Illustration for the program "Possilbe Utopias". Digital drawing. Neon colors. Colorful plants. A red plastic chair, a violet radio and dark grey gas mask in the foreground. Red sun taken from the Roma emblem is glowing in the background.

Possible Utopias

Curators: Mariam Agamyan, Augustina Mihaela Vasile
Illustration: Double Cherry

Majority of the films in this program are available online, for free, during the period of September 23 — October 7 without geographical limitations. You could watch “Jožka” and "Nothing But the Sun" only during the period of 23—26 of September within the territory of Ukraine. The films are screened in the original language with Ukrainian subtitles (SDH) and English subtitles.

The film industry has contributed to the establishment and institutionalization of racism: prominent figures in the film market have worked hard and diligently so that the narratives of colonizers and the historical constructions of white people aren’t put under scrutiny. You probably recognize this example: colonizers are sailing out to invade new lands – and now pay attention to the camera work. A heterosexual couple is sinking along with the ship – what a dramatic scene on deck – and with such stirring music!

A significant trait of feminist cinema and filmmaking is the ability to speak in the first person about experiences of oppression and systemic discrimination, such as racism. One can trace common and recurring motifs through the films screened in the "Possible Utopias" program, even if the filmmakers come from geographically distant spaces: the fate of communities that have been marginalized; the need to find and restore one's own culture to aid the survival of the entire community; the importance of the role of healers, as well as spiritual forces and artistic practices in combating racism.

The films in this program may not immediately be read as anti-racist, but they powerfully and aptly articulate anti-oppressive messages within their narratives, whether real or imaginary. It is important to reinforce and amplify these stories as well as to stand in solidarity with the people writing, reading and living them. And that is because we cannot allow Roma culture and the cultures of indigenous and colonized peoples to be pushed aside and silenced again.

We invite you to encounter films and artistic collectives you want to know, and familiarise yourself with stories that are not usually on your radar and which you might otherwise miss.

Still from the film "Bety Catfur". Two-shot. Blue color scheme. Two young people in a chill dance in front of neon hearts.
Bety Catfur
Director: Mihaela Drăgan
Part of “Resistance is a Girl who Changes the World” series
Performed by Julio Elvisey Pisică & Andreea Petre
Romania, 2021, 8 minutes, experimental
The story of Bety from Romania - a story about how an episode of bullying in school was “cured” in a youth theatre group, about discrimination and resistance on the road to building an artistic career in theatre.
Still from the film "Jozka". Long shot. Green-grey color scheme. The woods, big pond in the foreground. Two men bow their heads in front of the water in respectful silence.
Director: Hamze Bytyçi
Czech Republic, Germany, 25 minutes, 2017, documentary
The short documentary follows Jozef Miker – called Jožka – during his protests against a large-capacity pig farm built on the site of the former concentration camp near Lety in South Bohemia in which hundreds of Roma lost their lives under the Nazi regime – including half of Jožka’s wife’s family.
Still from the film "Nothing But the Sun". Long shot. Olive-colored sky takes the most part of the image. Glowing spot in the sky, but no sun visible. Single wooden huts, a bell, a windmill, and lanterns at the bottom of the frame. A human in a blue cap and blue shirt stands in the foreground, with the back turned to the spectator.
Nothing But The Sun
Director: Arami Ullón
Paraguay, Switzerland, 75 minutes, 2020, documentary
In an attempt to preserve their culture and reconstruct the memory of their lost home, Mateo Sobode Chiqueno traverses the Paraguayan Chaco recording the voices of other Ayoreo who, like him, were stripped from the forest and from their home.
Still from the film "Reclamation". Two-shot. Toxic colors. Two people wearing gas masks are standing in front of the dumpster full of junk. One of them is gesticulating actively.
Director: Thirza Jean Cuthand
Canada, 13 minutes, 2018, fiction
When Indigenous people are left behind after a massive exodus by primarily privileged white settlers who have moved to Mars, the original inhabitants of this land cope by trying to restore and rehabilitate the beautiful planet they belong to.
Still from the film "The Black Chick". Medium shot. A person wearing a bright red dress and golden jewelry raised the arms in the dance movement on the violet background, looking directly at the viewers. LGBTQAI+ is written on the left side.
The Black Chick
Director: Mihaela Drăgan
Part of “Resistance is a Girl who Changes the World” series
Performed by Arhanghella
Romania, 2021, 7 minutes, experimental
The story of Bianca from Romania - a Roma activist who fights for more visibility for the LGBTQI+ community members regardless of their age or ethnicity and she does it via an online entertainment show.
Still from the film "The Two Faces of Condition". Full shot. Blue-violet color scheme. Human wearing a long colorful robe with big paper eyes is sitting in the middle of a circle of candles. Smoke, fluorescent lamps.
The Two Faces of Condition
Director: Mihaela Drăgan
Part of “Resistance is a Girl who Changes the World” series
Performed by Raisa Mihai
Romania, 2021, 8 minutes, experimental
The story of Yumzhana from Buryatia who is a fashion design student whose artistic works combine eco-activism, feminism, and more visibility for spirituality and buryat culture.
Decolonizing cinema and the utopic future of antiracist feminist filmamking

Conversation with directors, performers and protagonists of films included in the Possible Utopias program: Arami Ullón, Mihaela Drăgan & Thirza Jean Cuthand (filmmakers) | Arhanghella, Raisa Mihai, Julio Elvisey Pisică & Bianca Varga (performers).
Co-curator of the program Mariam Agamyan will be present at the discussion as well.

Date and time: 24 September, 17:00 (GMT+3)