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Film festival: The revolution moves online

PREVIEW: Berlin Revolution Film Festival is among the first to move online, thus saving its programme from cancellation. Get ready for a weekend of experimental shorts and underground features for free!

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Berlin Revolutionary Film Festival is streaming its entire programme online – for free! (Photo: still from “Maybe Nymph” by Joanna Mamede, screening in the Shorts IV – The Journey section)

With local and international film festivals having to postpone or outright cancel their 2020 programmes, some undeterrable clever clogs are finding ingenious ways of keeping their festivals open to the public.

Falling into that category are the organisers of Berlin Revolution Film Festival (formerly known as Berlin Experimental), who champion the very best of unconventional and underground films from all over the world. Unlike the “postponed” (and frankly prudish, if you ask us) Cannes, who recently missed a trick by not agreeing to let YouPorn stream their full line-up, Berlin Revolution Film Festival are making the best of a bad situation. They’ve cleverly shaped their fourth edition as not only one of the first festivals to take place as a free online livestream, but also as a celebration that keeps us connected during these strange times

We strongly recommend you to join BRFF and this year’s jury, which includes Iranian-Irish avant-garde filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi and Canadian indie filmmaker Isiah Medina, on Saturday 4th (starting at 17:00) and Sunday 5th (16:00 onwards). The festival will be livestreamed for free on BRFF’s website and on the platform Twitch.tv. The Twitch option allows you to chat live as well as donate, and all of the funds generated from the Twitch livestream audience will go to the filmmakers participating in the programme.

On both sites, you’ll be able to watch the 50 films (mostly shorts, with three feature-length films) that make up their truly tempting line-up, as well as enjoy Q&As with the filmmakers, which will take place between the screening blocks.

Saturday’s programme consists of Shorts I – Through Our Eyes (18:00 – 19:30), including Irish filmmaker Luke Morgan’s “The Butterfly Love Song”, based on the award-winning short story by Seamus Scanlon, as well as two ghost stories from France and the UK: Yann Pichot’s “See My Ghost Passing”, which sees Lilith visited by the ghost of her lost love, and Ed Carter’s “Spring II”, about two women who encounter each other across dimensions, each perceiving the other as a ghost. Shorts II – Identity (20:00 – 21:30) and Shorts III – Life (22:00) follow, with the first day topped off by the screening of Enrique Bencomo’s feature film, Atacama. This 2020 feature sees a city slicker, a miner and an astronomer converge in the Atacama Desert; there, misery and ambition will lead them to dark places.

Sunday’s programme is equally as intriguing. The Carte Blanche Shorts I line-up starts at 16:00, comprising of six shorts followed by the feature-length gangster dramady Curtino Bros by Argentinian director Julián Reboratti. Shorts IV – The Journey (18:00 – 19:30) includes Joanna Mamede’s highly promising “Maybe Nymph”, a story inspired by the myth of Eco and Narcissus. It sees the Brazilian director explore the concept of ‘Antropofagia’ in order to incisively address the topic of lopsided relationships, whether they be between woman and man, or colonised and coloniser. Next up are the Carte Blanche Shorts II (20:00 – 21:30) and the Shorts V – One’s Nature (22:00) programmes, capped off by the festival closer: Colin Hickey’s Cork-set visual tone poem, “The Evening Redness In The South”.

As if that wasn’t enough to liven up your weekend, BRFF are making things interactive for their home-based fans with live voting for the Audience Award. Indeed, everyone watching on BRFF’s Twitch channel can vote for their favourite film, with the winner receiving a cash prize of €350. The closing ceremony takes place on Sunday night at 23:30.

You can check out the full globe-hopping programme on Berlin Revolutionary Film Festival’s website. Make sure you don’t miss out on a weekend of underground gems, and the opportunity to support this livestreamed festival alternative.