HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Berlin Documentary Forum # 1

02 - 06 Jun 2010

New Practices across Disciplines

The BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM is a new programmatic initiative at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. It is an interdisciplinary festival showcasing visual, audiovisual and performative works from all over the world. It is also the first festival to stage a forum that debates the contemporary documentary as a politically committed form of representation.

With Catherine David, Okwui Enwezor, Omer Fast, Angela Melitopoulos, Rabih Mroué, Florian Schneider, Eyal Sivan and many others. Artistic Director: Hila Peleg

The BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM's goals is to encourage and host diverse works and discourses involving filmmakers, audience, intellectuals and artists from various disciplines. It is not merely another festival serving as a marketplace for the field of documentary films, but rather a forum focusing on reflection, mediation, meaning and debate.

The BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM takes the works that are usually pushed to the margins and places them at the center. Experimental and combined forms of documentary as well as documentary theory are no longer a sideshow, but the main event.

The program will examine documentary practice by questioning the means and methods of representation, the construction of historical narratives, and the fictional element involved in mediating the experiences of others. This examination will contribute to a re-evaluation of what constitutes normality, reality and truth – be it historical, cultural or social. It will highlight the importance of media education and aesthetic-philosophical reflection in a world in which reality is never a static given, but always a complex set of relations.

BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM #1, the first edition of this biennial event, will feature five days of thematic programs, conceived and developed by a group of international filmmakers, artists and theoreticians, including the following special contributions:

“Documentary Moments”, a program of public talks and screenings curated by the filmmaker Eyal Sivan, traces and re-defines the history of documentary practice as seen and narrated by its protagonists. The first chapter of ‘Documentary Moments’ serves as homage to a generation of extremely influential artists - filmmakers at the forefront of cinematic movements such as nouvelle vague, cinema verité and direct cinema, who continue to take part in the major debates concerning documentary practice and language.

The filmmaker, writer and curator Florian Schneider initiated a long-term research project on “Political Documentary Films for German Television from 1965 to 1985”. This widespread exciting production was never presented at festivals, nor placed into cinemas or distribution. In the framework of BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM those works will become accessible and critically evaluated in light of the present concerns. The program will rediscover the life work of a range of German filmmakers, beginning with the presentation of four films by Michael Mrakitsch.

The “Möglichkeitsraum” (Realm of the Possible) is a temporary performance and lecture platform for archives, documents, and films, created by the artist Angela Melitopoulos. These performances will be developed with two cultural researchers, Brian Holmes and Bettina Knaup, and will focus on moments in the history of media activism from the 60’s to the present.

The curator and art historian Okwui Enwezor will present Rules of Evidence: Text, Voice, Image, an interdisciplinary program which will examine the notions of testimony and witnessing, and their materialization into documentary objects. The overall objective of the project is to transform the zone of evidence into a performative area.

Additional contributions by Catherine David, Omer Fast, Rabih Mroué and many others will be included in the program of BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM #1, which will be announced in April 2010.

A video recording of all the festival live events will be broadcast on the BERLIN DOCUMENTARY FORUM ONLINE TV. This online portion of the project will be launched in March 2010 with a trailer.

Tags: Catherine David, Okwui Enwezor, Omer Fast, Angela Melitopoulos, Rabih Mrouè