Open City Documentary Festival

Combined Programme 1

Date
Event has passed
 
Location
Genesis Cinema
 

This combined programme includes recent work by Kiran Kaur Brar, Onyeka Igwe, Suneil Sanzgiri, Shireen Seno, Hope Strickland. 

Letter From Your Far-Off Country
Suneil Sanzgiri | 2020 | USA | 17’ | digital

Incorporating a range of digital and analogue material including video newsreel, 3D maps of Kashmir’s mountains and on-screen text message exchanges with his father – all rendered onto expired 16mm film stock – Sanzgiri’s film essay searches for solidarity in the sounds and colours of the spontaneous Muslim women-led Shaheen Bagh movement in Delhi, the song of Iqbal Bano, the theatre of Safdar Hashmi, and images of B. R. Ambedkar – the radical anti-caste Dalit intellectual and founder of the Indian constitution. Centred around letters written to a distant relative, Sanzgiri traces lines and lineages of ancestral memory, poetry, history, songs, and ruins from his birth in 1989.

Boots on Ground
Kiran Kaur Brar | 2021 | UK | 8.46’ | digital

Boots on Ground is an autobiographical account of a second-generation British South Asian woman’s experiences with the police, racism and violence in London. Presented in split-screen, mobile phone footage captured during protests in the summer of 2019 show the legs and feet of police officers patrolling the area around Buckingham Palace and The Houses of Parliament in indiscernible formations. Kiran Kaur Brar’s spoken narration describes a disturbing personal chronology of police violence and racial discrimination, beginning in her childhood in the 1980s and eventually converging with the day of filming.

To Pick a Flower
Shireen Seno | 2021 | Philippines | 17’ | digital

This video essay centres around the formation of Kolambugan, a lumber town established by an American businessman in the Philippines, and that takes its name from the tree species which grows prominently in the surrounding area. Shireen Seno incorporates archival photographs from the American Colonial Era (1898-1946) to explore the roots and growth of photography and capitalism in the Philippines. “There’s a tension to image-making that makes it so interesting – to keep moments of life with you, but in doing so, perhaps you also take something away from them. As a friend once said to me, it’s kind of like picking a flower: it’s beautiful and you want to take it, but you’re killing it at the same time. The camera enables us to straddle that fine line between life and death.” (Shireen Seno)

If I could name you myself (I would hold you forever)
Hope Strickland | 2021 | UK | 8’ | digital

“Cotton is a plant with connotations that far surpass its delicate white flowers, bringing to mind issues of enforced labour, of exploitation, and of colonialism. Yet the very crop, for which creole women were forced into labour, offered a form of herbal resistance: cotton root bark could be used as birth control. Herbal knowledge, carefully gathered and held, was used amongst the women to defy a lineage of servitude. Beneath the inherent violence of the slave economic system, we find quiet resistance and moments of deep, loving rebellion. If I could name you myself (I would hold you forever) is in memoriam of this legacy.”  (Hope Strickland)

a so-called archive
Onyeka Igwe | 2020 | UK | 19’ | digital

Onyeka Igwe’s a so-called archive combines footage shot within the former sites of the Nigerian Film Unit (1932–1955) on Ikoyi Road, Lagos and The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum (2002-2009) in Bristol Temple Meads. Igwe considers the visual and material residue of Empire, incorporating distinctive soundscapes, choral arrangements, a museum tour guide, and a radio play to imagine films that have been “lost” from both of these colonial archives.

Followed by a conversation with Kiran Kaur Brar, Onyeka Igwe and Hope Strickland


Hope Strickland is an artist-filmmaker and visual anthropologist from Manchester, UK. Her research and practice is concerned with archival response, black feminist thought and postcolonial ecologies with an emphasis on collaboration and an ethics of care. Hope’s work has been screened at a variety of international ethnographic film festivals including Athens Ethnographic Film Festival, the Nordic Anthropological Film Association Festival and the Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival with the American Anthropological Association.

Through resilience and playfulness, Kiran Kaur Brar is interested in questioning assumptions about progress and power and the social, political and ideological systems that narrate them. Using photography, video, performance, text and collage, she attempts to resist formulas and aesthetic continuity. She is particularly interested in exploring the possibilities offered by site specificity to link the micro politics of the exhibition space/institution to the macro politics of the wider world. The visual language she employs is influenced by the context that she is responding to. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins and Chelsea College of Art and Design, Kiran has had the opportunity to develop her practice through various contexts such as international residencies, commissions and collaborations, as well as exhibit in shows including Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2006 (Rochelle School London and The Coach Shed Liverpool), Intrude 366 (Zendai MOMA, Shanghai), Journeys With No Return, (Akbank Istanbul Biennal Parallel Event, Rochelle School London, Galerie Kurt-Kurt Berlin), Frictive Familiarities, (Biografteantern Rio, Stockholm).

Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between cinema and installation. She is born and based in London, UK. In her non-fiction video work Onyeka uses dance, voice, archives, sound design and text to create structural ‘figure-of-eights’, a format that exposes a multiplicity of narratives. The work comprises of untieable strands and threads, anchored by a rhythmic editing style, as well as close attention to the dissonance, reflection and amplification that occurs between image and sound; in the work as much in life, what is said and what we see are not always the same thing.