Fogo Island Film 2018: Resistance and Resilience

Thursdays
May 10 to November 1
6:30 pm
Fogo Island Inn
Free and open to all

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Fogo Island Arts is proud to launch Fogo Island Film, a new program devoted to international films that consider the diversity of relationships between nature and society. The inaugural edition, Resistance and Resilience, will take place at the Fogo Island Inn cinema with free screenings and conversations from May through November 2018.

Fogo Island Film is dedicated to supporting independent and experimental film production and to participating in contemporary artistic and scientific debate that addresses nature and culture as an indivisible whole. Broaching themes of environmental degradation, the interconnectedness of species, geopolitical migration, the commodification of nature, Indigenous perspectives, social activism, as well as lives lived in deep connection with the natural world, the films question or condemn our actions, offer alternative perspectives and occasionally, suggest hope for a brighter future.

Fogo Island Film 2018: Resistance and Resilience is co-curated by researcher and theorist Goran Petrović Lotina and FIA Director of Programs and Exhibitions Alexandra McIntosh. 

PROGRAM

May 10 – Angry Inuk
Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. Canada, 2016, 85 min.

Seal hunting, a critical part of Inuit life, has been controversial for a long time. Now, a new generation of Inuit, armed with social media and their own sense of humour and justice, are challenging the anti-sealing groups and bringing their own voices into the conversation. Director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins her fellow Inuit activists as they challenge outdated perceptions of Inuit and present themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy.

May 24 – 24 Snow
Mikhail Barynin. Russia, 2015, 101 min.

Like a lone cowboy, Sergei passionately devotes his life to traditional horse breeding in the impenetrable Arctic Sakha; permafrost and the absence of roads, electricity and channels of communication mean that there is nobody else to rely on but oneself. Deeply respectful of nature and community, Sergei loves the independence and freedom this life brings, despite the immense sacrifices that it necessitates, such as total isolation and being a stranger to his own children. Spectacular camerawork characterizes the Sakha horses in all their magnificence, and juxtaposes post-soviet towns with boundless taiga landscapes.

June 26 – Wild Relatives
Jumana Manna. Germany / Lebanon / Norway, 2018, 70 min.
*Director will be present. Please note this film is on a Tuesday.

Deep in the earth beneath Arctic permafrost, seeds from all over the world are stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to provide a backup should disaster strike. Wild Relatives starts from an event that has sparked media interest worldwide: in 2012 an international agricultural research centre was forced to relocate from Aleppo to Lebanon due to the Syrian Revolution turned war, and began a laborious process of planting their seed collection from the Svalbard back-ups. Following the path of this transaction of seeds between the Arctic and Lebanon, a series of encounters unfold a matrix of human and non-human lives between these two distant spots of the earth.

July 12 – In Pursuit of Silence
Patrick Shen. USA, 2015, 91 min.

In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of silence and the impact of noise on our lives. The film takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe—from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of Mumbai, the loudest city on the planet—and inspires us to both experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

July 26 – STEM (Sound from the Tropical)
Lau Lasse. Denmark, 2017, 33 min.

STEM (Sound from the Tropical) is a film by Lasse Lau about the migration of plants and botanical gardens in decay. Years of neglect of Lisbon University’s Botanical Garden have created a romantic environment where the garden is slowly growing wild. The film investigates displacement in the migration and morphology of plants and explores some of the post-colonial environmental ramifications of transfer into the making of new subjectivities. The film offers insights from scholar James Clifford and soundscapes by Max Schneider.

The Screening
Ariane Michel. France, 2007, 24 min.

“Night-time in a forest. Owls, ferrets, foxes… The usual activities of animals are disrupted by rays of light: a group of humans. They gather in front of a white surface upon which shadows start to move.” This synopsis is both the narration of a performance, and the film it features. An audience is guided into a forest by torchlight. They sit in a glade, before a screen, and a film projection begins. At first reminiscent of a wildlife film, as it progresses a certain continuity with the truth emerges, along with the sense of watching oneself on-screen. The film is a mise en abyme; not quite a duplicate, it is rather a distorting mirror that subtly stretches reality from deep in the woods.

August 16 – Death by Design
Sue Williams. USA, 2016, 73 min.

In an investigation that spans the globe, filmmaker Sue Williams explores the underbelly of the electronics industry and reveals how even the smallest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. From the intensely secretive factories in China, to a ravaged New York community and the high tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the film tells a story of environmental degradation, of health tragedies, and the fast approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.

September 6 – Ama-San
Claudia Varejao. Portugal / Japan, 2016, 112 min.

A dive, the midday sunlight filtering down through the water. The air in her lungs has to last until she can dislodge the abalone from the rocks at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and finally resurface to breathe again. Without the help of a dive cylinder or any other apparatus to enhance her ability to stay underwater, her whole body is pushed to the limit. Dives like these have been carried out in Japan for over 2000 years by the Ama-San, which means literally ‘women of the sea.’ These women, who occupy a special place in Japanese culture, are at the same time revered and misunderstood.

October 11 – Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock
Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey. USA, 2017, 89 min.

In 2016 Standing Rock, North Dakota, become one of the most watched places on earth. The Water Protectors at Standing Rock captured world attention through their peaceful resistance. AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock tells the story of Native-led defiance that forever changed the fight for clean water, the environment, and the future of the planet. The film is a collaboration between Indigenous filmmakers, director Myron Dewey and executive producer Doug Good Feather, and Oscar-nominated environmental filmmakers Josh Fox and James Spione. It is a labour of love to support the peaceful movement of the Water Protectors.

November 1 – Silas
Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman. Canada / South Africa / Kenya, 2017, 80 min.

Liberian activist Silas Siakor is a tireless crusader, fighting to crush corruption and environmental destruction in the country he loves. Through the focus on one country, Silas is a global tale that warns of the power of politics and celebrates the power of individuals to fight back. One man’s battle gains momentum and emboldens communities to raise their fists and smartphones, seize control of their lands and protect their environment. It is a new generation of resistance.

*Program and dates subject to change. Special closing program to be announced.

ABOUT FOGO ISLAND FILM
Fogo Island Film expands upon the 2016-17 FIA Film series of socially and politically engaged film, and is equally inspired by Fogo Island’s longstanding relationship to film that emerged through the National Film Board of Canada’s (NFB) Challenge for Change program of the 1960s and 70s. A participatory project that used film as an instigator of social change, Challenge for Change led to the hugely influential Fogo Process films, which documented Fogo Islanders’ way of life and shared concerns, empowering communities to act together to determine their future.

Fogo Island Film foregrounds the art of film to challenge and evolve our relationship towards the natural world. For decades, nature and culture have been viewed as separate entities. Not only has nature been interpreted as an artifact produced by culture, but an artifact subordinated to market demands for natural resources. In recent years, we have begun to recognise that human action has caused immense damage to terrestrial, freshwater and ocean ecosystems and their inhabitants. A new form of ecological anthropology is devoted to the transformation of the view in which culture dominates nature, emphasizing that the whole of known history on earth reflects the co-existence of people and nature, and that both non-humans and humans belong equally to the global socio-cosmic community. Situated within this discourse, Fogo Island Film is motivated by the conviction that art plays an important role in rethinking and reinventing relationships between societies and the environment. Fifty years after Challenge for Change, Fogo Island Film reemphasizes the importance of film to Fogo Island with the equally significant task of researching new ways of connecting people and nature.

Conceived by Goran Petrović Lotina following his 2016 residency with FIA, Fogo Island Film offers ambitious programming and invited guests with the eventual goal of establishing a recurring film festival on Fogo Island. The festival will be dedicated to the same concept and enriched by two competitions to encourage new research and production.

Image: Claudia Varejao, Ama-San (2016), film still.