International Film Seminar - Safia Benhaim, Filipa César, Javier H. Estrada, Oliver Laxe, Beatriz Leal, Elena López Riera, Vincent Meessen, Camilo Restrepo | Tabakalera - Donostia / San Sebastián
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International Film Seminar

Interational Film Seminar
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Tabakalera, International Centre for Contemporary Culture presents its First International Film Seminar: three days inside the cinema to watch audiovisual materials and share texts, processes, talks, debates and encounters in one side and the other of the screen. We asked Javier H. Estrada, Beatriz Leal and Elena López Riera to draw an itinerary of audiovisual, academic and theoric references to present the works by the guest filmmaker and artists: Safia Benhaim, Filipa César, Oliver Laxe, Camilo Restrepo and Vincent Meessen.

Now, the quote that opens this encounter:

“The imagination is not the fantasy. The imagination is the ability that perceives the intimate and secret relations between things, correspondencies and analogies. The imagination, not the fantasy, is the editor par excellence; it takes apart the continuity of the things with the objective of making rise up new elective structural similarities. It updates the image and it turns it new”.  

The sentence is by the filmmaker Javier Rebollo remembering a book by Walter Benjamin that makes a reference to a text by Charles Baudelaire. And this link game or to “go from one artist to another” is relevant because the seminar is considered to be a walk-itinerary to go through some creative/visual geographies and connect the different points of the trip. This relations and links could be direct or inderect, obvious or arbitrary (based on the desire), themed or not. Intimate and secret relations between things, the correspondencies and the analogies. With imagination. With images because during three days the seminar happens inside our cinema.

In this first edition we are interested as well in the relationship and reflection between the artistic and the cinematic, therefore the selection of the guests.

If this was a map, the drawing could be an X. One “x” like a meeting point, divergence, place where something is hidden, place where something is promised, destiny in the map, enigma. X: “We are here”.


For the last year, we have been working on concepts such as the postcolonial, identity, stimulants associated with history and culture, borders, new geographies… We have had two exhibitions about the validity of the archive and the relation of images with power (The day after, Maryam Jafri) and the cross between tradition, history and ethnography with contemporary visual culture (Yto Barrada). We are also working on a two year long programme (Stimulants) that relates history of tobacco, coffee, sugar and cocoa with modernity and the processes that have somehow determined contemporary culture.

This is the conceptual frame of the seminar, as a chapter of this ongoing research. The frame is simple if we take it from questions: What if we invited a series of artists and academics to work and talk about moving images during three days? What if this seminar took place at the cinema, at our cinema? What if we avoided concepts such as “postcolonial” or “border” and we proposed an itinerary during three days to go from one point to another, to transit from one place to another, stressing the importance of the promenade itself?


The seminar will take place in the cinema of Tabakalera in intensive format and during three days. The three guest theorists/critics/programmers will articulate the bases to work during the seminar: Javier H. Estrada, Beatriz Leal and Elena López Riera will be in charge of mediating and activating the topics and images to share: mark the research lines, detect possible connections with toher directors, tags: postcolonial, frontier, identity, otherness, negritude, multiscreen, celuloid... and they will introduce each of the gest artists that will present their work and images processes in monographic sessions. The intention is that the different talks, fragments, images, references, topics and questions will feed among other and that the cross will be the seminar's essence.

To end each of the days, every afternoon at 20:00, Javier H. Estrada, Beatriz Leal y Elena López Riera will present in the cinema a carte blanche open to the public that will work as an epilogue of the day and as a note for the next day.




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