AFEW Culture Initiative welcomes its collaboration with the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) as part of our wider artist-in-residence (AIR) and cultural events programme.
The progression of our residencies will be shown through a series of pluridisciplinary public interventions, where we want to blur pre-fabricated conceptions of HIV/AIDS through an intermix of artistic practices. By combining different media, including art, food and cinema – together with a public forum for discussion, we try to bring together people from different backgrounds and thus stimulate the dialogue we want to see. In so doing, the AFEW Culture Initiative provides an alternative basis for the sharing of knowledge, different outlooks and best practices on topics relating to public, sexual and reproductive health.
We believe film is a great conversation-starter, as the medium itself is more or less free of boundaries, allowing expression on topics commonly regarded as taboo. The themes addressed by our institution are, unsurprisingly, controversial, and have fallen under the radar of documentary filmmakers for countless years.
IDFA is helping us with the cinematic aspects of our cultural programme, selecting documentary films (with input from our artists-in-residence) covering Eastern Europe and the Caucasus that are directed by local filmmakers, for local audiences. The underlying goal is to shift existing perspectives on the region and bring to our spectators in the Netherlands an opportunity to take on the issues at stake from a different lens: one that does not simplify or undervalue the lives and issues faced by communities traditionally not seen as 'Western'.
With this target in mind, IDFA and AFEW Culture Initiative chose documentaries shot by Belarusian and Georgian directors; Debut (Miroshnichenko, 2017) and When the Earth Seems to Be Light (Meskhi, Karumidze and Machaidze, 2015). Through these two feature films, one can explore complex matters such as HIV/AIDS, female assertion, political dissidence and community mobilisation from the unfiltered perspective of Eastern Europeans and Caucasians themselves.
These two movies will be part of the PLOV #1 and #2 editions of ARTxFOODxCINEMA (29/05 & 19/06), showcased at Studio/K.