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Erica McDonald

Develop Tube
120 min. EN subs

The first edition of the On Photography Online Film Festival will take place from 26 to 29 September 2013. The Festival is part of the FOTOWEEK in Holland, an initiative of FOAM and the Netherlands Photo Museum. The OP-Festival is organized and curated by Barbera Brakel of Photo Affairs.

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Director: Nataša von Kopp
Production: Sleeping Tiger
Germany, 76 min. EN subs

A film about an old man with no needs and a remarkable past, facing the hype as an artist against his will. Tichý lives like a hermit surrounded just by a few friends. In the art world his photographs are meanwhile worth up to 12 000 Euro. Miroslav Tichý lived like a hermit for decades in a small surrounded just by a few friends. Now in his old age he has to face the fame. “They should have come earlier, now it’s too late.” he says. In the art world, meanwhile, he is presented as a fighter against the communist regime.

The photographs are being sold for up to 12 000 Euro.In 2004 I came across an exhibition catalogue. One page was dedicated to Miroslav Tichý. He and his work were exceptional. I became curious and contacted the editor of this catalogue, Roman Buxbaum. He knew Mr. Tichý and they seemed to be best friends. Two weeks later I was standing in Miroslav Tichýs house and said: “Many greetings from Mr. Buxbaum.”. I was shocked to hear the wildest combination of rude words. That’s where it all started.

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ZOWNIR: Radical Man

Director: M.A. Littler
Production: Slowboat Films
Germany, 61 min. EN subs

ZOWNIR: Radical Man is the portrait of one of today’s most censored photographers, filmmakers and crime writers of our time. Zownir has achieved cult status and notoriety through his photography, films and literature depicting sexual and cultural outcasts in Berlin, London, N. America and in the former Soviet Union. His portrayals are harsh, brutal, at times pornographic, yet full of dignity and magic. Unlike most fringe photographers, Zownir not only portrays outcasts. He has also always lived in their midst. Therefore his work reaches an intimacy unknown to most artists depicting outlawed subjects.Thematically the film deals with Zownir's childhood in post WW II Germany, the rise of the punk movement in London and Berlin in the late 70's, the rise and fall of the sexual revolution of the early 80's in NYC, the social decline of the Former Soviet Union and Zownir's tragic but at times hilarious account of outcasts and mavericks of every colour.The film features in depth interviews with Zownir, scenes from his films, readings from his novel "Kein Schlichter Abgang" and montages of his photographic work.

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The Destiny of Clara B

Director: Alexandru Solomon
Production: Seppia
France, 52 min. EN subs

Through archive footage, newsreels and authentic photos of the time, the film tells the story of an imaginary character: Clara B., photographer and reporter. Clara’s existence is reconstructed by Jonas – a young museum archivist, who discovers a photography and documents’ stock, long forgotten in the storage. At first, Jonas doesn’t know anything about Clara, just her birth date and place. Clara was born in 1901, in Strasbourg, then part of the German Empire. While he explores and matches images, letters, diary notes, hints found in the administrative archive, Jonas leads us through the twentieth century history. This is a quest of characters in search of identity in Franco-German Alsace; a film about an independent woman’s destiny in the middle of war scattered Europe; about friendship and betrayal. Clara B.’s life keeps part of its mysteries and the documents in the archives are difficult to decipher. Clara B.: a meditation on archives, memory and history during the twentieth century history.

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While Everyone Else Sleeps

Director: Erdem Murat Çelikler
Production: Ayfer Tokatlıoglu
Turkey, 61 min. EN subs

Sevket became a well-known photographer in two years, almost instantly after he took his first photograph. The reasons for that are partly his untamed, unique eye, and partly his being a cab driver as well as the subjects in the photos. His subjects are the poor, homeless, outcast people who make up the night population on the dark and insecure streets of Istanbul. They are the reason why he started photography, since the only way he could think of helping them was taking their photographs. The film witnesses a year of Sevket in which he has his first personal exhibition, he sells his first couple of photographs appears almost on every national TV channel and some of the international networks. This growing attention reaches a peak at the opening night of the exhibition. So he finds himself facing questions about what he had achieved for himself and for the people he is trying to help? Will he be able to convince his father and himself in order to live on photography and quit cab driving?

The documentary focuses on the answers of these questions while following Sevket on the dark streets of Istanbul, at his home and before and aftermath of the exhibition.

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Chasing Ice

Director: Jeff Orlowski
Production: Submarine Deluxe
United States, 75 min.

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

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Photo Souvenir

Director: Paul Cohen and Martijn van Haalen
Production: CPS Films/VPRO TV
The Netherlands, 54 min. EN subs

In the 60s and 70s, Philippe Koudjina, who was born in Benin and now lives in Niamey, Niger, was a much loved and popular photographer. Today, the almost blind man sits daily in his wheel chair next to the main street and greets the people passing by, whom he photographed during the euphoric times of independence. His black and white photos show people dancing the Twist to rock and roll music and enthusiastically embracing themselves. These documents of his time have artistic value nowadays. While similar photographs of other African photographers gain high prices in art metropolises like New York and Paris (for example: Malick Sidibé, Golden Lion, Venice Biennale, 2007), Koudjina’s work remains unknown.

Photo Souvenir questions the exclusiveness of the international market. It asks: Which aspects of Koudjina´s photography are relevant in order to give his work recognition in the western world? Away from Koudjina's daily life, we follow two French art connoisseurs who try to offer his photographs to the French galerie: Agnes B.

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Photographer from Riga

Director: Maud Nycander
Production: Mantaray Film
Sweden, 58 min. EN subs

Ruka is one of the premier photographers in Latvia. She portraits people in their own environments, and the pictures have an intense feeling of presence, and are often magically beautiful. Every picture becomes a story about that certain person. In the same way the pictures are naturally simple, without irony. Sometimes I wonder if it would be possible for a photographer from the western world, with the whole history of photography in his or her head, to take such pictures of his or her home country. The first big picture essay she made is about the people in her parents’ home village. It contains unique pictures of people whose lifestyle soon no longer will exist. The pictures have already become an important historical document. The last time the series was put on display was at the Barbican Art Gallery in London 2006. She represented Latvia on the biennale in Venice 1999 and is tied to an art gallery in Germany.

Today she is working on several projects. One is about a block in the older parts of Riga. Everyone there lives cramped, often a whole family in one room. The garden is everyone’s meeting place, and different dramas of everyday life take place there, recounting living conditions in today’s Latvia. Another project is photographing her neighbours. The block where she lives herself is an unlikely mix between poor and rich, between soon vanished times and a modern western lifestyle. The wealthy building proprietor lives next door to the heavily drinking man who lives in a small cottage with his fourteen cats. Inta is a genuinely warm and humoristic person and she manages to be allowed in to everyone’s houses to take pictures.

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The Portraitist

Director: Irek Dobrowolski
Production: Rekontrplan
Poland, 52 min. EN subs

This is a story of a pre-war photographer, Wilhelm Brasse. Art of photography was his life passion. However all of this changed when he got imprisoned in Auschwitz. On the orders of the SS he takes pictures of "40,000 to 50,000 prisoners for the camp files" until January 1945 - among them are also portraits of children used for experiments by Dr. Mengele, concentration camp doctor. In January 1945 Brasse is ordered to destroy the card index. But he secretly resist the order and saves most of the photos. The Portraitist is the touching portrait of a man whose life was destroyed by Auschwitz in a very special way: since the end of the war Brasse has never touched a camera again.

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Director: Christian Klinger
Production: Amadelio Film
United Kingdom, 81 min. EN subs

FRAGILE is a film about photography in the Post Soviet Era in St. Petersburg. It looks at the bitter elegancy of this town, it’s citizen and the tender and graceful models of Evgeny Mokhorev. The film accompanies Evgeny Mokhorev as he photographs people on the street in St. Petersburg in the tradition of Brassaï. In the next part he shares a deep insight in his way of working with nude models. The film features several series of outstanding and moving photographs by Evgeny Mokhorev about children and teens in St. Petersburg.

In between the movie shows further interviews with honoured Art Collector Joseph Baio (Aperture Foundation), Nailya Alexander (Gallerist of Evgeny Mokhorev, New York), Ekaterina Kondranina (Curator, House of Photography, Moscow) and Dr. Irina Tchmyreva (Art Historian, Curator, Moscow).

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Erica McDonald

Develop Tube
United States, 120 min. EN subs

Guest curator Erica McDonald has selected a combination of shorter multi-media pieces by contemporary photographers that showcase the still photograph alongside films about some of the greatest photographers through time.

  • Photographers by David Oates and Mishka Henner 10:30

    Voyeur, hunter and investigator are just a few of the roles that have characterized the photographer when depicted in modern cinema. In Photographers, hundreds of scenes involving this now ubiquitous character are remixed and re-sequenced to expose the clichés, tropes and accidental truisms associated with the medium. As the sole subject of the film, the photographer is turned from observer to observed. This is BlackLab's third film montage, following Trawling the Visual Wreckage and Cosmodrome.


  • Antoine D'Agata, interview by Juri Rechinsky 5:47

    Antoine D'Agata interviewed by Viktor Marushchenko.


  • Double Zero by Jason Eskenazi 5:47

    I began to collect the usually snipped-off & tossed-out start of the roll that contained the first partial frame 00. I thought that they were beautiful and mysterious, and had a sense of loss because it showed just half an image produced during the film loading stages, as the camera door shuts.

    These frames come from Russia, Afghanistan, and New York. They are homage to film: An effect that is lost to the digital age. They were pictures in the process of becoming. The sequence starts from the ground and moves to the horizon and finally up to the sky only to come back down to earth as they resolve from the double zero frame into the zero frame and then the # 1 frame, and the completed whole picture.


  • William Eggleston: Photographer, extended trailer by Reiner Holzemer 7:46

    Filmmaker Reiner Holzemer visited William Eggleston in Memphis in the fall of 2007. For the first time, he was able to get the photographer to talk about his artistic background and concept of photography. Up to then, Eggleston had largely refused to answer such questions. Of his photographs he says, “I am at war with the obvious.”


  • Two Rivers by Carolyn Drake 3:43

    “The two main rivers of Central Asia, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, originate in the mountains near China’s western border and run into the Aral Sea – or at least they used to, before the Soviets diverted them to irrigate cotton fields. The Greeks knew the two rivers as the Oxus and the Jaxartes. A Muslim hadith holds that they are two of the four rivers that flow into Paradise. ‘Two Rivers’ is Carolyn Drake’s photographic record of many visits to this region over the past five years. Drake’s Central Asia is a place where political allegiances, ethnic bonds, national borders, and even physical geography are in such flux as to seem, at times, like fictions. Following the two rivers, she traces a vast ecosystem of stories, nature, money, and history.”

    -Elif Batuman, the New Yorker


  • Solo, Piano - NYC by Anthony Sherin 5:10

    On a cold winter morning, a lone piano stands curbside in New York City. Passersby slow, stop, and play. Some play well. All day long they collect and disperse, and into the night they measure and shove and deliberate. What if…? Can we take it? Who abandons a piano?

    Plinking slightly out-of-tune over the white noise of Broadway’s cars, buses, trucks, and sirens, the piano awaits its fate. Solo, Piano – NYC is a 5-minute film of the last 24 hours of a once-wanted piano.


  • The Mexican Suitcase, film trailer by Trisha Ziff 2:55

    The Mexican Suitcase is a 90 minute feature documentary that tells the extraordinary story of the recovery of 4,500 negatives taken by photographers Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David Seymour during the Spanish Civil War, with an extraordinary score by composer Michael Nyman. The film reveals the story of the journey of these lost negatives from France to Mexico.

    The Mexican Suitcase is a film about photography and pictures taken by photographers who would become icons of the twentieth century. They photographed with a Leica and changed the way we saw war. All three would die while documenting wars. The Mexican Suitcase tells their story. It is is also a film about the power of memory. It's a great story and asks... Who owns our histories? Why does the past matter today?


  • The Cornell Capa Legacy Project, Part 1: A Conversation with Anna Winand directed by Rachel Elizabeth Seed 3:00

    Director Rachel Elizabeth Seed, whose parents were introduced by the major photography world player Cornell Capa, interviews Anna Winand, Capa's assistant of many years, about the early days of ICP and how his vision came to take shape during that time in the form of the now 40-year-old institution.


  • Beyond Iconic, film excerpt by Hanna Sawka 10:01

    “Beyond Iconic” is a film about Magnum photographer Dennis Stock, who created some of the most famous images in the world. Stock’s photograph of James Dean in Times Square was included in BBC’s 100 Most Famous Photographs. Many photos he made are historic; the Hollywood Golden Era, Jazz greats, the hippie generation and stunning images of landscapes, architecture and nature. Stocks’ works are in collections around the world, including the International Center of Photography (NY), the National Gallery (Washington, DC), and the Art Institute of Chicago. Stock passed away in 2010 at the age of 81. “Beyond Iconic” was made during the last three years of his life and it includes interviews, footage from a workshop and hundreds of his brilliant photographs. Introducing the photographer in his own words, the film delves into the meaning of photography, life and art. Both a form of art and a way to record reality, photography relates to our existence. According to Stock, “It is a marvelous way of saying ‘I’ve been here!’"


  • Schools for the Colored by Wendel White 3:12

    Schools for the Colored is an extension of the ideas that formed my project Small Towns, Black Lives, in that; it is a continuation of my journey through the African American landscape. I began making photographs of historically African American school buildings during the very first weeks of the Small Towns, Black Lives project more than twenty years ago. In Schools for the Colored I began to pay attention to the many structures and sites (also making photographs of places where segregated schools once stood) that operated as segregated schools.

    These photographs depict the buildings and landscapes that were associated with the system of racially segregated schools established at the southern boundaries of the northern United States. This area, sometimes referred to as “Up-South,” encompasses the northern “free” states that bordered the slave states. Schools for the Colored is the representation the duality of racial distinction within American culture. The “veil” (the digital imaging technique of obscuring the landscape surrounding the schools) is a representation of DuBois’ concept, informing the visual narrative in these photographs. Some of the images depict sites where the original structure is no longer present. As a placeholder, I have inserted silhouettes of the original building or what I imagine of the appearance of the original building. The architecture and geography of America’s educational Apartied, in the form of a system of “colored schools,” within the landscape of southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois is the central concern of this project.


  • With Signs Following by Kate Fowler and Mark Strandquist 7:30

    With Signs Following is a 16mm documentary film, multi-media video and photographic project by Kate Fowler and Mark Strandquist. It follows the life of Randy 'Mack' Wolford, a devout Pentecostal preacher from Bluefield, West Virginia, and is a visual exploration of the power of his faith, the nature of his traditions and the profound and often deadly sincerity of his beliefs. It is a story of one man's journey towards spiritual enlightenment, resulting in his untimely death. The documentary film, 'With Signs Following' is still in post-production and will be available in December.


  • One to Nothing by Irina Rozovsky 4:51

    One to Nothing depicts an Israel we do not see on the news. These images go beyond politics: they do not defend a side or critique the conflict. Here, Israel is seen in the unexpected light of empathetic neutrality, as a mythological yet mundane backdrop to the age long struggle between man and the dusty, sun bleached landscape of his origin. The score to this existential battle is locked at 1– 0, with no finish line in sight. Images are interwoven through loose and open-ended narrative depicting a historic tension through acute, personal observations.


  • The Paris Film by Anja Hitzenberger and Edward Ratliff 15:01

    “The Paris Film” is a visual short story inspired by the work of Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. A woman staying in a friend’s apartment in Paris has a weekly routine: every Tuesday she goes to a photobooth and takes a picture of herself. But then strange things start to happen.


  • Kertesz in Paris by Jean-François Dars and Anne Papillault 10:41

    This 1982 10 minute film by Jean-François Dars & Anne Papillault follows Andre Kertész in Paris, with Christian Caujolle and Robert Doisneau. French with English subtitles, translated by Hélène Wilkinson.


  • Night Walk, book trailer by Ken Schles 2:55

    Twenty-five years after the printing of his seminal 1988 book, Invisible City, Ken Schles revisits his archive and fashions a narrative of lost youth: a delirious, peripatetic walk in the evening air of an irretrievable Downtown New York as he saw and experienced it. Night Walk is a substantive and intimate chronicle of New York’s last pre-Internet bohemian outpost, a stream of consciousness portrayal that peels back layers of petulance and squalor to find the frisson and striving of a life lived amongst the rubble. Here, Schles embodies the flâneur as Sontag defines it, as a “connoisseur of empathy”, “cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes.” We see in Night Walk a new and revelatory Ulysses for the 21st century: a searching tale of wonder and desire, life and love in the dying hulk of a ruined American city.

    Ken Schles published Invisible City (1988), his first monograph, while still living in an East Village tenement. The book was exhibited by The Museum of Modern Art and was a New York Times notable book of the year. It received an award from The American Institute of Graphic Arts for book design and is included in 802 Photo Books from the M. + M. Auer Collection, a compendium of photobooks important to the medium. It is also noted in 10 x 10 American Photobooks, a book that outlines significant American photobooks from the last twenty-five years. Vince Aletti called Invisible City “hellishly brilliant.” A new book, Night Walk, looks back at that same period of neglect and constructs, from previously unpublished work, a peripatetic walk in the evening air of a lost pre-Internet bohemian Downtown New York. A reprint of Invisible City and the publication of Night Walk are forthcoming from Steidl.


  • Invisible City, book trailer by Ken Schles 4:58

    For a decade Ken Schles watched the passing of time from his Lower East Side neighborhood. His camera fixed instances of his observations, and those moments became the foundation of his invisible city. Friends and architecture came under the scrutiny of his lens and, when sorted and viewed in the pages of this book, a remarkable achievement of personal vision emerges.

    A New York Times notable book of the Year and awarded by AIGA for book design, Invisible City also appears in 802 Photo Books from the M + M Auer Collection, a compendium of important books important in the history of the photographic medium. In 1992 Invisible City was exhibited in More Than One Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, an exhibit that surveyed the range of photographic practice in various media where it was the sole representative of the published photographic book. It was also recently listed in 10x10 American Photobooks, a survey of significant American photography books published the last twenty-five years. Vince Aletti called it, "hellishly brilliant." Invisible City stands alongside Brassai’s Paris de Nuit and van der Elsken’s Love On The Left Bank as one of the 20th century’s great depictions of nocturnal bohemian experience. Steidl, second edition. Göttingen, Germany. First edition Twelvetrees Press, 1988. Pasadena, California. 80 pages, 62 photographs.


  • August Sander - People of the 20th Century, extended trailer by Reiner Holzemer 8:43

    Reiner Holzemer's film focuses not only on August Sander's photographic work but also on his biography: his humble origins as well as his successful time in Linz as a young studio photographer.


  • Strong Enough To Fight by Bob Miller 7:00

    Strong Enough To Fight is a documentary short that follows the journey of one Kenyan youth as he struggles to find reconciliation in post-conflict Kenya.

    This non-fiction narrative follows the story of Kamau "Kelly" Ng'ang'a, a 23 year-old Kenyan who dreams of becoming a professional boxer. As a young bantamweight fighter, Kelly left his family's comfortable home in the rural countryside to live and train in a city slum. He's part of a hodgepodge group of adolescents, each from different tribes, that calls themselves the Kibera Olympic Boxing Club. The group's ethnic diversity is remarkable given the 2008 post-election violence in which people from different tribes were forced violently out of slums. After winning the 2011 Nairobi Open, Kelly sets his sights on the Kenya Open – a qualifying bout for the 2012 Olympic Games. But Kelly's dreams are complicated by his nation's history of ethnic rivalries. As the competition approaches, he and his teammates come to represent a trend of cross-tribe brotherhood in a healing nation.


  • Irish Travellers by Alen MacWeeney 5:11

    They are a subject of Yeats’s poetry. They are said to have forged the nails for Christ’s crucifixion, and been cursed by God to wander the world until Judgment Day. Once called Tinkers and now known by their preferred designation of Travellers. Distrustful of “settled” people, endangered by restrictions on their movements, subject for centuries to rumor and legend, they have long defied understanding. They are the Travellers, Ireland’s indigenous nomads. Photographer Alen MacWeeney explores deeply these Celtic rovers whose way of life is now on the verge of extinction.

    Alen MacWeeney eventually published a book of these photographs along with a CD of Traveller music titled "Irish Travellers: Tinkers No More". He also provided photographs of the Travellers for a book by Mervyn Ennis titled "Once Upon a Time in Tallaght", produced two CD collections and co-directed a feature length RTE/BBC4 documentary about the lives of his subjects 35 years later.


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