The nominees for New:Vision Award 2018 are..

Today we announce the nominated films for New:Vision Award 2018, which presents ground-breaking experiments in the area between documentary and artistic reflection.

The films are particularly characterised by being of an international and experimental character, as are the heritages of their directors. Some are known for their work with documentary film, others for their work in the art world. The nominees therefore reflect themselves best what the New:Vision competition is about, that is the examination of the distinctive field located between film and art.

The winner of New:Vision will be found by a jury and announced at CPH:DOX’s Award Ceremony on March 23 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg.

Tickets, screenings and more information can be found here.

Possessed

Rob Schröder, Vinca Kruk, Daniel van der Velden, Metahaven, International Premiere (Netherlands)

The internet alchemists Metahaven’s visual essay about the (a)social media’s occult force of attraction, set against a dark score by Laurel Halo.

Social media don’t deliver their promises. We don’t become more social by feeding our machines (and the media giants behind them) with pictures of ourselves. ‘Possessed’ is a visual diagnosis of the contemporary state of the hybrid digital space between the inside and outside spaces. An audiovisual essay by the Dutch Metahaven, who works across practices by giving the experience of life after the internet a critical, aesthetic form. The work is created in collaboration with the director Rob Schröder, and the result is a piece of pitch black psycho horror with an iconoclastic and almost occult, symbolic gravity. An isolated young woman (Olivia Lonsdale) conducts an enigmatic ritual, which both affirms technology’s dominance and negates it in an exorcistic protest against its origins: basically all technologies that infiltrate our lives today were developed by the military. The theoreticians Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek are contributors, and Laurel Halo has created the electronic score – and we can also enjoy her performing live at this year’s festival.

Wild Relatives

Jumana Manna, International Premiere (Lebanon, Germany)

Biodiversity and international politics from Lebanon to Svalbard in an original work with perspectives that reach far beyond the future of humanity.

Jumana Manna’s original and politically sensitive new work draws lines between three distant spots on the world map: Syria, Lebanon and Svalbard. The lines chart a route and a complex network of relationships. ‘Wild Relatives’ exposes the exchange of ecological currency between two of the world’s grain banks, which are the archives of the smallest basic ingredient of agriculture: the seed. Biodiversity, conflicts and international politics are parts of a game with perspectives reaching far out into the most distant future – and they are the basis for a funny and thought-provoking conversation between a priest and a scientist far out in the middle of nowhere. The protagonists in the game of the precious grains share a common understanding of the perspectives of their mission, which stretches beyond the unpredictable political present age that they are forced to navigate. Manna works in the field between documentary filmmaking and a research-based artistic practice, with a special eye for both human and abstract political relations.

Black Mother

Khalik Allah, International Premiere (Jamaica, United States)

Jamaica’s spiritual world of fantasy is conjured up in a hallucinatory mosaic, where the woman is the source of all things.

Jamaica is a place where religion, myths and raw reality meet in delirious contrast to each other. In ‘Black Mother’, the photographer and filmmaker Khalik Allah lets himself be drawn deep into the spiritual culture of the Caribbean island, where especially women play an ambiguous but fundamental role both as political subjects, as objects of desire and as the source of all things in old creation myths. Cinematic snapshots on both film and video form an almost hallucinatory mosaic, from the tough prostitutes in their own environment to an ecstatic prayer in church, and to the home of Allah’s big family. A radical film that challenges our Western perception, as it leads us into the world of Jamaica’s imagination. ‘Black Mother’ is a continuation of both Allah’s work as a photographer and of his film ‘Field Niggas’ about Harlem, but it also explores new avenues in the intersection between the two art forms – the static and the moving image – and mixes the political realism of social photography with filmmaking’s potential to create worlds between dream and reality.

The End of Fear

Barbara Visser, European Premiere (Netherlands)

Who is afraid of red, yellow and blue? A philosophical and aesthetically accomplished film about art and vandalism, and the murder of a painting in 1986.

In 1986, a man attacked a Barnett Newman painting at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam with a box cutter. An iconoclastic gesture and symbolic murder, which was caused by a hatred of modern, abstract art – and possibly by a hatred of ‘the elite’? The Dutch filmmaker Barbara Visser uses the vandalistic action to reflect on artistic value, politics and the return of a hatred of abstract art that we are experiencing these days, through a reproduction of the enormous work, which is ironically called ‘Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III’. Visser, who is an artist herself, hires a young artist to recreate Newman’s original painting. But the project turns out to be more demanding than any of them might have imagined. ‘The End of Fear’ is an elegant and philosophically original film, which presents its complex reflections with lightness and plenty of energy within the museum’s own white walls. And which speaks of both fear and hatred – of art and free expression – at a time when both are returning.

Saturday

Camille Henrot, World Premiere (France)

Premiere of a new 3D work by the French star artist Camille Henrot about a Christian movement.

The French visual artist Camille Henrot’s brand new 3D film investigates what the philosopher Ernst Bloch called the principle of hope, which structures our aspirations to achieve private utopias and radical change. ‘Saturday’ focuses on the evangelical Christian movement that calls itself the Seventh-day Adventists. A movement that holds a Sabbath and practices baptism rituals on Saturdays. Henrot combines scenes from SDA’s own venues with images of food, surfing and medical trials, and creates a parallel world of faith and the hope of a better life. Henrot is one of the great new names of contemporary art, and with his exhibitions and installations he has more precisely than any other artist managed to visualise the hybrid experience of contemporary life.

Slow Graffiti

Alex Da Corte, World Premiere (United States)

A surreal remake of Jørgen Leth’s classic ‘The Perfect Human’ with Frankenstein’s monster in an involuntary lead role.

‘Slow Graffiti’ is a remake of Jørgen Leth’s classic short film ‘The Perfect Human’ from 1967. Image by image. However, where the perfect human of Leth is presented with the aesthetic elegance of commercials and with loving irony, the American artist Alex da Corte mirrors him in Frankenstein’s monster – and in the monster’s melancholy, not least. ‘Slow Graffiti’ is a surreal reflection of perfection itself, and of how we mirror ourselves in the idea of the perfect, modern life. Silver cutlery and tuxedos are far from view in this carnevalesque film, whose favourite materials are latex, spray cans and white toast bread: ‘Today I have once more experienced something that I hope to understand in a few days.’

Who is afraid of Ideology?

Marwa Arsanios, World Premiere (Lebanon)

A portrait of guerilla ethics, examining the structures of self-governance, challenging the traditional documentary format.

Translations

Tinne Zenner, World Premiere (Greenland, Canada, Denmark)

Shot in Nuuk, Greenland the film focuses on the symbiosis of landscape and architecture, as well as glitches in translation of language and culture in a post-colonial modernity.

All Voices are Mine

Basir Mahmood, World Premiere (Pakistan)

A clear dream lit by daylight, where imagination itself becomes an active creator of the enigmatic and poetic work.

‘All Voices are Mine’ is a remake of a film that never got made in the first place. A film, for which the Pakistani artist Basir Mahmood’s father – a poet and journalist, who described the passage of life in the streets and alleys of Lahore in a local newspaper – had only written a melody, which Basir remembers listening to as a child. The film devotes its poetic attention to a series of scenes and details, which accumulate in an elliptical sequence of calm, dreamlike motifs. A clear dream lit by daylight. The weight of the bodies and the repetitions of the performers’ learned movements anchor Mahmood’s film in a physical reality, which is both intimate and mythical. A world where everything is possible, and where the story itself grows out of the void between the images. In other words, Mahmood not only works with his imagination. He makes it a co-creator of the work itself.

Word for Forest

Pia Rönicke, World Premiere (Denmark, Mexico)

The fine floral shades of a Mexican forest make room for reflection in a film about a single seeds journey from the Botanical Gardens to Oaxaca.

Pia Rönickes’ new work ‘Word for Forest’ records a seeds transfer from the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen to its original site of Santiago Comaltepec in the mountains of Oaxaca, where it was gathered by botanist Frederik Liebmann in 1842. The misty forest in this region has a particularly high biodiversity, special oaks and pines grow side by side. The forest is taken care of by a local community that has existed for a long time, but has not always had the right to cultivate the earth. The small differences in tone and dialect invites, together with the different varieties of the leafs, to a reflection of the fine nuances that have been a victim of the destructive modernism.

Cops are Actors

Tova Mozard, World Premiere (Sweden)

Authority and performance meet in a comic no-man’s-land outside Los Angeles, where three policemen show us what they have learned in Hollywood.

You have the right to remain silent. Three LAPD officers demonstrate how a real arrest should be conducted and how one enforces the law by every trick in the book. They know what they are talking about, as they have side jobs as Hollywood policemen alongside their proper jobs – as policemen. Authority and performance are inseparable entities in Tova Mozard’s minimalist and understated film, which is shot against a Beckettian backdrop in the desert outside Los Angeles. They take both their jobs just as seriously, and on top of that their sense of self is at stake. ‘Cops are Actors’ is an independent production commissioned by the festival’s own CPH:LAB, and takes a revised look at the relationship between fiction and reality in a new and absurd way: fiction is internalised while reality looks on from the sidelines.

The Disappeared

Gilad Baram & Adam Kaplan, International Premiere (Germany, Israel)

Propaganda disguised as entertainment in an action film produced by the Israeli army – in an iconoclastic (anti)film without images.

A few years ago, the Israeli army initiated the production of a patriotic action film with a Hollywood-sized budget. Hundreds of people were involved in the project, which behind the genre film was designed as propaganda aimed at a major taboo: the increasing number of suicides among soldiers. But the production collapsed under its own weight. The film was never completed, and it ended in a limbo of censorship. ‘The Disappeared’ is a radical, iconoclastic (anti)film that has no other images than the gritty noise from a VHS tape and sparkling subtitles, while the soundtrack gives us the film crew’s own story of what happened. Gilad Baram and Adam Kaplan return back to absolute zero – to the only thing that is left – namely the participants’ own experiences and words. Entertainment, propaganda and military interests: they all meet their complete opposite in ‘The Disappeared’, which ironically is named after the army’s original film project.