspiring one too, as participants asked for more, they did not want to leave the webinar. Hence in people’s request we formed an online solidarity reading group called “Self-Authorising Ourselves through Sisterhood: Exploring the Visionary Work of Gerda Lerner and Vimala Thakar” for 8 sessions. The discussions draw on Renata’s two recent films : WHY WOMEN NEED TO CLIMB MOUNTAINS and IN THE FIRE OF DANCING STILLNESS which became the major educational resources.
RITUALS OF RESISTANCE RESISTS TO GO ONLINE
One film we have been very keen on to screen but were not able to organise due to unfortunate follow up of circumstances ,have been RITUALS OF RESISTANCE. A film we have seen and fell in love with at Tibetan Film Festival in Zurich and have met Tenzin Phuntsong and Joy Dietrich in person. Yet we have collaborated actively with Tenzin’s Stateless Cinema Initiative and we are determined to screen one of Phuntsong's masterful films one day at ETHNOKINO.
After a long period chasing EDGE OF THE KNIFE ’s copyrights for a virtual screening we get a hold of both the film and the Haida actor William Russ a personality of much inspiration and talent, whom we met during RAI Bristol 2018. William was over Zoom with us whilst working on his day job to explain how the Haida has to struggle on a daily basis with marginalisation and emotional problems whom he assists with as a social worker aside to his acting career.
MASTERS IN BERN WITH NORIENT
In a collaboration with Norient Film Festival Bern Nimal and Valentina hosted the third master class. For this we have invited Roger Horn, a visual anthropologist whom lectures at the Visual & Media Anthropology MA program at HMKW Berlin. The master class looked into what kind of meaning creations could be made within a combination of various sources of audio, forms of representation, as well as found and self-recorded footage in critique of the colonial.
WHAT AN ENGAGED COLLECTIVE OF ANTHROPOLOGISTS CAN DO?
The world turning upside down, has taught us to be able to see with new eyes: the many new possibilities arising. Our cinemas were forcefully closed, but our homes instead became the cinema itself, where we have been able to host the whole world within. Covid taught us not to give up, to be resilient, to continue believing in visual anthropology that our world needs profound storytelling more than ever, and that sharing evocative stories have huge transformative potential. It taught us how important it is to stay together as a team although we were in distance at times disconnected but always in touch in mind and spirit. It taught us that one could remain immensely connected with the whole world although digitally and to form new alliances and connections in solidarity for giving further visibility to what is good and inspiring out there.
We are here and together, united and determined more than ever with more empathy and understanding to the world that is burning around and within. We are passionately driven into the restorative and transformative potential of our initiative.
In between all of this, we even managed to become an officially registered association in the city of Bern and we are looking forward to new companionships, engagements and partnerships, to continuously innovate to co-create inclusive culture spaces that are not into profiteering competition but are collaborative and transformative in nature. We are determined to see with new eyes each time we organise or curate an event and therefore we are completely ready to see the beyond and much much beyond, so do come and see with us in our first film festival "BEYOND ASYMMETRIES" that is due to happen less then in a month time (17-20 June 2021). Stay tuned and watch this space as much is coming up!!
*** ETHNOKINO ANCIENT FUTURES program has been funded with the generous support of WBK Kolleg 2020-2021.