FILMING FUTURES

In these times of radical uncertainty and crisis, we at the FREIBURGER FILMFORUM- FESTIVAL OF TRANSCULTURAL CINEMA, together with Emergent Futures CoLab, are exploring ways in which film and multimodal projects might provide us with opportunities to intervene, provoke and/or collaborate around imagining and performing new futures. 

For our 20th festival edition (May 11- May 21, 2023), we will bring you an exciting line-up of films and multimodal outputs which question our understanding of time, linear storytelling, collaboration and activism in a forum setup. These works will be screened in a special program accompanied by a panel discussion titled “Film, Multimodality and Future-making Methodologies”. Filmmakers, artists and researchers who deal with narratives, imaginations and visions of future(s) - including those beyond visual anthropology and academic circles - are invited to apply.

Call for Films

Filmmakers, artists and researchers have recently been exploring how “preferred” futures might emerge through the collaborative micro-political processes that account for sensory experience - e.g., imagination, hope and anticipation - which are inscribed in the uncertainty of the present (Salazar, Pink and Sjöberg 2017; Culhane and Elliott 2017). For this special program, we are seeking films and other audio, visual and digital outputs where participants collaborate to imagine, perform and/or film their imagined futures through artistic practices such as improvisation. We believe that such filmmaking and multimodal methodologies might allow us to try out different future scenarios, navigating the possible and impossible (Cubero & Sjöberg 2021), especially as we face all sorts of rising threats: the COVID-19 pandemic, ultranationalism, fascism, climate genocide, digital colonialism, etc. (Kazubowski-Houston and Nayyar 2021).

We are looking for works which explore temporality, utopia/dystopia, and alternative futures using distinct methods of storytelling, including, but not limited to, Ethnofiction, (social) science fiction or immersive methods (Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality / 360 / iDocs). How can such methods help to create what visual anthropologist Johannes Sjöberg calls “temporal proximity” (Cubero & Sjöberg 2021), whereby the “far-away” is linked to the “here & now”, making the future tangible and thus prompting us to act? Filmmaking and multimodal methods are not collaborative by default, and collaboration often involves negotiating varying interests and conflicting agendas (Nayyar & Kazubowski-Houston 2020). 

Therefore, in this kind of work, a high level of trust and willingness to experiment and improvise must exist between the collaborators, to ensure that the output does not end up being a totalitarian act by the filmmaker/artist/researcher. As such, we invite films and works of collaborative art which speak to the frictions of negotiation, reveal contradictory and contentious narratives, and make these processes transparent. Furthermore, we welcome submissions that challenge us to decolonize our relationship to time in the context of certain power structures, for instance, in the case of activist approaches like Afro-, Indigenous, and queerfeminist futurisms. 

We are excited to receive films and multimodal outputs that highlight how collaborators are critically gesturing towards decolonizing imagination in their work on speculative futures. How can we imagine differently and co-create films or multimodal outputs that challenge narratives of the future produced by capitalist and xenophobic media ecologies? How can we create a space where dreaming and envisioning the future iterations of “the good life” move beyond predominant neo-capitalist narratives? How do ethno/social science fiction films challenge our notion of temporality? How might participating in such projects create a space for activism, healing, and speculating futures? How are experiences of the past reflected in the way one imagines the future?

Submission Guidelines

Films and Multimodal Works
We invite works that explore the future and dare to experiment with different modes of representation. There are no limitations in terms of length or format - we welcome a variety of formats, including but not limited to film, VR, AR, 360, iDoc, sound installations, and photography projects. Kindly submit your film or multimodal output through FilmFreeway.

Optional: Participation in Panel Discussion
If you would like to additionally participate in our panel discussion titled “Film, Multimodality and Future-making Methodologies,” please provide us with a bio (max 50 words) and short abstract (150 - 200 words) where you describe your filmmaking and multimodal methodologies as they relate to future-making. Kindly submit this information by filling this Google form by November 15, 2022.

Emergent Futures CoLab, Rajat Nayyar, Rana El Kadi & Freiburger Filmforum