12th Archive, Memory and Ethnography International Film Festival
17 to 21 october | Porto, Portugal
Batalha Centro de Cinema
Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, Editoria, Casa Comum, A Leste
The Family Film project returns to Porto for its 12th edition, from October 17 to 21, 2023, at Batalha Centro de Cinema, with a program dedicated to cinematographic experimentalism and the ethical-aesthetic questioning of the images and imagery, always with a special focus on the spaces of intimacy and the cinema that is created from within those spaces.
The festival competitive section maintains its usual matrix, with the different sessions organized in two broad thematic areas: “Lives and Places” (focusing on the aesthetic approach to everyday life, habitats and biographies) and “Memory and Archive” (dedicated to the temporality and the poetic appropriation of testimonies and found footage). There will be also two competitive fiction sessions, one of which is dedicated to Portuguese short films. In all, the competitive section of the festival brings together twenty-two films from sixteen nationalities, including five nationally produced films.
This year's edition will dedicate its main focus to the work of the Japanese director Naomi Kawase, an unavoidable figure in contemporary world cinema, awarded several times at Cannes. As usual at this festival, the focus will be mostly on the initial and most personal period of her career, with the screening of a total of nine documentary or cine-diaristic films directed between 1992 and 2012, all of them set in the family milieu – the affective relationship with her great-aunt, the figure of the absent father who abandoned her as a child, the birth of her son –, but also films characterized by self-representation and the search for meaning and identity, including her own identity as a film director. Naomi Kawase will come to Porto to present the selection of films and will also give a masterclass on her work, hosted by the Italian film critic and programmer Luciano Barisone, a specialist in her work. The screening of the films will be organized in four sessions: a first session dedicated to the so-called “grandma trilogy”, with the films Katatsumori , Ten, mitake (See the Heaven)  and Hi wa katabuki (Sun on the Horizon) ; a second session with the films Embracing  and Kya Ka Ra Ba A (Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth) , both related to the theme of the absent father; a third session with three later films that continue the same familiar themes, focusing on abandonment, death and birth: Shadow , Tarachime (Birth/Mother)  and Chiri (Trace) ; and, finally, the closing session of the festival, with the feature film Genpin , which deepens the theme of the interdependence between life and death.
In addition to the main focus and the competitive sessions, the festival will also include masterclasses, events and experimental film screenings in its program, with emphasis on the conversation with the French director David Ernaux-Briot, who will be present to talk about the film Les Années Super 8 , co-directed by him and his mother, Annie Ernaux, winner of the Literature Nobel Prize 2022. The film, which will be shown out of competition, was built from the family archive, intersecting with the themes explored in the literary work of Annie Ernaux, who also lends her voice to the film's narration.
This edition is also marked by the return of some artists and filmmakers who have already been part of the festival's programming in previous editions: the North American artist and curator Peter Freund will give a masterclass entitled “Appropriation: the productive failure to re-enact”, within the scope of which some of his films will also be shown. We also have a masterclass by the multidisciplinary artist Fernando José Pereira, which will include the screening of his film O Aterro , on the theme of time and duration in cinema. And also the masterclass “Entre Linhas”, by the artist and director Luciana Fina, dedicated to her project Andromeda, in the scope of which an experimental documentary will be shown on the first evening of the festival, in addition to the prior opening of an exhibition also included in the program.
Integrated in the usual cycle of performances Private Collection, this year there will be performances by Xana Novais, Bruno Senune, Teresa Noronha Feio and Vera Mota (which will take place at the A Leste Gallery and the Soares dos Reis National Museum).
Children and young people also continue to count on the workshop “Entre Imagens” hosted by Tânia Dinis, a filmmaker and artist who has been present at the festival in various ways. This year, in addition to the workshop, Tânia Dinis will have an additional involvement in partnership with Ricardo Leite: a community project filmed in super8 whose results will be presented at Casa Comum, marking the start of the festival’s week schedule.
Also within the scope of the program, the new book entitled “Aesthetic Authenticity in Cinema” will be released. Edited with the support of the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Porto, the book features original texts by a dozen international authors who were invited to reflect on the concept of authenticity in the context of cinema, a concept that today seems more fragile than ever, especially in a year marked by the widespread uses of artificial intelligence to produce “synthetic” discourses, not only textual, but also audiovisual. The book release will include a round table with the presence of some of the authors that integrate the book, for an informal discussion open to public participation.
A mention to the usual partners that support and reinforce the festival's programming in different ways, especially the Balleteatro, the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Porto and the Superior School of Media, Arts and Design (P. Porto). Thanks also to the official sponsors of the festival's awards: Mercado Bom Sucesso (Grand Jury Prize), Lightbox (Memory and Archive Award) and PROF (Lives and Places Award).
We wish you a good Family Film Project 2023!