Each year, the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar nominates a new curator who will have the unique chance to select and present a comprehensive week-long film program. John Gianvito curated an explicit political selection in 2003 with the inconspicuous title “Witnessing the World.”
“As the disparity between rich and poor exponentially widens, and the leveraging of concentrated power is placed in the hands of fewer and fewer people, the planet confronts a laundry list of perils the scale of which is apt to leave the most stalwart activist awestruck and mute. And, more parochially, the question arises – what is a filmmaker to do? (…) If John Dewey’s assessment was correct that ‘Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business,’ then these are films seeking to pierce the murk, sparking and splaying all kinds of interesting new light” (John Gianvito, seminar catalogue).
Gianvito’s films breathe with this activist approach, combined with the awareness of a true cineaste. The cinematic form of his films is extracted from the subject matter and is more than just a conventional envelope. In his masterclass, Gianvito will present several excerpts from his films and his work in the collective project FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN. He will also explore and discuss a spectrum of film aesthetics that trace the history and spirit of committed filmmaking from the past to the present.

John Gianvito is a filmmaker, curator and film critic. He studied at CalArts and MIT Boston. He has also taught film production and film history at various universities. In 2001, he was appointed a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. For five years, he was the programmer at the Harvard Film Archive. He served on the board of directors of the Flaherty Seminar 2009-13, where he is still a member of the advisory board. At present, he is Professor of Film at Emerson College, Boston.
John Gianvito made his first feature film in 1983 (THE FLOWER OF PAIN), but soon turned to essay and documentary works. THE MAD SONGS OF FERNANDA HUSSEIN (2001) is an essayistic feature about the US during the Persian Gulf War. In his shortest film, PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND (2007, 58 min), he brings the audience face to face with numerous memorial plaques that commemorate historic revolts (and massacres) and that stand for the struggle against the loss of national memory. He then worked for years on two expansive projects about the health and environmental damage caused by the US military bases in the Philippines in VAPOR TRAIL (CLARK) (2010, 264 min) and WAKE: SUBIC (2016, 277 min). FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN (2012) is a collective work in which Jon Jost, Soon-Mi Yoo, Minda Martin, Travis Wilkerson and Gianvito each realized their own take on the war in Afghanistan and its meaning for the American people.

Bezness as Usual

Karim Alexander Pitstra
Niederlande 2016 | 93 Min. | OmeU
Do, 25.05.2017 13:30
“I had no idea what to expect. Maybe my father was a member of the Taliban, living in a mud hut, deep in the desert, surrounded by goats.” Etwa 25 … mehr

Programm I: Rituale, Klage, Ekstase

Italien 1958-66 | Gesamtlänge: 81 Min. | OmeU, OmU
Do, 25.05.2017 15:15
STENDALI Italien 1960 / 11 Min. / .mp4 (Archivio Cinema del Reale) / OmeU Regie: Cecilia Mangini; Musik: Egisto Macchi; Text: Pier Paolo Pasolini Die Rekonstruktion eines traditionellen Trauerrituals von Bäuerinnen … mehr

The War Show

Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon
Finnland, Syrien 2016 | 104 Min. | OmeU
Mi, 24.05.2017 10:00
Do, 25.05.2017 18:00
Obaidah Zytoon legt in ihrer Live-Radio-Sendung den Sound zur syrischen Revolution auf. So beginnt im März 2011 ihre persönliche Reise ins Ungewisse, voller Hoffnung und mit ungebremster Energie. Als Erzählerin … mehr

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck
Belgien, Frankreich, Schweiz, USA 2016 | 93 Min. | OmeU
Do, 25.05.2017 20:30
Kurz vor seinem Tode 1979 verfasst James Baldwin einen Textentwurf, der sein Leben als homosexueller Schriftsteller im Kontext der schwarzen Bürgerrechtsbewegung in der Rückschau reflektiert und verortet. Die 30 bislang … mehr

Letter from Korlai

Aman Wadhan
Indien 2016 | 22 Min. | OF
Do, 25.05.2017 22:15
In Letter from Korlai, grainy 16mm images and a voice reading a fictional letter unfold a phantasmagoric, indeterminate space. The images of the village of Korlai on India’s Konkan coast … mehr

These Objects, Those Memories

Roger Horn
Südafrika 2017 | 29 Min. | OmeU
Do, 25.05.2017 22:15
How can you keep your most precious memories, when everything is left behind? Working in Cape Town, South Africa, three migrant women from Zimbabwe found a keeper of their past … mehr

Who Is Your Grandfather?
(Y yaab la a boê?)

Rikisaburo Sato, Sunjha Kim
Deutschland 2016 | 24 Min. | OmeU
Do, 25.05.2017 22:15
During an annual Mossi people ritual, which takes place in Oueguedo in Burkina Faso, stories of the ancestors are told in drum language. “Who is your grandfather?” cries the master … mehr