Felipe Aljure
Artistic Director

Freedom and Disobedience

The world goes through a time in which its logics and relations are being re-written, re-designed, questioned and undergoing the scrutiny of a collective challenge. The spiral of knowledge has become obsolete and we are deconstructing it to put it back together adding new understandings and discarding shattered truths.

The social contract of the second post-war, that had awarded a predominant role to the Anglo-saxon hegemony in the world order, is fading away since its most notorious countries have opted to walk the path of isolationism.

The people have won a voice through technology, but their voices can also be object of manipulation from the gods of technology and the capitals that support them.

Contemporary individuals feel that they can now represent themselves and do not see a need to be represented using the mechanisms that their own democracies and systems have to offer them.

These are times of change, we ride a wave that on the surface seems disordered, but deep down carries an interpretation built by the contemporary individual on the collapse of the present order and the need to create a new one.

In this context is that the Cartagena International Film Festival team has faced the challenge of proposing our 59th edition.

This generation of flm makers was born without the constrains that we had to endure during the years of the sacred camera and the great peregrination we needed to overcome in order to reach its technological altar and put it to the task of creating the flm of our dreams. This generation was born with the camera in its pocket, and has blended so deeply into its dayly life that sometimes it is used as a phone. The editing room is inside the computers, tabletop or portable, and their screens are in the intangible world of social media, to which they have access day and night and enables them to interact with contents, receive and process audiovisual experiences and upload their own creations to be enjoyed by others.

The audiovisual representation apparatus went from the limitations to access and a modest volume of production to one of frenetic growth in which natural born narrators pop up to life through the immediacy of their phones and computers, aswell as consumers that have such a broad menu of moving images that they have become choosy to commit time to viewings even with immediate access to them. There is also the wonderful exception of Relative Time, that when applied to a great three hour long flm renders it short, while making too long a less fortunate one-hour piece.

All these newer vectors of analysis have presented us this year with a new symptomatology that interacts with our FICCI experience. We have watched around 3000 flms from all sources, and for the frst time in the 59 years of history of our Festival, we received over 1000 flms through our platform. We had proposals from 62 countries and the Curator Committee included 44 of them. We doubled the amount raised through entries and, regarding accreditations we have surpassed all statistics from earlier editions. Film is a cultural phenomenon that beats vigorously and remains the greater, vital and sole purpose of our Festival.

The cinematographic freedom and the generational disobedience are expressed in this FICCI 59 through stories that claim for a new social, geopolitical, economic, sexual and humane order that permeates the vast latitude of themes portrayed in the flms we will be screening this year. That is what Film Festivals are for, to allow the visibility of cinematographic writings that the establishment refuses to hear and blocks through its mechanisms of industrial, commercial and intellectual castration.

We have cinema from Colombia, Ibero America and the world in its most plural themes and contemporary expressions, but that hasn’t stopped us from looking back through our “Classic Cinema” section, or looking ahead to our VR installation at the unique venue of Las Bóvedas as a taste of what the future of moving images brings to us.

We have also added a new section called “People that make flms and what flms make of people”, where contemporary cinematographers in disobedience have out powered the chains of an iron and obsolescent cinematographic credo to blast the myth of the dipthyc conflict of the behind the scenes versus in front of camera, and have pushed flm narrative to create a new cinematic idiom in which crew members historically locked behind the scenes are now also in front of the camera starring or playing as a cast member in their own shootings.

The material received has showed us that there are topics that the planet is eager to tell and we have identifed sections like “Films and Teens”, we also preserved sections with great value from our past editions such as “War and peace” and have placed an accent over both the Spanish speaking and Lusitanian speaking production by curating the sections “Spanish Cinema” and “Brazilian Cinema”.

We have heard, loud and clear, voices that had been claiming for a space since long and fortunately, we were able to open up the FICCI for them this year. “De Indias”, “Afro Cinema” and “Indigenous Cinema” are three categories that we have promoted this year, it is of great symbolic value that they are born coinciding with the bicentennial of our independence, and that will allow our less visible cinematic populations to have a series of spaces for screenings, interaction with the industry and reflections from an academic perspective.

We also want to present children with a FICCI experience and have them feel from an early age that they belong to flm festivals and help them construct more robust and deeper audiovisual experiences than the ones their electronic toys have to offer. We want them to understand that flm is inevitable for human evolution, no matter its format, and that it will be able to coexist with the new mobile screens of a lesser scale, in the same way that scenic arts succeeded at coexisting with flm and the latter at living on next to television.

Surrounded by cinematographic freedom, irrevocable and fundamental for cinema to remain pertinent, we have opened our special section “Migration and Miscegenation” in which we have gathered titles that speak of the great input and challenges that migrations entail and the different forms of miscegenation they facilitate, considering that we perceive, with preoccupation, that a phenomenon that has marked and enriched human evolution is now linked to the word problem. The problem of migration does not exist. The challenges it carries do. Migration and miscegenation are great forces that have given traction to human evolution. There have also been migrations in the form of conquests that have led to pain and extermination for entire civilizations, and that is also a reflection that cannot be postponed, so that hopefully one day it becomes an unrepeatable practice.

Film itself is a form of miscegenation of the arts, because concepts and creations also migrate and miscegenate. For Cinema to exist it took the convergence of photography, scenic arts, literature, music, dance, painting, sculpture and so many other layers of art and technology that miscegenated more than a century ago into a new form of art that have allowed us, the human primate, to explore with cinematographic opinions that we call flms, about our quest on Earth, our origin and our fate, our purpose, the reason for our cosmic drift on a rock that glides through the cosmos, and above all, it has allowed the human species to understand how little and insignifcant we are in the cosmic scale and that we are not even close to answering the fundamental questions about life, but also that flm is not here to deliver the answers, but to keep the questions alive.