Power Cut Middle East, a themed program within the IFFR’s main Signals section, presents recent films and visual art works from the region with a focus on Syria and Egypt. The program, a collaboration with Hivos Culture Fund, consists of short films, documentaries, feature films and visual art installations guided by discussions, lectures and artist talks.
Since the change of power in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, a revolutionary spirit runs through several Middle Eastern countries. What seem to be sudden revolutions have however a clear history. Power Cut Middle East offers two focused visions on this ‘history in the making’: the Visual Arts Festival in Damascus travels for an edition ‘in exile’ to Rotterdam with a programme of fiction and documentary films and arts installations.
Secondly, together with Egyptian filmmakers, IFFR looks at the years preceding the Tahrir Square revolutions by presenting films in which the resistance announced itself in more or less direct ways. In the context of Power Cut Middle East, the central question to be considered is what the role was – and is – of the moving image.
Films from Syria
In collaboration with the Visual Arts Festival Damascus, Power Cut Middle East presents a choice of strong Syrian auteur cinema from the period 1977-2002. Prominent Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Malas will be in attendance.
From the period 2000-2010, Power Cut Middle East screens short, more experimental works by a new generation of Syrian documentary filmmakers such as Reem Ghazzi, Soudade Kaadan, Reem Ali, Ammar Al-Beik, Joude Gorani and Hazem Alhamwi. This will be supplemented by three compilations programs with recent short films and installation work from the region.
Films from Egypt
The other main focus within Power Cut Middle East is on Egypt with films made in the period running up to the 2011 revolution. Egyptian artists Omar Robert Hamilton, Ahmed Khaled, Hala Elkoussy, Sherif el Azma and Dina Hamza, among others, will present one of their own recent works as well as an Egyptian film or art work that influenced them as artist.
Images of the revolutions
Finally, Power Cut Middle East presents three lectures that shed light on the role and meaning of the images of the revolutions in the Arab world that have swept the global media during the past year. Contributors will be Dutch journalist Ferry Biedermann, former Middle East correspondent of de Volkskrant and currently publishing in The National and Elsevier Magazine; Lebanese artist and musician Raed Yassin who will present a new performance and Jasmina Metwaly, artist, activist and one of the initiators from Mosireen, a new independent media center in Cairo which was born at Tahrir Square with the objective to document the ‘revolution’.
Power Cut Middle East is curated by IFFR programmer Peter van Hoof
, IFFR short film programme advisor and art critic Sacha Bronwasser, curator/critic and Middle Eastern art and new media specialist Nat Muller and the co-curators of the Visual Arts Festival Damascus Charlotte Bank and Delphine Leccas. The program is supported by Dutch development organization Hivos.