Friday, December 19, 2008

Canada's imagineNATIVE's CULTURE SHOCK program at Berlin Film Festival

The Canadian indigenous film and media arts project ImagineNATIVE's CULTURE SHOCK PROGRAM will have its European premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2009.

Contemporary Canadian Aboriginal artists Bonnie Devine (Ojibway), Keesic Douglas (Ojibway), Darryl Nepinak (Saulteaux) and Bear Witness (Cayuga) respond to the image of native people as portrayed in the 1960s Karl May films in West Germany (featuring the French actor Pierre Brice as May's Apache hero Winnetou) and the "Indianer Films" in communist-era East Germany (often starring the Yugoslav-born actor Gojko Mitic -- who went on to play Winnetou in stage productions after German reunification).

States the press release:

For the program, four artists were selected to respond to two films from West and East German film collections, provided by the Goethe-Institut Toronto. The films represented classic German cinematic interpretations of Indigenous North Americans from the 1960s, such as the infamous Winnetou films based on Karl May's novels popular in West German cinema and the so-called "Red Westerns" created by East Germany's legendary DEFA studios. The artists created four new video works in response to the two films that had their world premiere at imagineNATIVE in October 2008. The Culture Shock program was accompanied by a publication provided by V tape with essays by curator Steven Loft and guest writer Stephen S. Foster.

Pierre Brice and Lex Barker in Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi (Winnetou and the Half-Blood Apanatschi)

imagineNATIVE's Artistic Director Danis Goulet stated: "The presentation of Culture Shock will be a landmark showing of Canadian Indigenous-made works at the Berlin International Film Festival and represents a breakthrough year. It is a significant accomplishment for the artists and curator of the program to have their incredible works presented in such a renowned and international forum."

For the full press release and links, click HERE

Gojko Mitic in Die Söhne der großen Bärin (The Sons of the Great Bear)

I saw Gojko Mitic perform as Winnetou several years ago at the annual Karl May Festival in Bad Segeberg, Germany (founded nearly 60 years ago). And I actually met him this year at the Karl May Festival in Radebeul -- he was a guest of honor, dressed, this time, as a cowboy. (At some point, I'll post the interview I did with him.)

Below, here I am with Gojko and with Dana Weber, who is doing her PhD on Karl May festivals.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Dear Ruth - In a class that I teach this semester on German Fantasies of Native Americans, we viewed the "Culture Shock" program as an "Open Class" (i.e. open to the any students and professors not only those who participate in the class). It was great! Have you seen it? - Unfortunately, I never found any reviews/reactions etc. from the Berlinale 2009: I would have been very curious to learn how it was received. - Hope that all is well, thinking of you, Dana