Open City Documentary Festival

Combined Programme 4

Date
Event has passed
 
Location
Bertha DocHouse
 

This combined programme includes recent work by Maria Anastassiou, Rebecca Jane Arthur, Ute Aurand, Alexandra Cuesta. 

Notes, Imprints (on Love): Parts I & II, Carmela
Alexandra Cuesta | 2020 | Ecuador, USA | 25’ | digital

Two opening instalments of a six-part series that meditates on love and the act of making, Notes, Imprints (on Love) is crafted from autobiographical footage shot in Upstate New York, Chile, Japan, Los Angeles, the California Desert, Miami and Mexico City. “I wanted to approach filmmaking as a ritual of the everyday, using 16mm film to record objects, spaces, light; without hierarchy and without thinking of an end product. I had wanted to capture all the things. Everything and nothing at the same time: the sun falling on my kitchen plant, dilapidating factories in this American city, my husband’s back as he sleeps, the snow on the deck. What began as a spontaneous collection of images, in time became a documentation of my private realm, and this practice of daily filming continued for three years (2015-18), in various cities.” (Alexandra Cuesta)

Glimpses from a Visit to Orkney in Summer 1995
Ute Aurand | 2020 | Germany, UK | 4’ | digital

After twenty-five years, Ute Aurand revisits 16mm footage shot whilst visiting the late filmmaker Margaret Tait. Orkney landscapes, roses in a garden, domestic rituals – Aurand’s images sketch out Tait’s filmic vocabulary as the blurriness of time and memory is accentuated by the use of abstract colour images. Commissioned for the “Margaret Tait 100” centenary project.

Piano Practice
Maria Anastassiou | 2021 | UK | 8’ | digital

A short portrait of the filmmaker’s mother at home in Nicosia. Now retired, she devotes herself to learning new skills including drawing, playing piano, painting Greek Orthodox icons and taking university classes in history and ancient Greek mythology. Anastassiou’s camera focuses on her mother’s hand gestures as she draws, speaks, plays, and describes various modes of note-taking – and we think of the daughter’s hands holding the Bolex camera.

Liberty: an ephemeral statute
Rebecca Jane Arthur | 2020 | Belgium, UK | 37’ | digital

Liberty: an ephemeral statute begins at sea. We soon glimpse the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline presumed rather than seen through the mist and clouds. Blue sky and blue sea meet, the ghostlike city functions as the horizon line that delineates one blue from the other. Liberty is the retelling of a personal story of migration, that of the filmmaker’s mother, who left behind the certainties (and constraints) of a life that had been written out for her in Scotland in order to embrace the possibilities of an imagined one in America. Though her American Dream had been partly triggered by representations of a “domestic utopia”, this bold move took place in the early 1970s, in the aftermath of the post-1968 women’s liberation movements.

 Followed by a conversation between Maria Anastassiou, Rebecca Jane Arthur and Lucy Reynolds


Lucy Reynolds has lectured and published extensively, examining questions of the moving image, feminism, political space and collective practice through her writing, curating and art projects. As an artist, her films and installations have been presented in galleries and cinemas internationally, and her ongoing sound work A Feminist Chorus has been heard at the Glasgow International Festival, the Wysing Arts Centre, the Showroom and The Grand Action cinema, Paris. She is editor of the anthology Women Artists, Feminism and the Moving Image, co-editor of Artists Moving Image in Britain since 1989. She is co-editor of the Moving Image Review and Art Journal (MIRAJ).

Maria Anastassiou (b. Cyprus 1982) is an artist/filmmaker based in London. She uses analogue and digital media in moving image, social practice and curatorial projects. Her work is informed by experimental ethnographic approaches to documentary and structuralist film traditions. She is interested in the form and application of the filmmaking process as an entry point into responding to place, historical narrative, communities, individuals and other artists. Her films highlight the illusory space of the moving image and the material space of the surface employing the possibilities and limitations of the apparatus to self-reflective effect. Many of her projects are collaborative and defined by an exchange with other artists and the public, across disciplines and presentational platforms. In 2013 she co-founded collective-iz, a curatorial initiative creating expanded and immersive cinema events that examine new critical contexts for contemporary and historical avant-garde film. She is the recipient of an Acme Artists’ Studio Residency (2017-2023) at Highhouse Production Park.

Rebecca Jane Arthur (b.1984, Edinburgh) is a visual artist working predominantly with the moving image and writing. Her works revolve around portraits of people and places, and her interest lies in how personal stories depict a socio-political context and history. Parallel to her artistic practice, Arthur works in Brussels as a producer, writer, copy-editor and translator. She is co-founder of the film and media art platform elephy, together with Chloë Delanghe, Eva Giolo and Christina Stuhlberger, and is currently working at Auguste Orts (BE) as project coordinator of the Creative Europe-funded project On & For Production and Distribution (2018-2021).