From 12 to 21 November 2021, exground filmfest will finally be returning to cinemas for its 34th edition. After last year’s festival edition was forced to forego its original hybrid concept for an exclusively online version on short notice, the film programme, featuring myriad gems of international indie cinema, can finally take place live and in-person in Hessen’s state capitol of Wiesbaden and the surrounding area. With a public health approach suitable for the ongoing pandemic situation, festival events will be spread out over various venues, with Caligari FilmBühne, Murnau-Filmtheater and the Marktkirche crypt once again hosting the heart of the action for this popular festival that has taken place annually since its inception in 1990. However, exground filmfest 34 will also feature online programming: a large number of the festival films will be available on-demand, while film talks and panel discussions, as well as the festival opening and award ceremonies, will be streamed live on exground’s own YouTube channel.
Opening Film QUEEN OF GLORY by Nana Mensah
With the USA, this year exground filmfest has chosen to focus on a country to which the festival has devoted attention in its established “American Independents” section for years. The opening film will kick off the festival and mark the start of this deep look at a diverse nation: QUEEN OF GLORY represents a sort of triple crown performance for Nana Mensah, who wrote, directed and stars in the insightful comedy. With copious humour, the film tells the story of brilliant PhD candidate Sarah Obeng, who attempts to find her way between the decision to be with her partner in Ohio and the unexpected death of her Ghanaian mother. Mensah already won the Best Director Award at the Tribeca Film Festival for this empathetic look at migrant identity among the different everyday realities present in the USA.
In addition, Lance Oppenheim’s documentary film SOME KIND OF HEAVEN provides a glimpse behind the curtains of the retired life in a gated community in Florida known as “The Villages”, where over 100,000 pensioners have lived for several decades in a seemingly Utopian paradise.
However, exground filmfest also promises exciting work beyond the Country Focus programme: Leos Carax’s fantastic musical ANNETTE (FRA, 2021), about the relationship between a stand-up comedian and an opera singer, already managed to delight audiences as the opening film in Cannes, while Sebastian Meise’s GREAT FREEDOM (AUT, 2021) which tells the story of Hans Hoffmann, a gay man in post-war Germany persecuted for his sexuality, was awarded the Jury Prize at the French festival.
Video Art at Nassauischer Kunstverein
Starting on 23 September 2021, the Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden will be showing the eight-part video art series 2 LIZARDS by Orian Barki and Meriem Bennani, in co-operation with exground filmfest. In the European premiere of this programme, the two artists employ computer-animated animals to explore questions of sociality in a world dominated by a pandemic. In the roughly three-minute-long videos, Barki and Bennani adopt a mockumentary style to tell stories inspired by their own experiences, in an absurd commentary on the everyday reality of an entire generation. The video series came to MoMa’s attention in New York City, after the two artists gained huge popularity on social media practically overnight.
The full programme for exground filmfest 34 will be announced following the festival press conference (21 October, 11:00 am CET, Caligari FilmBühne).
End of press release
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