19th 25 FPS FESTIVAL: The relationship between leisure and labour in the focus of the Competition program

The 19th edition of the 25 FPS International Experimental Film and Video Festival will take place from 27 to 30 September, 2023 at the Kinoteka cinema in Zagreb and from 4 to 5 October at Art-kino in Rijeka. During the four festival days, the competition program will screen 27 films that bring different perspectives on the shifts and changes in society and the film medium.

A year of relaxation, forgiveness, and materialist film

Every year we see the rise in the number of films exploring the consequences that the epidemic, lockdown, and the rapid digitisation of the society has wrought on the human privacy, labour structure, and free time. Many of the films deal with the topic of departure and separation, be it from those close to us, the established practices or cultural heritage, as well as with the search for the space for a personal and artistic transformation. This year is also notable for the number of hybrid works among the submitted and selected titles, mixing various techniques and styles. At the same time, we have witnessed an increase in traditional materialist and structural films, a veritable cornucopia of experimental filmmaking.

This year’s edition’s first competition program will open with the screening of the new film by Total Refusal, a “pseudo-marxist media guerilla” and the 16th edition Grand Prix winners. The film Hardly Working offers an ethnographic perspective on the augmented reality of non-player video game characters. The selection also includes Lawrence Abu Hamdan (2017 Audience Award winner) and his film about permeable borders and impermeable laws, 45th Parallel, as well as Sara Jurinčić (2019 Green DCP Award winner) and her film Valerija about women’s rituals, heritage and self-determination.

Another familiar name in the competition is the American artist Deborah Stratman, whom we were honoured to host as a member of the 2016 Grand Jury. Her film Last Things is an impressive work about the geo-biosphere, stone as an archival material and film as an intersection of creative possibilities.

There is also a variety of exhilirating visions that will introduce the Zagreb audiences to some new names. Among the most notable titles are Rushnan Jaleel’s The Angel of Forms, in which the images sourced from various places coalesce and transport the spectator through a vast variety of landscapes, Matti Harju’s Ecstasy, about the life of a small island during the darkest time of the year, and its luminous counterpoint Sunspots by Yannick Mosimann, an analogue poem about different aspects of the cold Sun.

Another two Croatian productions are competing for the Grand Prix, the modular miniature Evanescence by the multimedia artist Mare Šuljak and the inventive film Rule No. 5: Shadow Your Man Closely by Miro Manojlović, which takes several seconds of a film tape and transforms them into a genuine action film.

Postcards of the world from home

This year’s showcase of the Croatian experimental film, Reflexes, takes us in three different directions: we follow Ana Bilankov into the Sinai desert in Egypt (Chasing the Sun: El Shatt), we explore Darko Fritz’s model of a never-realised utopian settlement (Imaginary Futures: Tourism), and accompany Ana Buljan into various desert landscapes (Whatever Is Not a Desert Does Not Exist).

25 FPS Festival Awards

The members of the 19th 25 FPS Festival Grand Jury are the artist Marko Tadić, the artist/director Mary Helena Clark, and the independent filmmaker, archivist and essayist Ross Lipman. Films from the competition also compete for the Critics Award (by members of the Critics Jury, Barbara Gregov, Iva Rosandić and Ivan Velisavljević) and Audience Award, while the Croatian films in the program have the opportunity to win the Green DCP Award, presented by the 25 FPS Association for Audio-Visual Research.

Admission to all screenings and events of the festival is free, with a requisite free ticket that can be collected at the Kinoteka cinema box office (Kordunska 1).


Photo: New Centuries are Rare, coyote; Competition program 2023,