Welcome to the Affirmative Feminism Seminar Series: A series of three panel conversations exploring possible futures through affirmative statements and initiatives within contemporary film and digital screen culture.
This seminar series of conversations between researchers and members of the screen and film industry takes affirmative narratives and aesthetics as a starting point. The panelists will reflect upon affirmative initiatives, acts or images in the film and screen industry that go beyond a lamentation of the status quo, and put in place feminist alternatives and possible futures.
This series of events emerges from my project 'Affirmative Post-Cinema: Narrative and Aesthetic Responses to Gender and Power'. The search for an affirmative feminism arises from the observation that feminist narratives are often created through negation and opposition. In contrast to narratives that lament women's lack of power compared to men, affirmative arts produce models of gender and power that are fluid and in constant transformation rather than embedded in dichotomies. Following philosopher Rosi Braidotti's work on 'affirmative ethics', the project defines affirmative arts as using the limitations to our 'freedom' as a foundation for creating alternative futures, proposing solutions for enhancing our political, social, spatial freedom. Instead of presenting characters that are alienated by the binary systems of gender, race, sexuality, ability or class, affirmative films present narratives and aesthetic forms that manifest as what Braidotti would call 'micropolitical instances of activism'.
This theory is at the core of a feminist initiative to promote a fair, inclusive and diverse future, taking an affirmative approach in one’s work is thus being critical of the present without being annihilated by it.
Panels curated and moderated by Maud Ceuterick, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow, University of Bergen
Q&As and live chat moderated by Emilie Wright, Research Assistant
12th of March 10-12am CET: Production/networks/policies
Amanda Coles, Arts and Cultural Management / Employment Relations, Deakin University
Helene Granqvist, Producer and President of Women in Film and Television International
Marcela Stolzmann, Producer and Creator at AdoAto Pictures, Amsterdam
19th of March 11-1pm CET: Aesthetics/representation
Rosalind Gill, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, City University London
Anna Backman Rogers, Professor in Culture, Aesthetics and Feminist Theory, University of Gothenburg
Illya Szilak, Artist, Writer and VR Filmmaker of Queerskins
26th of March 10-12am CET: Curation/distribution
Miriam De Rosa, Associate Professor and Curator in cinema and screen media arts, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Nadia Dresti, International Advisor, Locarno Film Festival
Mathilde Henrot, Programmer at the Locarno Film Festival, and co-founder of Festival Scope and Festival Scope Pro
Skadi Loist, Professor of Production Cultures in Audiovisual Media Industries, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF
More information on the panelists:
Anna Backman Rogers
Anna Backman Rogers is Professor of Culture, Aesthetics and Feminist Theory at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Amanda Coles is a Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management / Employment Relations at Deakin University. Amanda’s research examines the political economy of labour markets and workforce development in the cultural economy with a focus on public policy, collective representation and intersectional inequality. She is a Co-Researcher with the SSHRC funded Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalisation and Work in Canada, and a member of the Kinomatics Project in Australia.
Miriam De Rosa
Miriam De Rosa is Associate Professor at Ca' Foscari, University of Venice. She researches and teaches film theories and philosophy, experimental cinema and screen media arts. She coordinates the International MAster in Cinema Studies (IMACS) and is the founding member of the NECS Cinema and Contemporary Visual Arts workgroup (CCVA). She is active as an independent curator and her most recent curated project is Desktop Cinema (2017-2020), which thus far has comprised a research forum, a film programme and exhibition.
Nadia Dresti was born in Locarno and took her first steps in the world of film thanks to the Locarno Film Festival. Following a brief stint as the head of marketing for 20th Century Fox Switzerland, in 1990 she founded her own company, Zero Problem, in Geneva. This company specialized in film marketing and public relations, and it grew in Paris via daily relationships and conversations with various clients: producers, independent distributors and film festivals such as the Locarno Film Festival, the Marché du Film in Cannes and the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin. During this time she also became of the selection committee of the Locarno Film Festival and was appointed as Head of the Industry Office, the Festival branch that she nurtured from one edition to the next, turning it into a strategic tool for an event that has increasingly become an international hub for film industry professionals. In 2003, she spearheaded the creation of Open Doors, the co-production lab aimed at remote locations in the film industry. Three years later, in 2006, upon returning to Ticino, she became a Delegate to the Artistic direction. She launched the Industry Days in 2010 and became the Head of Locarno Pro in 2018.
In addition to contributing to the growth of the Locarno Film Festival, she also lives and breathes cinema on an institutional level, having served for eight years as a member of the Film department in the Federal Office of Culture in Berne. Since 2012 she's also been part of the Federal Commission of Cinema (CFC). In 2017 she worked alongside Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian as Deputy Artistic Director of the Locarno Festival, while also managing Locarno Pro. She maintains the latter post to this day, having also been appointed as Director of the Ticino Film Commission. Since January 2020, she is international advisor for the Locarno Film Festival and in October she take up the role of interim head of the artistic direction and of coordination of Locarno Pro.
Rosalind Gill is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, at City, University of London. She is author or editor of many books, including Gender and the Media (Polity, 2007), Theorising Cultural Work (with Mark Banks and Stephanie Taylor, Routledge ,2013), Aesthetic labour: Beauty Politics and Neoliberalism (with Ana Elias and Christina Scharff, Palgrave, 2017) and Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture (with Meg-John Barker and Laura Harvey, Polity 2018).
Helene Granqvist has worked with film and television for more than 30 years. She studied Set Design at Statens Teaterskole (1984-1988) in Copenhagen and worked as a set designer all through the 1990’s. In 2000 she co-founded the production company Good World AB (Good Film & Post) together with her husband Anders Granqvist, and began to work as a producer. Since her time at Good, she has produced a dozen documentaries, as well as many short films, a number of feature films, a web TV channel, and a documentary TV series. She also won the Swedish Golden Wheel prize for best public event with Musikhjälpen 2008, produced a theater show at Klara Soppteater, Stockholm in 2010 and is frequently being engaged as a lecturer both in Sweden and internationally. Helene is also very involved with WIFT Sverige (Women in Film & Television, Sweden), since 2013 as the president of the board.
In 2011 she founded the production company Nordic Factory (previously DoDream) based on the vision of connecting ideas with resources, and the communication of sustainable values – socially, culturally, economically and ecologically.
A decade ago, together with Alessandro Raja, she founded the platforms Festival Scope Pro, and in 2016, Festival Scope. ArteKino, developed by the duo with ARTE since 2016, presents to European audiences emerging and confirmed European talents online and in cinemas. Since 2012 she curates the Kinoscope program of the Sarajevo Film Festival and has been a member of the Selection Committee of the Locarno Film Festival since 2018.
Skadi Loist is Assistant Professor for Production Cultures in Audiovisual Media Industries at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in Potsdam, Germany. Skadi’s research focusses on film festivals & circulation, queer film culture, and screen industries, diversity and sustainability. Skadi is Principle Investigator of the research project “Film Circulation on the International Film Festival Network and the Impact on Global Film Culture” (2017–2021) as well as Lead PI of international research project “GEP Analysis: Assessing, Understanding, and Modeling the Impact of Gender Equity Policies (GEP) in the Film Industry” (DFG/ESRC/SSHRC 2021–2024), and has co-developed the workshop “Beyond Stereotypes: Gender-Conscious Storytelling”, a cooperation of the Erich Pommer Institute, the MaLisa foundation and the Film University.
Marcela Stolzmann is a Brazilian filmmaker and producer who is interested in experimenting with new media formats and aesthetic practices. She joined the Amsterdam and Los Angeles-based Production Studio Ado Ato Pictures in 2017 and has since worked on multiple internationally-renowned pieces. In 2019, she helped produce the company’s first virtual reality experience, Another Dream, and she served as the technical lead during the project’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2020, Marcela worked as a producer on the interactive web experience, They Call Me Asylum Seeker. This experience, as the final installment of the Queer in a Time of Forced Migration series, premiered at the Amsterdam Museum with its accompanying pieces. Marcela most recently worked on Echoes of Silence, a commissioned project for IDFA, in which she produced, edited, animated, and developed a fulldome experience. She is currently finishing a Media Research Master's at the University of Amsterdam in order to engage with media culture and her own work more critically.
Illya is a Peabody Futures of Media award-winning trans-disciplinary writer, artist, director, and physician. Cyril Tsiboulski is her longtime artistic partner. Their interactive online narratives are collected in The Electronic Literature Collection. Szilak's art is interactive, cross-disciplinary, collaborative and often employs archival, crowd-sourced and performative elements. Their VR works Queerskins: a love story and Queerskins: ARK (queerskins.com) have been shown at film festivals and art spaces around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. They are recipients of grants from The Sundance Institute and the Tribeca Film Institute/MacArthur Foundation. Their newest work "In My Own Skin," an interactive virtual installation in VRChat featuring wearable avatars, was created in collaboration with Mumbai based textile artist Loise Braganza and photographer Tagger Yancey, IV. It will premiere in late April 2021. illyaszilak.com @atomicvacation
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 800259