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Combined Programme 1

Non-Fiction 5 Films

This combined programme includes recent work by Kiran Kaur Brar, Suneil Sanzgiri, Shireen Seno, Hope Strickland.

Films

Letter From Your Far-Off Country

Suneil Sanzgiri | 2020 | USA | 17’

Incorporating a range of digital and analogue material including video newsreel, 3D maps of Kashmir’s mountains and on-screen text message exchanges with his father – all rendered onto expired 16mm film stock – Sanzgiri’s film essay searches for solidarity in the sounds and colours of the spontaneous Muslim women-led Shaheen Bagh movement in Delhi, the song of Iqbal Bano, the theatre of Safdar Hashmi, and images of B. R. Ambedkar – the radical anti-caste Dalit intellectual and founder of the Indian constitution. Centred around letters written to a distant relative, Sanzgiri traces lines and lineages of ancestral memory, poetry, history, songs, and ruins from his birth in 1989.

Boots on Ground

Kiran Kaur Brar | 2021 | UK | 8.46’

Boots on Ground is an autobiographical account of a second-generation British South Asian woman’s experiences with the police, racism and violence in London. Presented in split-screen, mobile phone footage captured during protests in the summer of 2019 show the legs and feet of police officers patrolling the area around Buckingham Palace and The Houses of Parliament in indiscernible formations. Kiran Kaur Brar’s spoken narration describes a disturbing personal chronology of police violence and racial discrimination, beginning in her childhood in the 1980s and eventually converging with the day of filming.

To Pick a Flower

Shireen Seno | 2021 | Philippines | 17’

This video essay centres around the formation of Kolambugan, a lumber town established by an American businessman in the Philippines, and that takes its name from the tree species which grows prominently in the surrounding area. Shireen Seno incorporates archival photographs from the American Colonial Era (1898-1946) to explore the roots and growth of photography and capitalism in the Philippines. “There’s a tension to image-making that makes it so interesting – to keep moments of life with you, but in doing so, perhaps you also take something away from them. As a friend once said to me, it’s kind of like picking a flower: it’s beautiful and you want to take it, but you’re killing it at the same time. The camera enables us to straddle that fine line between life and death.” (Shireen Seno)

If I could name you myself (I would hold you forever)

Hope Strickland | 2021 | UK | 8’

“Cotton is a plant with connotations that far surpass its delicate white flowers, bringing to mind issues of enforced labour, of exploitation, and of colonialism. Yet the very crop, for which creole women were forced into labour, offered a form of herbal resistance: cotton root bark could be used as birth control. Herbal knowledge, carefully gathered and held, was used amongst the women to defy a lineage of servitude. Beneath the inherent violence of the slave economic system, we find quiet resistance and moments of deep, loving rebellion. If I could name you myself (I would hold you forever) is in memoriam of this legacy.” (Hope Strickland)

Q&A

Kiran Kaur Brar, Suneil Sanzgiri and Shireen Seno in conversation with Aily Nash