16th 25 FPS Festival: From New Media Hybrids to Classical Avant-Garde

The competition section of the 16th edition of 25 FPS Festival takes place 24-27 September at SC Cinema in Zagreb and 29 and 30 September at Art Cinema in Rijeka. It consists of 29 films from all four corners of the world, from Argentina, Brazil and USA to Austria, France and UK, to Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong. The selection provides an overview of the recent production of avant-garde, experimental and innovative cinema, and the titles include several intriguing media hybrids, as well as titles critically examining the field of art. Some of the selected titles will be shown on the big screen for the first time, and some after a long time.

New media hybrids: internet and video games

The expansion of moving images into new platforms has brought to an overlapping of different audiovisual media, primarily film, internet and video games. Numerous authors have taken advantage of the aesthetic, communication and narrative opportunities of the new filed of art to articulate freshly and innovatively an entire series of personal and socially relevant issues. The South Korean filmmaker Kyunwong Song in her film Jesa uses the mobile phone conversation as a backdrop for her funny culinary-animated performance in which she (re)animated the traditional Korean ritual from the title to create a charming family portrait. The American Indian director Suneil Sanzgiri in his At Home But Not At Home resorted to the graphic options of Skype and internet as an archive to reconsider the notions of homeland, nation and nationalism, at the same time painting a very personal portrayal of Indian history and (de)colonisation. The Austrian film How to Disappear takes us to the CGI landscape of the Battlefield V video game: the Total Refusal collective moves us through different attempts at subverting the rules of this first shooter video game to create an intriguing, action-ridden essay on desertion and pacifism.

The selection also includes several imaginative analyses of art as a market and economic concept: From My Desert by the German director Veneta Androva is a dark-humoured computer animated analysis of the entanglement between capitalism and the art market, Shānzhài Screens by French director Paul Heintz is an amazing portrait of Chinese masters of art replicas, and the Austrian Claudia Larcher in Collapsing Mies dissected the architectural concepts of Mies van der Rohe through photography and computer animation media.

Classical film experiments: structural and material cinema

The fans of material and structural films are also up for a treat: Amaryllis – A Study by British filmmaker Jayne Parker is a sensual exploration of carnal textures, forms and colours of the eponymous flower. Further Radical by French author Stefano Canapa is a punk-rock immersion into the analogue tape emulsion, and Thorax by the Austrian filmmaker Sigfried A. Fruhauf is a psychedelic, flickering tribute to the heart beating in the core of the film experience.

A dialogue with the studio Hollywood, its genres, hidden meanings and striving for spectacle is an ongoing source of inspiration for avant-garde filmmakers, as proven by several titles in this year’s selection. The audience’s favourite, British author Ben Rivers, in his film Look Then Below in a visually fascinating way combines the grammar of ethnographic cinema and science fiction, and Austrian Rainer Kohlberger in his There must be some kind of way out of here uses excerpts from 1990s Hollywood disaster movies to explore the audience’s fascination with destruction and provide an abstract reflection on the order stemming out of chaos.

Croatian and regional authors in competition

Three Croatian films will also be screened in competition. The Dutch audiovisual trio Telcosystems, which thrilled the audience in 2008 with their audiovisual performance Mortals Electric and films like Loudthings (Grand Prix, 2008) and Vexed (Special Mention, 2012), is presenting their latest piece, produced by Bonobostudio: TESTFILM #1 is a project developed from a research of the DCP cinema and distribution format into a shrewd and subversive film essay on the market paradox currently engulfing the film community.

Animator and visual artist Marko Tadić is presenting his Events Meant to Be Forgotten, animating the photo archives of two artists, found at a flea market in Zagreb. Another filmmaker to explore the past is Renata Poljak, whose Porvenir is an atmospheric and enigmatic research of migrant routes and her own family history.

Among the regional names, a filmmaker to watch is Milica Jovčić, the German-based Serbian-born author whose film Cleaning connects found family footage, material film and Vojvodina’s neo-avant-garde in a melancholy miniature about predestination and the female experience.

Juries and awards

The films in the 25 FPS competition compete for three equally worth Grand Prizes, at the discretion of the three-member jury consisting of: Davor Sanvincenti, Randa Maroufi and Maria Palacios Cruz. Every jury member is presenting a specially curated programme of their own, to be announced soon, as well as other festival sections (Expanded Cinema, Kino 23, Reflexes).

The films also compete for the Critics’ Jury Award, this year judged by Luka Antonina, Ana Kutleša and Dina Pokrajac, as well as the Audience Award, to be decided by the festival visitors voting after each screening.

Admission to all the screenings is free of charge.

Photos: How to Disappear; From My Desert; TESTFILM #1; A Study of Fly