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Coming soon: Dortmund |Cologne International Women's Film Festival 21-26 April 2009 in Dortmund

img  Claudia Lindner

This year's festival focuses on the issue of freedom. With their cinematic contributions, filmmakers from all over the world share their views and opinions about different forms of freedom and about questions like who can be free in this world and at whose costs. As freedom is a complex topic, the overall focus can be found again in all the festival's sections. The 'Inner Freedom' section e.g. takes a closer look to people's private ideals of freedom. Here, one can find movies like the documentary „Himalaya, le Chemin du Ciel“ (Himalaya, the path to the sky) by French filmmaker Marianne Chaud about the troublesome voyage of buddhistic child monks to their families.

A severe limitation of freedom for everyone in practically all ways is executed by institutions which is reflected in the section „Under Control“. The most extreme form of control thereby is exercised by prisons, and Stéphane Mercurio portrays in her movie „A Coté“ the people in a guesthouse of a prison in Rennes visiting the inmates there, confronting the audience with the violence and random repression of the prison system. But not only people on the bottom end of society are affected by control limiting their freedom. As director Daniela Marxer manages to show in the documentary „Zuoz“, the behaviour norms of a Swiss elite school marginalise everyone who doesn't fit in and by this limits the freedom of growth of people's personalities.

Another important section, „Freedom is a white Male“ deals with the question whether the amount of freedom a person can have depends on the right colour, their wealth and a passport making it possible to live where life is physically and economically safe and to travel everywhere one wants by granting entry to all countries.“Hotel Sahara“, a documentary by Bettina Haasen, tells the story of people being marooned in Nouhadibou in Mauritania, a town at the seaside of the Atlantic Ocean, limited by the Sahara on the other side. Here, thousands of refugees who have left their home countries for a better and safer life in Europe are waiting for a chance to head for the destination of their dreams. The documentary shows an unreal transit area, a momentum of constant coming and going and unfulfilled hopes between presence and past.

Beside the mentioned sections, a retrospective on movies of the 1960s is shown at the festival, recalling concepts of freedom in contemporary filmmaking as well as an idea of what people – especially women – fought against and fought for. A fascinating insight into an epoch where radical dicourses of freedom emerged, and when women for the first time took the right to tell their own stories, reflecting their hopes and dreams. This leads directly to another important section of the festival, experimental films. The IFFF wants to present alternatives to monoformat tv or mainstream cinema which allows women less and less to technically and artistically pursue their own ways. Showing some of the works of experimental women filmmakers from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Dortmund festival wants to open debate about pushing the borders of film imagery and performance.

The Dortmund Cologne International Women's Film Festival also offers a wide range of other specials, actions or concerts. It is framed by the Schools Film Week for school students and young adults, workshops for filmmakers in the fields of film finance or PR as well as master classes on directing or film music. Moreover, special screenings of rediscovered silent movies as well as the works of famous directors like Agnès Varda are offered.

The action „A Wall is a Screen“ brings the festival into the city, inviting viewers to stroll around the city of Dortmund, stopping at some light coloured walls to see short movies.

A considerable programme is offered by this year's IFFF, certainly worth a closer look.


The International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund|Cologne

April, 21st - 26th 2009, Dortmund

Official website:





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