[based upon] TRUE STORIES

The program [based upon] TRUE STORIES is itself based upon a bigger program with the same name presented in Rotterdam earlier this year. It was a program that tried to bring together several developments in the visual arts, digital media and film- and video-making that deal with images of the real. It contained a true variety of visual interpretations of the world as we perceive it through all the senses and all modern means of communication. A program that presented exhibitions of installations, access to digital works and a quite substantial film- videoprogram.
Apart from the more classic and mainstream kinds of documentaries all sorts of genres and forms were included. The program that is presented now in Marseilles is only a small fragment of the film- video-program. Some newer titles are added to make the program even more fresh and actual and some titles are included by filmmakers that are little known outside their country of origin and in France.
The short and simple film Bellina Airport. NSW Australia by Christian Heske can hardly be called a documentary. It just shows a single shot of an airplane behind a fence on an airport. There is no context. It could be any airport. Anywhere. Anytime. So how can this little minimal film be so effective? Maybe because it uses the context in the heads of the viewers; by leaving almost everything out it opens itself up for the world around it. A world after September 11 and after wars that have been and are still to come. Like this little film this little program is meant to be open for a bigger context. Not only in the sense that it can be seen as a spin off of a bigger program, but indeed being open to the outside world. The chosen films in this program can only be called documentaries in a certain sense. They all reflect on events in the real world in (more or less) real images, but they try to speak a different language than the common documentary. They can touch on the domain of fiction – like the two longer films in the program Trailer Town by Giuseppe Andrews and 33 by Kiko Goifmann – or make use of the traditions of the experimental film like To whom it may concern by Barbara Hanlo or make use of the satirical aesthetics developed on the internet like Re: The_Operation by Paul Chan. Bordering on fiction, the avant-garde, the new media and the visual arts different exciting developments are taking place that are shaping, re-shaping and altering a notion of what documentary can, will and maybe should be. And that is quite something to cover for a small program. Two small groups of short films are thematically (more or less/ more and less) connected through the sadly enough always actual topic of war and the impossibility to forget war experiences. No one deals with actual war directly, but they all found original ways to visualise the to often forgotten silent horror of the traumatic minds that saw it all. This group contains minimal and stylized films like the one by Stratmen on oppression close to home and very funny ones like Barbara Keisers on the so soon forgotten war on the Balkan. The films in this program share in all their versatility a keen or witty eye on the world around us. Their ways of filmmaking are as manyvoiced and many-sided as our split up world itself. They are the world.
Gertjan Zuilhof

Born in 1955 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands. Graduated in art history from the University of Leiden. Was a long time film critic for the weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdam and an editor of the film monthly Skrien, to which he is still a contributor. Has been the (general and thematic) programmer of the International Film Festival Rotterdam since ten years ago. Initiated the [based upon] True Stories programme for the last Rotterdam festival and, for the upcoming festival, he is working on a programme called Homefront USA, which will contain films, videos and digital media works that reflect the current cultural-political situation in America.

Kiko Goifman
BRASIL, 2002, 74’
Barbara Kaiser
Austria, 2001, 10’
Isa Rosenberger
Austria, 2002, 30’
Christian Hessle
Austria, 2002, 11’
Deborah Stratman
USA, 2002, 33’
Barbara Hanlo
Netherlands, 2003, 68’
Paul Chen
USA, 2002, 28’
Giuseppe Andrews
USA, 2003, 80’


























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