Explore the fascinating world of experimental film!

Teams organising autumn film festivals keep busy even in the summer months, diligently working on their programme to produce an ever richer and more attractive film offer. This is also the case of Jihlava IDFF which is presenting its first edition of the Fascinations conference dedicated to the distribution and promotion of experimental films.

Ever since its foundation, Jihlava IDFF has regarded experimental filmmaking as an irreplaceable part of its packed festival programme. For many years, the film section Fascinations has been luring visitors to the darkness of small screening venues, inviting them to explore the so-far unknown sensory dimensions of the film world. At the same time, Jihlava’s Fascinations section is renowned for unexpected performances of experimental makers and film Master Classes by the most prominent film experimenters. Last year, Jihlava’s screening venues hosted, among others, the acclaimed Austrian avant-garde filmmaker – Peter Tscherkassky whose lecture on his film Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine can be watched for free using the link below; the experimental work itself that premiered at the prestigious festival in Cannes can be found in our catalogue.

However, in the context of the festival world and film distribution in general, experimental film is not automatically paid as much attention as it naturally given in Jihlava. On the contrary – experimental cinematography is relegated to its fringes, trying to find channels to reach specific audiences. Nevertheless, these particular channels often open the way for experimental pioneers and gradually become strategically integrated into most common distribution spheres. What are the means employed by experimental film distribution platforms? What are their specifics as opposed to mainstream film industry? And what impact did the emergence of new media have on the experimental film world?

Find out the answers to these and other questions at the first edition of the Fascinations conference, organised under curatorship of the film theorist and author Andrea Slováková. This one-day conference that will take place on October 28 as part of the Jihlava IDFF will offer the chance to learn more about the experience of experts closely related to experimental film distribution. The meeting will host representatives of countries and organisations that have in many respects become the pioneers in the field of experimental film distribution. These will include guests from the USA, Canada, Austria, France and the Netherlands.

A media art development platform existing for over four decades – Electronic Arts Intermix EAI – will be presented in Jihlava by its Distribution Director, Rebecca Cleman. The company whose reputation has strongly resonated throughout the art scene ever since its foundation in 1971, currently boasts of a rich catalogue of artists, including the key discipline – video art represented by names such as Nam June Paik and Vito Acconci, renowned performers Marina Abramović and Joseph Beyus and contemporary filmmakers balancing on the borderline between video, experimental and documentary works, most notably Shelly Silver. Aside from its extensive catalogue of works and their authors, EAI has been noted for its expert knowledge of the media art world. It has published a valued online guide to the world of media arts, comprising basic information regarding the work with the individual media and recommendations for their installation, maintenance and distribution. A special mention should also be made of their elaborated member base system, used by the platform to raise funds for its activities.

A strong avant-garde Austrian tradition will be represented by Brigitta Burger-Utzer, director of the distribution company, Sixpack film, which was co-founded in 1990 also by the aforementioned Peter Tscherkassky. In addition to fulfilling its primary goal consisting in the dissemination and promotion of Austrian film and video art especially at film festivals, the company has been successfully producing its own DVD collection entitled Index and organising regular public programmes – museum and cinema screenings and exhibitions.

Last but not least, the conference will feature a presentation by the French Collectif Jeune Cinema, an organisation with an impressive history and long-term experience, originally inspired and influenced by the “father” of experimental filmmaking, Jonas Mekas, and systematically mapping out experimental cinematography since 1971. The current team at CJC focuses, above all, on the production of their own festival – Different and Experimental Cinema Festival of Paris and the preparation of numerous independent screening projects. It has also initiated the publication of Étoilements magazine and has been organising expert workshops. The collective’s scope of activities also includes an online presentation of selected works comprised in its distribution catalogue.

You can find out more about the ten participating guests and companies (Electronic Arts Intermix EAI, V-tape, Sixpack film, Filmmakers Coop, CFMDF, LightCone, EYE Experimental, Collectif Jeune Cinema, L U X and AV-arkki) on the festival’s website, where you can also register as conference participants for free until September 15.

Take the unique chance to look behind the experimental film screen and explore the fascinating world of experimental docs at the 19th Jihlava IDFF!


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