Out of 174 submissions, five film makers from Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland and the USA have been selected for the fifth edition of the Ikusmira Berriak development and residency program for audiovisual projects. The selection committee – comprising representatives from the International Centre for Contemporary Culture Tabakalera, the San Sebastián Film Festival and Elías Querejeta Film School selected Jo ta ke by Aitziber Olaskoaga, a film maker from the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country; Antier noche (The Night Before Yesterday) by Alberto Martín, in the Spanish film makers section; Sin dolor (Painless) by Michael Wahrmann, in the international category, and; two from among the participants in the most recent editions of Nest Film Students – All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt by Raven Jackson, and Un personaje volador (A Flying Character) by Martina Juncadella.
In Jo ta ke (Rise up to win), the visual artist Aitziber Olaskoaga (Bilbao, 1980) – director of the medium-length film La sonrisa telefónica (The Telephonic Smile) and collaborator on the films Faux Guide and Al Nervión (To The Nervión ) – brings us a video essay on nationalism and the construction of national identity in the Basque Country. The short film starts out with the Negu Gorriak concert in 1990 outside Herrera de la Mancha prison and gives a first-hand account of the director’s awakening and personal search. It examines images from memory and thoughts on the political discourse of the Abertzale Left and discusses her father, from whom she has ‘inherited’ her political activism.
Alberto Martín (Madrid, 1986), director of Mi amado, las montañas (My Beloved, the Mountains) (Best Short Film at the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival), uses Antier noche to depict youth in today’s Southern Europe. The world of hunting meets mobile applications in this documentary feature film.
Michael Wahrmann (Montevideo, 1979) has already taken his first feature film (Avanti Popolo, 2012) to festivals such as Rotterdam and Marseilles, and premiered his short film The Beast (2016) at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. In Ikusmira Berriak he will develop the fictional feature film Sin dolor (Painless), co-written with Diego Lerman -Best Script in San Sebastián for Una especie de familia (A Sort of Family)-, about a retired French diplomat and his Brazilian wife who purchase an abandoned farm on an idyllic island in north-east Brazil, only to discover that it is inhabited by the descendants of an old German colony. The director describes the film as a social terror thriller which poses questions about limits, borders and the class war.
In All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, the poet, photographer and film maker Raven Jackson (Tennessee) takes a poetic look at the nature of memory and at how events from one woman’s youth are reflected in her adult life, since she is 3 until she is 60, in Mississippi. Jackson’s short film Nettles premiered in the Nest Film Students section of the last San Sebastián Film Festival.
The short film Fiora by Martina Juncadella (Buenos Aires, 1992) was selected in the International Film Students Meeting at the 2017 San Sebastián Film Festival and won Best Short Film at BAFICI. In Un personaje volador, a writer attempts to work on his new book in the Ritz – a legendary hotel in central Buenos Aires – after separating from his partner and still grieving over the death of his mother.
Four projects selected from previous editions of Ikusmira Berriak have been completed and screened in San Sebastián: the short films El extraño (The Stranger) by Pablo Álvarez, Calipatria by Leo Calice and Gerhard Treml, and Gwendolyn Green by Tamyka Smith were screened at Zabaltegi-Tabakalera in 2016 and 2017, and the feature film Trote directed by Xacio Baño was shown at Zabaltegi-Tabakalera following its screening at the Locarno Festival. Maider Oleaga from Bilbao, another resident from the first edition, has just premiered Muga deitzen da pausoa (The Step Is Called Limit) at the Gijón International Film Festival.
ALL DIRT ROADS TASTE OF SALT
RAVEN JACKSON (USA)
In lyrical, non-linear portraits evoking the texture of memories, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt viscerally and experientially explores the life of a Black woman in the American South – from youth to her older years.
A native of Tennessee, Raven Jackson is an award-winning filmmaker, poet, & photographer currently attending New York University’s Graduate Film Program. In her work, gray areas of life are often explored. She is particularly interested in stories which add texture to the pivotal experience of coming-of-age and/or into one’s sexuality – as well as the body’s relationship to nature.
A 2018 IFP Marcie Bloom Fellow, her short film, Nettles, recently had its International Premiere at the 66th edition of the San Sebastián International Film Festival. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, TriQuarterly, Kweli, PANK, and elsewhere.
All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt is, in essence, a lyrical conversation between all of the protagonist’s selves at different ages and experiences in her life. The film is told non-linearly to speak to the nature of memory and how events from youth are often mirrored in adulthood. With All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt , I’m exploring the significant shifts and sparks in the protagonist’s life and how the ripple of them spills out across years.
ALBERTO MARTÍN (SWITZERLAND – SPAIN)
Hunting takes place in the countryside of southern Extremadura during the cold winter months. Ana (20) and Juan Luis (25) are a young couple in charge of leading the dogs in this ritual event. For some time, Ana has been thinking about leaving her town for the capital. The two must negotiate the terms of their relationship and whether or not they want to stay together. Martín (11), Ana’s younger brother, is growing up in a rural environment alongside the violence of nature. A rupture in the present may evoke the memory of a fracture between an old world on its way out and an emerging modern one.
(Madrid, 1986) Alberto grew up in Alcalá de Henares and now lives and works in Geneva. He is a film editor and director who studied Visual Arts at Geneva University of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited in arts centers, museums and international film festivals, including Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Filmmuseum München, Entrevues Belfort and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. His film Mi amado, las montañas (My Beloved, the Mountains) won Best Short Film at the Las Palmas International Film Festival and the Peninsulas Prize at the Curtocircuíto International Film Festival in Santiago de Compostela.
Antier noche is something I’ve always heard my grandmother say. It refers to something that took place the night before yesterday. The past is narrated from the present. The piece stems from my wish to make a film in a forgotten corner of the world, with a group of young people I know and who I’ve already worked with. I wanted to rebuild their story with them, the same story that starts with my family in the 1960s, a time when emigration was one way that people adapted to a time of constant progress. It still is.
MICHAEL WAHRMANN (BRAZIL)
A retired French couple buy an abandoned house on a paradisiac island in the northeast of Brazil. The island is more isolated than what they had imagined. To their surprise, upon arriving on the land they acquired, they find a small fishing village inhabited by descendants of an old German colony; strange scars on the villager’s bodies hide a secret kept for decades. A class struggle over land and borders is established raising questions about the limits and different kinds of pain in a social horror thriller.
Michael is a director and producer. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, lives in Brazil since 2004, he graduated in cinema at FAAP in Sao Paulo in 2007. His short films Avós (2009), Oma (2011), The Beast (2016) and his feature film Avanti Popolo (2012) were shown in many international and national festivals, as the Directors´ Fortnight in Cannes, Berlinale, Rotterdam and Brasília and received more than 60 awards over the years. As producer, he funded Sancho&Punta and produced feature films such as Los territorios by Ivan Granovsky; Invisible, by Pablo Giorgelli; Elon Não Acredita na Morte by Ricardo Alves Jr and others.
From the very beginning, this film came to me as a horror narrative. I’m not particularly fond of genre movies, and I never explored genre in my films before. Nevertheless, I thought this initial concept should be used for the basic dramatic structure of the film.
At the same time, what seems at first to be a clear genre construction should find a way to transcend the obvious into a more abstract audiovisual form. It should detach from the genre system and rules and turn into a personal expression on the fervent social and political issues of current brazil.
JO TA KE
AITZIBER OLASKOAGA (SPAIN)
In 1990, Negu Gorriak played their first concert outside Herrera de la Mancha prison and later sold a VHS recording of the event. The tape became a symbol for followers of the Abertzale left. Jo ta ke is a video essay which uses images from the video and the director’s own memories as its starting point. It opens up reflections on the construction of national identity and the links between fatherland, father and patriotism. The project relates the author’s political awakening in the politicized and polarized context of the Basque Country.
Work-in-progress – Jo ta ke, director, co-writer and co-producer.
2017 – Una alegría loca (Crazy Joy), direction, editing, sound and cinematography.
2017 – Top bill for the LA OLA film showcase, direction, cinematography and editing.
2016 – La sonrisa telefónica (The Telephonic Smile), direction, editing, screenplay and cinematography.
2011 – Faux guide, workshop together with Red Caballo.
In 1992 -the only year in which Negu Gorriak did not release a record- my mother ended an unhappy marriage. Though I’d never heard the word feminism, I began standing up to an authoritarian and misogynistic father figure. Years later, I asked myself why the followers of a leftist ideology could organize themselves to fight against certain forms of oppression and yet was incapable of doing the same against others, such as the patriarchy. These memories would pave the way for reflections on the links between father, fatherland and nationalist ideologies. Can images be tools for imagining other possibilities of past and future?
UN PERSONAJE VOLADOR
MARTINA JUNCADELLA (ARGENTINA)
A writer moves to a mythical hotel in central Buenos Aires while in the depths of grief following the death of his mother. While tackling his next novel, he wanders the city with a roll of paintings that he can’t open. His life grows complicated following a series of chance and enlightening encounters with strangers. One long night, he finally manages to unfurl the works his mother left behind. From now on, he won’t be just him: he’ll be Pablo, a lawless yet gentle beast, and Ursula, a bitter and melancholic woman. Three identities, three lives, all forged around one experience.
Martina Juncadella (Buenos Aires, 1992) acts, films, writes poetry and co-directs the Argentine publishing house Socios Fundadores. In 2016 she took part in the Proyecto Documental film workshop coordinated by Andrés di Tella. During that time she worked on two short films: Mensajes (Messages) (2016), and Fiora (2017), the latter co-directed with Martín Vilela. Fiora was selected for EIECINE 2017 (International Film Students Meeting, part of the San Sebastián Film Festival).
In 2018, she directed No me imagino siendo vieja (I Can’t Imagine Being Old), a short film written in collaboration with Jacqueline Golbert, who also stars in the movie. The film had its international premiere at the 2018 Biarritz Latin Film Festival, where it won the Liziéres Prize. She has published the poetry collections 8 poemas (8 poems) (2015) and Prendan el horno (Turn on the oven) (Socios Fundadores, 2018).
How many identities fit into one life? How many do we know about? How many are we ignorant of?
At the origin of each one, and throughout its exploration, is the excitement of the possibilities that influence and define them. Un personaje volador sets this constellation in motion. Inspired by a writer (Iosi Havilio) who goes through a crisis after losing his mother, the Argentinian painter Mónica Rossi, the character sets out to meet other lives which are as fictional and real as his own, inhabiting and embodying each one throughout its unique evolution. These other identities talk, think and act – in parallel and solo – each with their own color, rhythm, language, music and silence.
Original idea and development: Iosi Havilio and Martina Juncadella