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Antenne New Visions FIFA Found Choreographies COVER
Photo: Image from the film Found Choreographies

New Visions and New Vocabularies at this Year’s International Festival of Films on Art

  • Article
  • PHI
By  Nicolas LeBrun

International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) guest curators Silvia Lucchesi and Yu Shimizu reflect on the selections they made for the festival’s Carte Blanche series. They share their thoughts on the present state of moving image production and how these films offer unique formal and methodological approaches.

Antenne New Visions FIFA IMG1
Photo: Image from the film Humongous!

This March, the International Festival of Films on Art held its 40th edition, showcasing over 200 films on art and media over its two-week run. One of the festival’s staples is its Carte Blanche series, which offers guest curators worldwide the ability to program a blank slate of films from their country of origin.

Antenne FIFA New Visions Yu SHIMIZU

“I believe that for filmmakers to find their own unique methods of expression,” ventured guest curator Yu Shimizu. “they must face up to the questions: what is film? and, why go to the lengths of creating films in this day and age?”

Shimizu, a Tokyo-based film programmer who has worked with the Yebisu International Festival and the Sheffield DocFest among others, offered a variety of answers to her own question in the Carte Blanche she put together for this year's festival.

“The four filmmakers I selected for my program share a number of characteristics: they shoot in both analog and digital, they edit digitally, and they show their works digitally,” she explained. “It might be suggested that filmmakers who do not limit themselves to a single screen are pushing the boundaries of film.”

Beyond their broad methodological approach, the eight films that fill out Shimizu’s roster (two from each filmmaker) share a preoccupation with the contours of memory, reality and dream, and propose visions of the relationship between documentary and fiction that do push boundaries, and sometimes disregard them altogether.


Yu Shimizu

Original quote in Japanese


FIFA’s focus on art and media seems particularly suited to cross-disciplinary perspectives. But this year’s edition, which broadcast many of the festival’s selections via online screenings, was poised to invite works which further played with expectations surrounding methods of production and sites of distribution.

Antenne New Visions FIFA Silvia Lucchesi Cinema La Compagnia Gianmarco Rescigno
Photo: Gianmarco Rescigno / Cinema La Compagnia

Guest programmer Silvia Lucchesi was also keenly attuned to the ways that these expectations can collide to produce exciting results in the selections she made for her Carte Blanche series.

“Rather than speaking of Italian filmmaking, I think it’s more appropriate to talk about moving images, as the production model is very different,'' explained Lucchesi. “What I tried to do was to give an overview of the different linguistic and stylistic ways in which Italian artists work with moving images.”

Lucchesi is the co-founder and director of Lo Schermo Dell’Arte, a film and contemporary arts festival in Florence. The five films she selected for her Carte Blanche series have each been presented in different editions of Lo Schermo over the years.

“One of the aspects that contributed to the success of Lo Schermo Dell’Arte is precisely that of presenting in a cinema theatre works that were not born for that specific context, but which were realised to be shown in museums or galleries,” explains Lucchesi.


Antenna New Visions FIFA IMG3
Photo: Image from the film Found Choreographies

Indeed, the kind of moving image production on display in this series encompasses a diversity of exciting visual forms—associative editing, uncanny animation, and frisson-inducing visual poetry. Each of these films derives its power, in part, from the ways they can snap an audience member out of the passive spectatorship one might fall into in a theatre or online-festival setting.

“Film has told various stories—some repeatedly—over the course of its long history,” mentioned Shimizu. “Yet I feel that there are still many new possibilities waiting to be discovered.”

Platforms like Carte Blanche mean that FIFA is decidedly a space where filmmakers can explore some of these new possibilities.

Antenna New Visions FIFA IMG3
Photo: Image from the film Welcome Palermo
Antenne New Visions FIFA IMG4
Photo: Image from the film What Is It That You Said?


Consult the original interviews with Yu Shimizu (responses available in Japanese only) and Silvia Lucchesi, conducted by Nicolas LeBrun.


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