about us

If there is one theme that runs through our festival program this year, it is that of collective work. The abandonment of the understanding of the (usually male) artist as a singular entity, as a solitary genius who produces his masterpieces alone, has long been considered outdated and has for some time given way to a wide variety of collective and group emancipatory approaches. This urge for togetherness led to our opening program being put together jointly by two filmmakers we invited: Eva Claus and Ewelina Rosinska will not only present their own works, but have also each selected a film by other filmmakers that are significant for them and their work. 

The filmmaking of Gunvor Nelson, to whom we dedicate one of our two major shows of work this year, has always come through contact with others. Frequenting the circles around the Canyon Cinema Group during her time in San Francisco, with figures such as Bruce Baillie, Chick Strand, James Broughton and Robert Nelson, this penchant for complicity inscribes itself throughout her artistic output, from the works shot on 16mm that mix documentary, autobiographical and experimental approaches in playful and sometimes absurd ways, to more recent video works. As the curators Martin Grennberger and Daniel A. Swarthnas, with whom we share a certain attention to cinematic form and a similar gaze, write in their introduction to the show of works: 

"She has always filmed from an intimate and private perspective, in her own way, and often things and people close to her and the environment in which she lives: herself, in her house, her garden, her family, her friends, the river in front of her house in Kristinehamn, in San Francisco, at Muir Beach - and last but not least, all this in relation to her own painting."

With our second major program track, dedicated to Helga Fanderl, the concept of the collective undergoes a shift in meaning. Although Fanderl makes her Super 8 films alone, using only her hand-held camera, she is always closely connected to the environment she films and the motifs she chooses through her specific approach: "The world is not the object of the film, but its material," as she paraphrases Philippe-Alain Michaud in her introduction to the programs on the occasion of our festival. But the aspect of community is felt even more strongly in Fanderl's specific screening practice: it is always she herself who assembles the programs, drawing on her catalog of works, which includes several hundred films. No program is ever repeated; each screening is understood as a unique interplay between space, audience, film projector and filmmaker, forming a unique, shared event. This screening practice finds its echo in Bruno Delga Ramo's work, as an intellectual kinship, as a shared gaze, since Fanderl represents for Ramo a formative model for his own cinematic practice. Ramo "develops his work as a research based on art practice that seeks an experimental and spatial approach to cinema, where the ideas of specificity and the processual are important." As part of exf f. 2022, he will present his cinematic explorations of space in a double program that includes performances as well as Super 8, 16mm and 35mm films.

The work of Swiss filmmaker, painter, performance artist and curator Hannes Schüpbach presents us with yet another form of collaboration. Schüpbach is interested in the emergence and passing of individual moments in the fabric of time, which he weaves into rhythmic constellations, assembling shots of nature, people, and spaces into scores. Since the beginning of his filmmaking in the late 1990s, Schüpbach has been in contact with various artists and poets whose influences and ideas have been inscribed in his artistic practice in a variety of ways. For example, he has worked with archaeologist and poet Joël-Claude Meffre. His latest film, Essais, completed in 2020, is a portrait of seven of his friends, artists, creatives, and scientists with whom he is in close exchange. 

This togetherness is also what shapes our own approach to exf f.. We do not want to play films off against each other, which is why we reject competitions for our format. As was the case last year, our program selection is accompanied by the work of various curators who, through their respective perspectives and ways of working, enrich, complement and renew our own approaches and ideas. In addition to Martin Grennberger and Daniel A. Swarthnas, we are delighted to have Annette Brauerhoch as part of this year's frankfurter formen program. She will present films from the archive for German experimental and avant-garde film by women, which she founded at the University of Paderborn. The collection, built up from 2004 to 2014, is an impressive example of the possibilities of setting a sign of solidarity within an institutional context. Not only does the archive ensure the preservation of an often neglected and ignored body of filmmaking, it also offers young students access and the opportunity to view these works, which, with their "formal and thematic confrontations with and questioning of established norms of ‘film art’”, are essential sources of inspiration. 

In addition, we are very pleased to be able to collaborate with the Kinothek Asta Nielsen, as we did last year: For this year's edition, Karola Gramann has put together a program with filmmaker and film scholar Christine Noll Brinckmann featuring their work, which the two will present in conversation during exf f. 

Finally, our closing program brings together Ken Jacobs and Takashi Makino, two audio-visual artists who belong to different generations, but whose works are anchored in a profound interest in exploring the technical possibilities of cinema and its basic elements - above all the projector.  There is one small exception, however: with A Child's Garden and the Serious Sea we present a film by experimental film icon Stan Brakhage. We are happy to show the film at the DFF-Deutsches Filminstitut/Filmmuseum, which will be another venue this year, besides the Pupille. We would like to thank our sponsors, HessenFilm und Medien GmbH, the cultural office of the city of Frankfurt, the AStA (student union) of Goethe University Frankfurt and our cooperation partner Kinothek Asta Nielsen e.V., without whose support this festival would not have been possible.

Martin Klein, Larissa Krampert, Björn Schmitt

HessenFilm logo
Kulturamt Stadt Frankfurt logo
Kinothek logo