Current Film Conference

Photo: Steven Keller

Cinema Crossing Borders

23rd International Bremen Film Conference

Since its invention, cinema has been exploring the practice of creating and identifying borders, including: geographical borders, national borders, the abolition of borders and the construction of walls to delimitate borders. However, despite the existence of borders, films have travelled and continue to travel around the world: in former times through classic trade routes to cinema theatres and film festivals, but nowadays also as digital information. The cinema’s narratives, as well as the journeys of the films themselves, represent and describe national boundaries as products of a political, social and aesthetic practice that changes culturally. Following contemporary studies on migration and cinema, cinema in exile and diaspora, as well as in the context of interdisciplinary border studies, the 23rd Bremen International Film Conference invites international experts to reflect on “Cinema Crossing Borders” as practices of border and cross-border cinema.

The concept of cross-border cinema is linked to specific characters: vagabonds, migrants, merchants, tourists or terrorists – but also to far less defined and less related phenomena – such as “strangers” or “aliens”. Cross-border cinema is only seemingly anchored to classic genres – such as: road movie, western, war film and science fiction; or to contemporary forms, including: postcolonial and transnational cinema, multicultural cinema etc. As a genuine portrayal of movement, cross-border cinema encompasses all of these genres – including Hollywood cinema, documentary film, essay film, animation, etc. From its origins to the present, cinema seems to be a predestined medium for staging and transcending border transitions, but it also allows participation in border practices, shaping and reshaping them.

Cinema has, since its beginnings, become a key part of the global economy as well as of colonialism and of the appropriation of the world through images, audio-visual documents and productions. Films are themselves specific products of the global trade, they speak of their own border crossings, rendering them visible and audible, thus contributing to border negotiations. International co-productions, festivals and distribution channels are proof of this. Furthermore, the theoretical and historical discourses also shape and reflect the overcoming of national-state boundaries as the object of cinematic creation as well as its context in a globalised world. These discourses include, for example, historical considerations of the possibility for a cinematographic universal language, concepts for multilingual film productions, but also research into exile. From a more contemporary perspective, these discourses include cinema and migration and cinema of diaspora which explicitly addresses the above developments.

The 23rd International Bremen Film Conference aims to explore all the varieties of analytical approaches to “Cinema Crossing Borders” and to enhance the debate/discussion on how cinema forms and informs our idea of borders. Furthermore, it will also facilitate the analysis of critical and affirmative audio-visual productions as discourses on borders. The 23rd International Bremen Film Conference offers a platform for interdisciplinary exchange on border narratives and representations on screen. The conference will combine talks, panel discussions, film screenings and Q&As with artists. It will take place from April 25th to 29th, 2018 at Bremen’s communal cinema CITY 46.

Angela Rabing
University Bremen