Flaherty Film Seminar 2024

To Commune

How does cinema enable us to commune? We’re interested in the potential of groups gathering around a screen over a period of time. We approach documentary filmmaking as that which brings together bodies, minds and spirits across different spaces, worlds and temporalities.

Beyond self-organizing and community-building, to commune is to communicate with mystical, animistic, and ritualistic capacities. Beyond affirming commonality, to commune is to connect with others and to be in touch with the unknowable. We turn to the fundamental value of cinema as an encounter with beings and worlds very different from our own.

 Our programme seeks to explore how contemporary filmmakers and moving image artists are expanding the imaginative possibilities of communing through documentary forms. We want to highlight how filmmakers and artists, especially those connected to the Global South, are inheriting surprising legacies of historical efforts to commune. We’re intrigued by artistic explorations of communal capacities in spaces and situations such as the classroom, the ritual, the carnival, the film set, the potent site, the gathering and the protest.

Within the immediate context of the Flaherty Seminar, we’re interested in exploring the latent communal capacities of its format, apparatus, and institutional infrastructure. Our curatorial approach seeks to explore the tensions and the sparks of efforts to commune. Not to gather to recognise an identity or a common concern, but to make relations on grounds of radical differentiation. 

Curatorial proposition for the 69th Flaherty Seminar

—May Adadol Ingawanij & Julian Akira Ross, August 2023