Open Call : MidEast Cut

International festival for alternative film and video

30 Jul 2008
25 Sep 2008

Copenhagen/Denmark & Helsinki/Finland 2009

Entries will be accepted from 30th July to 25th September, 2008. Download entire open call document HERE

The festival accepts submissions by independent, experimental film makers who provide insightful and innovative perspectives on world-issues of socio-political, historical and cultural nature related to the Middle East, Iran and Turkey. The festival is mainly looking for alternative film made by documentary makers, experimental short films and animation producers and artists who work with the Arab world as subject matter.

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During the last 20-30 years there has been a remarkable interaction in audiovisual culture between cinema, video, photography, animation, computer graphics, etc. As a result, margins are redrawn and ultimately abolished, trends and genres are integrated into one another, and a variety of technologies and methods are used within one framework.

One of the most popular expressions of this cross-media art is video making, which has won its autonomous position after having operated on the margins of the art society for decades. A current and popular development within alternative film stems from recent geo-political events around the world. These have led to widened awareness and resulted in independent electronic art produced mainly by film and video makers who have made the widespread usage of the (video) camera into a visual statement and an alternative to the information flow of the mainstream media.

It is an inventive force, which entails new uses of video and digital photography that revolutionize the human visual experience. The result is strong, artistic productions that tend to interact with the surroundings and commit themselves to complex contemporary political and socio-cultural issues. It also entails a new aesthetic, which is still finding its own vocabulary and rules of engagement with which to capture the attention of audiences, critics and experts worldwide.

Regardless of the booming popularity of this media among film makers, little is known about this alternative practice within film and video documentary. Audiences both in the West and in the East have only recently begun to be exposed to this new genre and a great number of such analytical and independent productions do not reach the general public.

Some of the most interesting productions are to be found in films of autobiographical nature and testimonial interviews of independent, investigational and educational nature. This includes issues like gender, identity, history and memory. It is our intention to articulate the aesthetic context of this type of alternative film making, explore its characteristics and scope, and display it to local and regional audiences.

Genres and Categories

The works submitted should fit into the genre of alternative / experimental short film, documentary and video. They must be of narrative character and deal with investigating, interventional socio-political criticism and social activism from or about Middle East, Iran and Turkey.

Submitted works must fit into one of the following categories:

1: Society monitoring - society documentation
2: Social concerns, activism and criticism

1: Society monitoring - society documentation
Film as a tool of study and research commenting on and recording social behaviour.
This type of sympathetic investigative alternative film represents the development of sociological and anthropological film as a new medium of documentation in social science. The essential stylistic features of this category also question the ethical and aesthetical responsibilities in film making. The category appreciates critical video works and documentation with references in sociology and demography, ethnology and anthropology.

2: Social concerns, activism and criticism
This category can be seen as a critique of ordinary documentary and standardized journalism in the Middle East, Iran and Turkey. The category can best be described as handycam citizen journalism. This new kind of film making is emerging as an alternative source of information and takes on many forms as has been manifested and celebrated on YouTube, bloggs and underground film festivals. Film makers within this category mean to balance the politicized, industrialised and standardized world wide journalism by revealing the actual events and actual voices of the streets. The category marks the birth of a new, uncontrollable era of information, and the end of fashionable journalism reporting. Though it seems as an unbalanced struggle over power, film makers who deal with social concerns are gaining ground and slowly winning over the manipulative media co-operations.

Khaled Ramadan: Artistic director
Larissa Sansour: Curator
Nanice Labib: Curator
Stine Høxbroe: Project coordinator
Amir Zainorin: Assistance
Jakob Falk: Assistant
Samaira Ali: Coordinator, assistant
Sawsan Kassis: Assistant
Susanne Russell: Arranger, conference coordinator