MidEast Cut
    Made in Video          


MidEast Cut offers an investigation of the cognitive, cultural, social and political 'space' of alternative / experimental short film, documentary and video from and about the Middle East, Iran and Turkey.

During 2005-2007 we launched a series of international film festivals such as Made in Video, Coding-Decoding, Not on Satellite, Sightseeing Lebanon, From the Middle East with Love, and the Middle East Video Channel, which took place in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and China. All festivals were related to the Middle East. After the experience and success with these, we now launch an inclusive festival with a new concept and on a larger scale of internationalism.

With this project Copenhagen will be launching its first international Middle East film festival for alternative short film. The festival will take place in January 2009 at different art venues and cinematic spaces in and around Copenhagen, such as the Film Institute, Copenhagen Art Center, Nikolaj - Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Vester VOV VOV, Verdens Kultur Centret, Slots Bio, Roskilde Museum for Contemporary Arts and Viften. The festival is the first of its kind in Denmark and with it we wish to add and establish a dialogue, and share new artistic visions with local and regional audiences.

During the last 20-30 years there has been a remarkable interaction in audiovisual culture between cinema, video, photography, animation, computer graphics, etc. As a result, margins are redrawn and ultimately abolished, trends and genres are integrated into one another, and a variety of technologies and methods are used within one framework. One of the most popular expressions of this cross-media art is video and film making, which has won its autonomous position after having operated on the margins of the art society for decades.

A current and popular development within alternative film stems from recent geo-political events around the world. These have led to widened awareness and resulted in independent electronic art produced mainly by film and video makers who have made the widespread usage of the (video) camera into a visual statement and an alternative to the information flow of the mainstream media.
It is an inventive force, which entails new uses of video and digital photography that revolutionize the human visual experience. The result is strong, artistic productions that tend to interact with the surroundings and commit themselves to complex contemporary political and socio-cultural issues. It also entails a new aesthetic, which is still finding its own vocabulary and rules of engagement with which to capture the attention of audiences, critics and experts worldwide.

Regardless of the booming popularity of this media among film makers, little is known about this alternative practice within film and video documentary. Audiences in the West as well as in the Arab world, Iran and Turkey have only recently begun to be exposed to this new genre and a great number of such analytical and independent productions do not reach the general public. 
Some of the most interesting productions are to be found in films of autobiographical nature and testimonial interviews of independent, investigational and educational nature. This includes issues like gender, identity, history and memory. It is our intention to articulate the aesthetic context of this type of alternative film making, explore its characteristics and scope, and display it to local and regional audiences.
Project partners and screening locations in Denmark
The Film Institute
Nikolaj - Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center
Vester VOV VOV
Verdens Kultur Centret
Slots Bio
Roskilde Museum for Contemporary Arts

Parallel with the opening of the festival, a one day seminar will be held. For the seminar, prominent speakers will be invited to talk about the role of alternative media and independent film production in contemporary film practises.
The seminar will be a gathering of artists, film and video makers as well as curators from around the world. Expert filmmakers, critics and aestheticians will also be invited to talk at the seminar.

The seminar will take place at the Film Institute in Copenhagen Thursday the 29th of January from 13:00 - 17:00.
It will examine "the usage and influence of audio-visual media in the Middle East and world wide". The seminar will include panel discussions on mainstream media making, independent film production, internet film activism and the effect of new media on the culture industry in the West as well as in the Arab world, Iran and Turkey.

Chamber of Public Secrets
Chamber of Public Secrets is a project carried out by artists and thinkers reflecting and debating socio-cultural and political events related to changes and challenges in our society. It is also an artistic network apparatus, and throughout its activities, it helps answer some of the essential socio-cultural and aesthetic questions. It discusses the questions of why and where art is, the change of art through time, and the continuing widening of the boundaries of art. Working with aestheticians on developing topical ideas and strategies, Chamber of Public Secrets helps debating and reconstructing the role of art and culture, its responsibility, and its relation to society.

The Open Call
The festival accepts submissions by independent, experimental film makers who provide insightful and innovative perspectives on world-issues of socio-political, historical and cultural nature related to the Middle East, Iran and Turkey. This way, the festival becomes a platform for alternative film made by documentary makers, producers of experimental short film and animation, and artists who work with the Arab world, Iran and Turkey as a subject matter.

Submitted works must fit into one of the following categories:

1: Society monitoring - society documentation
2: Social concerns, activism and criticism

Entries will be accepted from July 30th 2008 till September 25th 2008
Download the entire open call here.