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