Friday, 31 October 2008

Interview with Murali Nair on "The crossing"



First of all, we would like to ask you where the story that you tell in your movie comes from.
I am living in an area of India called Hyderabad, which is witnessing a huge development. This is one of the key centres of IT growth in India. I see mountains being carved out and blasted to make way for huge western-style buildings and malls. I also see the native farming population squeezed in between these high profile hectic activities. On a daily basis I witness these cultural conflicts in front of my eyes. So it is just natural I decided to reflect these experiences in a film. 
With regard to the topic that was given to you, which aspect struck you the most? Are there ways in which you were already addressing it in your work? 
I have been always attracted to social themes, especially connected to rural communities. Having been brought up in a rural farming community, I can very well relate to their experiences. I feel totally upset about traditional ways of life being forcefully taken away from these communities. I see this as a cultural massacre in the name of development. By not finding a balance between development and traditions, we are digging our own graves. Hence the topic of “development” is most important for me.
I am currently working on an installation based on the life of thousands of farmers who were led to suicide because of the wrong economic policies of the governments.
Human rights are real, something you can feel on your skin, and not something abstract. In a film, the artist and director – just like the poet – creates a personal universe that is drawn from his or her own life in one way or another. Can you help us understand the link between your short film and the experiences that led you to make it?
I don’t think an artist can create an art form in vacuum. I really wish I can shut my eyes against all these serious issues that happen around me and create a “shining India” in my imaginary world. But somehow I fail to do it. I feel I am to certain extent responsible and I also feel I should at least react by my own medium. So in a way what I am doing is creating my own art-piece, but certainly using the colours taken from the palette of life around me.
For this particular film, the “seed” came as a spark while I was driving through one of these roads in a by-lane that leads to a highly developed software park. Suddenly there were a lots of buffaloes on the road. A farmer was taking them to the lake nearby. All these big big cars suddenly stopped in front of this buffalo, that moves at a very slow pace. Suddenly I wondered if this was a real buffalo or a 3D buffalo! From this seed the crossing started.
We think that culture in general and cinema in particular can help people to better understand the importance of human rights in their own lives. What do you want to provoke in the wider public with your film?
It is extremely important for any community or individual to be able to appreciate the Human Rights values. Any sensible civilisation can be built only based on these values. In a contemporary Indian situation where the development is happening at an unforeseen pace, the values represented by the agrarian communities are totally ignored for the benefit of a new class. This affects cultural balance. After all the most important thing India has to offer to the world is its cultural diversity and I feel this is under threat of the unbalanced development. It might have far reaching effects. I would only like the public to understand that there is a high cost for these homogenization efforts.
In most of the films created for this project, we see signs of clashes deriving from cultural diversity or caused by limitations imposed on individuals that curtail their freedom in different ways. What do you think is the reason for that?
This is very interesting. Long time ago,  when we were tribes, we certainly had boundaries, but we respected each other’s boundaries. We respected each other’s values, and hence we survived all these efforts by the conquerors and we still maintained our own self-designed values. But now we have a situation where we are taught that all these are wrong and the answer is in homogenization and not in diversity. These teaching comes with a force. We all know that if something is given in force we rebel against it! As a gesture, we are given rights and boundaries by the majority communities. Yes, you have freedom, but the freedom that we give you. The tribal mind will certainly find it difficult to accept this generosity and will rebel against the force with which their rights are taken away. This is what we see as a clash. Is this clash important? Yes, it is: for the people who can benefit out of it.
In short, the reason for such themes is that there is tremendous pressure on an individual from establishments to renounce their own identity and be something else. Governments want them to be as tax paying, consumer objects who shouldn’t have any rights, Business establishments want them to be as slaves who can be happy in being a temporary worker for life with no rights etc. With an onslaught of global capitalism, the situation is pretty bad. An individual is seriously under pressure to renounce his identity and his tribal character is defending it and still wants to be free. What you are getting as themes are the cries of freedom of these unhappy souls dreaming about their lost identity!  Any socially responsible artiste at any time of catastrophe has done the same thing. Thank you for being a window to let this hot air come out!
This project involves artists and directors, people who usually work with very different languages. What do you think are the differences between artists and directors in their approach to the creative process?
I am a positive person. I never look for the differences!! I will leave you to do this!!
All I can see is unifying factors… Perhaps I am interested only in these!
I decide what I see!
Now let’s talk a bit about you. Who is Murali Nair?
I personally don’t know who am I? Who am I?
I would like to say that he is a wonderful person, very innocent while sleeping, little bit selfish while awake, and pretty lonely in between. He is guaranteed to live 100 years more and I can assure you he will never be made again. Limited edition art work!

All I know is that he cannot think of life without making films. Ever since he got into making films, he thoroughly enjoyed it (but at the expense of other's happiness!).

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Everything is ready in Sao Paolo



Prezada Adelina,
Com grata satisfação a cumprimentamos pela produção do filme "Stories on Human Rights". Trata-se de uma obra valiosa sob vários aspectos. O primeiro a ressaltar é a qualidade artística de todos os 22 curtas metragens que integram o trabalho. São curtas que, além da beleza estética, possibilitam, como obras de arte que são, inúmeras leituras ao encerrar multiplos significados  - cada um deles a ser descoberto e enriquecido pela subjetividade e identidade de cada espectador. 
Acreditamos que é justamente aí que reside o valor de uma obra de arte. Em vez da obviedade, própria aos discursos mais autoritários e hemérticos, a arte possibilita um espaço de elaboração para o espectador o que a enriquece como instrumento de diálogo e encontro de subjetividades. Um outro aspecto a ressaltar nessa realização, são as oportunidades que serão geradas para a promoção e sensibilização de temas tão valiosos à promoção humana. Questões como identidade cultural, liberdade de expressão,  preconceito, descriminação, relação responsável com o meio ambiente e outras são clamadas em todo o filme. Isso, certamente, em escolas, centros culturais ou centros comunitários poderá despertar e alimentar intensos debates. 
Evidentemente que serão debates não movidos por dogmatismos, mas pela complexidade própria às ações provocadas pela arte, que mesclam emoção e subjetividades e que, efetivamente, podem promover mudanças de atitudes.
Assim, não podemos deixar de manifestar nossa satisfação em integrar esse projeto, que não se encerra com a finalização e estréia do filme, mas com as diversas ações que serão geradas e multiplicadas a partir de sua distribuição para os mais diversos públicos.
Esta mesma mensagem, com o mesmo conteúdo, será enviada a você pelo correio.

um abraço

Danilo Santos de Miranda
Diretor Regional do SESC - SP 

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Success in Tokyo


Dear ART for The World, 
Our Festival has just closed on Sunday.
The screening of "Stories on Human Rights" has successfuly accepted by the festival audience.
Mr.  Jodice's speech was full of intelligence and passion. After the screening Mr. Jodice was surrounded by youg Japanese enthusiastic sutudents.
I thank you all for your cooperation to realize this occasion. 
Bests,
Fumihito TANAKA

Monday, 27 October 2008

Fabiana de Barros and Michel Favre, ULTRA STOP at the Assab One


ART for The World substains the exhibition of Michel Favre and Fabiana de Barros at Assab One in Milan. Always involved and concerned with the values promoted by ART for the World, they realize a reflection on the topic of memories.
Opening : Monday 27.10.2008 
7 p.m. 
Ex stabilimenti GEA
via Assab, 1
20132 Milano
www.assab-one.org

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Stories on Human Rights at the Tokyo Film Festival

Tomorrow evening at 21.50 in Toho Cinemas Rappongi Hills Screens during the Tokyo film festival, a selection of 13 Films from "Stories on Human Rights" will be presented. The projection will be introduced by the well-known italian photographer and artist Francesco Jodice.
The movie "A Water Tale" by Francesco Jodice is considered worldwide a real masterpiece.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

"A Boy, a Wall and a Donkey" and "N'Dimagou" in Beirut


In addition to the short films directed by young filmmakers, the festival of Beirut has chosen to screen 2 films from the project "Stories on Human Rights" by ART for The World, including Palestinian filmmakers Hany Abu Assad’s with "A Boy, a Wall and a Donkey" (Arab Premiere) and the Mauritanian Abderrahmane Sissako’s with "N'Dimagou" (World Premiere).

Monday, 20 October 2008

Special Mention for Bram Schouw at the Amsterdam Film Festival

We are very happy to announce that one of our short-movie IMPASSE by the young Dutch filmmaker Bram Schouw has received The Special Mention for the Best International Short Film from the Jury of the International Amsterdam Film Festival.
IMPASSE is co-produced with hazazaH film & photography, Amsterdam, and is one of the 23 short movies of STORIES ON HUMAN RIGHTS produced by Art for the World for the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with the support of the European Union and other donors ( see www.artfortheworld.net).

Friday, 17 October 2008

Everything is ready for Sao Paolo




ART for The World will bring from November 2008- February 2009 SESC Pinheiros in Sao Paolo a selection of the Robert Wilson's VOOM Portraits.  

This video portrait series takes a minimalist approach but in a more theatrical setting punctuated by Wilson’s iconic lighting and high production values. Portraits are infused with source materials found in the history of painting, design, dance, theater, photography, television, film, and contemporary popular culture. What is especially unique about these portraits is how Wilson situates the subject in a highly constructed or appropriated narrative. Ranging from historical to referential to serious to abstract, these portraits are always poetic biographies of their subjects.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Interview with Zhang Ke Jia on "Black Breakfast"




First of all, we would like to ask you where the story that you tell in your movie comes from.
My hometown is Shanxi, which is the most important coal production area in China. In the recent five years, the mass crazy coal mining caused serious environmental problems, the most serious of which is the release of toxic air produced by coking enterprises. As a result, the air quality in this area was damaged to a great extent. In my hometown, the bus stop signboards are oil painted and need to be changed every three months, since the acid elements in the air lead to the paint corrosion of those signboards, which makes them totally unrecognizable. Once thinking of environmental protection, I will remember this issue.
 With regard to the topic that was given to you, which aspect struck you the most? Are there ways in which you were already addressing it in your work?
Like the country I live in, the rapid economic growth in many areas is accompanied with the sacrificing of the environment. The faster the economic developed, the worse the environmental damaged. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small number of people, but the bad natural environment is in front of each individual. This is a human rights question amplified from environmental protection. In 2005, I began to face the environmental problems in China when I shot Still Life, a film based on the greatest irrigation project in China: The Three Gorges. In the almost one year’s shooting, I witnessed the immigration of 1,000,000 people forced by the change of environment, and the frequent geological damages like debris flow caused by the rising water level. That was the first time I faced the environmental problems during working.
Human rights are real, something you can feel on your skin, and not something abstract. In a film, the artist and director – just like the poet – creates a personal universe that is drawn from his or her own life in one way or another. Can you help us understand the link between your short film and the experiences that led you to make it?
In Sichuan province of China, a big earthquake happened recently took almost 100,000 people away. Of course, earthquake is a kind of natural disaster that people cannot resist, but the long term poverty stressed the impact brought by the disaster. For instance, poverty produced the poor quality buildings. Especially those collapsed in this earthquake were unqualified. It is important to maintain respect for human rights in daily life. The observation to human rights should be continual but not be temporary, and this kind of observation will become a part of my experience.
We think that culture in general and cinema in particular can help people to better understand the importance of human rights in their own lives. What do you want to provoke in the wider public with your film?
I would like to use the film to let the public reconsider their own human rights condition, and arouses more consciousness about rights.
In most of the films created for this project, we see signs of clashes deriving from cultural diversity or caused by limitations imposed on individuals that curtail their freedom in different ways. What do you think is the reason for that?
Actually clash always exists. In China, the extreme of the economy covers up the relatively conservative politics. From the global point of view, the globalization covers up the cultural differences from each place.
This project involves artists and directors, people who usually work with very different languages. What do you think are the differences between artists and directors in their approach to the creative process?
I don’t think there is any difference.
Now let’s talk a bit about you. Who is Zhang Ke Jia?
Jia Zhang Ke, born in Shanxi Province of China in 1970, year of the Cultural Revolution in China. In 1977 I was studying in Primary 1, that year China entered the age of Deng Xiaoping. In 1989 I graduated from high school, that year Tiananmen Incident happened in China. Now, I make films.