31 Oct 2017

Notes from Chile

I’m just back from an amazing trip to southern Chile, to the city of Valdivia in Patagonia to be exact. The geography of the Valdivia area includes wetlands and alluvial terraces. The city is virtually surrounded by hills except on its northern side where Valdivia’s lowlands connect to the flatlands of San José de la Mariquina. Hilly areas around Valdivia are covered with exotic forest species.
 
The purpose of my journey was to present two programmes of Experimental Film Society films at the Festival de Diseño Audivisual Experimental de Valdivia (Fedaxv 2017). During the festival I met and talked with many warm-hearted film enthusiasts and encountered much interest in EFS. A highlight of the festival was seeing film programmes curated by Ana González who founded a number of film collectives such as Cineclub Mujeres Empoderadas, Mujeres Cineastas, Correspondencias-Taller/Laboratorio Cinematográfico and Colectivo El Cine Como Arma Revolucionaria. She is a shining example of the relationship between feminism, activism, anarchism and the art of cinema, and how can they make positive interventions in society.
 
Another highlight was getting to know the director of the festival, documentary filmmaker Toto de la Parra and his lovely family and friends. He showed me examples of his films and I was truly affected by them. Finally, I was deeply touched by the surprise award that the festival asked me to accept on behalf of all the filmmakers associated with EFS for their work throughout the years. This is the first award to be given in acknowledgement of the ever-developing cinematic microculture that EFS has created since its inception in 2000. To be honest, it felt very good for one simple reason: it is proof positive that there is an audience out there watching and engaging with our films, and therefore we have to keep making them and continuing to be as radical as ever in our practices.
 
I am deeply grateful to cinema itself and continue to be amazed by it every day. It connects people, and simultaneously creates friendships, affections and disturbances. It is truly a living organism with a thinking mind. Ultimately I am just happy to share this award with all the filmmakers who have collaborated with EFS. I thank you all – without your films EFS would not have been existed. And thanks to FEDAXV and all its staff for their huge generosity. Onwards! – Rouzbeh Rashidi