Hacking Sinema Futures Together

United Screens of SAVVY Contemporary, NAAS – Network of Arab Alternative Screens and Sinema Transtopia of bi’bak, are pleased to announce the launching of Hacking Sinema Futures Together, a succession of events taking place from February to June 2022 in Berlin and beyond. Together we acknowledge the urgent need for changes in the infrastructure of cinema. We come together to claim space – for the free circulation of our imaginaries and for cinemas to exist as friction zones, as spaces of reflection and recalibration of our realities. 

Having strived against the currents that alternative cinema culture(s) face in our respective specificities as United Screens, NAAS and Sinema Transtopia, we are joining our streams. Our enquiries into the challenges of funds, spaces, archiving, aesthetics and censorship and the opportunities afforded by collectivity’s shaping of technology, our experimentation with progressive versions of collective allocation and management of funds as networks of solidarity and our embodied practice of translocality through programming calls for us to flow together and we welcome all divergent streams to join us. 

Over the course of four months, arts and film spaces spread across geographies, from Indonesia, Tunisia, Colombia to Germany, will become inevitable sites for inquiry and potential to ponder on the following questions with peers and practitioners: We wonder, how can the spirit of watching and discussing cinema collectively be sustained in the age of fierce digitalisation, cultural gatekeeping and structural crises? How can interdependence and translocality help us to develop better ways of working together in the future? What cultural and economic imaginaries can we play with to find alternative forms of organizing? And what role can decentralized communities and technologies play in the construction of sustainable film circulation infrastructure?

Departing from the above questions and the implications of space, collectivity and technology on film circulation, in occurrence we will successively try to:

::: Form a comprehensive picture of commoning and self determination practices that are possible in cinema spaces; 

::: Explore value systems and social relations, as well as the circulation mechanisms of ideas, funds and resources that can be articulated through alternative forms of organising and peer-to peer collaboration; 

::: Unpack the realities of decentralised technologies for alternative film and video art communities with economic power and agency to perpetuate a radical thinking for the dissemination and management of resources and funds.

UNITED SCREENS is a long-term research, networking, and exhibition project conceived by SAVVY Contemporary intending to create an alliance of community cinema programmers loving independent film and sharing a condition of economic or political fragility. Through this project, we aim to critically examine and reimagine tools, methodologies, value metrics and network logics for community cinema programmers from the South to circulate alternative films and video art across the South. Drawing lessons from the combined spirit of the anti-neocolonial Third Cinema proposition of South America, film cooperatives of South Asia, avant-garde movements of Eastern Europe, as well as decolonial resistances of the African continent, United Screens aspires to be a decentralized, peer-promoted think-well on film culture.

NAAS - Network of Arab Alternative Screens is a network of 21 film exhibition spaces that envisions communities across the Arabic-speaking region taking ownership of their available resources and of the decision-making around their allocation. The network prioritizes horizontal governance and measures of accountability in the arts and culture sector to achieve an equitable distribution of these resources, unbridled access to knowledge, and commitment to the radical values and practices of working together. In 2017, NAAS launched its program Cinapses that aims to lead members into new opportunities for institutional sustainability and programmatic development and, on the other, to foster collaboration and solidarity among them. Cinapses builds an ecosystem and strong tools to be used by everyone in the network and sector more broadly, developing film circulation, community outreach, and audience engagement programs. It encourages joint initiatives and promotes the sharing of experiences, resources, and opportunities while activating network mobility.  

SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA, the cinema-experiment by bi’bak, explores cinema as a space of social discourse, exchange, and solidarity. The curated film series brings together diverse social communities and connects places both near and geographically distant; it links pasts, presents and futures and moves away from a eurocentric gaze towards transnational, (post-)migrant and postcolonial perspectives. SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA is a different kind of cinema, one simultaneously committed to local and international communities, that understands cinema as an important public sphere of sociality; it considers film history as crucial to the work of cultural memory and is committed to a diversity of film culture and film art. In Haus der Statistik at Berlin-Alexanderplatz, SİNEMA TRANSTOPIA builds a bridge between urban practice and film to create a space that opens access, stimulates discussion, educates, moves, provokes and encourages.