Kim Longinotto Retrospective

Creating a work of art – a film, a painting, a novel, a piece of music, etc. – is a complicated, difficult process that demands persistence, self-determination, moral support, humbleness, and constant awareness of the pursued goal(s). It can be overwhelming, it requires many sacrifices, it may even force a person into a state of loneliness, but it simultaneously makes it possible to change the world. Not in general, and rarely in a tangible, visible way; day by day, step by step, one human being after another. True artists can feel it in their hearts and minds, this insatiable need to create, this burden of responsibility on their shoulders, but also a certain satisfaction, an entirely undefinable exhilaration flowing out of sharing their worldviews with other people. Film as a medium, a branch of art that benefits from merging several branches of art into one, has always provided such artists with means of creating inspiring, personal projects, thus giving them a voice that could travel above all the existing human barriers – and no other type of film is in that context more powerful than documentaries. For many years now, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography CAMERIMAGE has been emphasizing the immerse values of documentary films by organizing two competitions and awarding one of many true artists working within the world of documentary filmmaking. 

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the recipient of this year's Camerimage Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking will be Kim Longinotto, one of the most acclaimed cinéma vérité filmmakers in the world, a true activist whose life's mission is to shed light on the problems of women in different parts of the globe, and to inspire people to seek the change within themselves first.


Kim Longinotto; Kim Longinotto Archive

 
Born in Britain of Italian father and Welsh mother Kim Longinotto did not have an idyllic childhood, in fact she was fighting poverty and social exclusion in her younger years. However, she did not fall into despair, but found a way to deal with difficult past with her camera lens and thus transformed her poignant experiences into greatest artistic strengths. This first happened for her debut documentary feature, Pride of Place, which was shot during her studies at the National Film School, in fact she went to the boarding school that was indifferent to her suffering few years before, and exposed the way it was run. The film stirred many controversies, and the facility was closed down a year after. It was not long before she made Theatre Girls, a documentary about a hostel for homeless women. Longinotto realized that a film camera can as well be her pen, her paintbrush, her finely tuned piano, a tool with which she could start fighting for those who – like herself before – cannot stand for themselves. She became an ambassador for women from all over the globe, creating a series of films that cannot be easily forgotten.

In Kenya she witnessed the traditional female circumcision (The Day I Will Never Forget), and with her film she gave important voice of support to women fighting against this procedure. While staying in Iran, for several weeks she shot footage in divorce court (Divorce Iranian Style), depicting the overwhelming problems women face with the country's patriarchal legal system. In Cameroon, she met two brave women, a State Prosecutor and a Court President, who had been struggling for years with the issue of domestic violence on women (Sisters in Law). In the Republic of South Africa she found a group of women who took comfort in their friendship which was giving them the strength to go through even the hardest times (Rough Aunties). In Japan, where she stayed for some period of time, she filmed several documentaries about local women, including films about the role of females in modern Japan (The Good Wife of Tokyo), the different sides of the Japanese women sexuality (Shinjuku Boys), the amazing female musical theatre company Takarazuka Revue (Dream Girls), and the women who want to become professional wrestlers (Gaea Girls). Among many other countries, she has also visited Egypt (Hidden Faces) and India (Pink Saris, Salma), she also shot in Great Britan (the bittersweet portrait of school for disturbed children, Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go).

Contrary to many other documentary filmmakers, Kim Longinotto never really wanted to put herself in front of the camera, for she thinks it would disturb the observational, fly-on-the-wall nature of her films. Called by many “an invisible filmmaker”, she prefers to do everything in her power to show different sides of the people who trusted her with their stories; she wants to discover their individual traits, depict them honestly, and try to understand their emotional struggle. She is the happiest when she makes her viewers interested in those people and their stories, and the women activists who help her in her projects are also included in the closing credits as co-directors. Kim Longinotto is a modest, honest and warm person, a role model, and a true artist who is fully aware of the power film camera gives her so as to change the world around, and make the viewers aware of the constant fight of women for their basic human rights.

We are very happy that she will talk to the festival attendees about her work and incredible experiences gathered in her rich professional life. Additionally, the Festival will host a premiere screening of Kim Longinotto's latest documentary: Love is All: 100 Years of Love & Courtship.

 

FILMS PRESENTED
Rough Aunties
director: Kim Longinotto
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: Republic of South Africa, UK
year: 2008
Pink Saris
director: Kim Longinotto
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: India, UK
year: 2010
Day I Will Never Forget, The
director: Kim Longinotto
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: UK
year: 2002
Gaea Girls
director: Kim Longinotto, Jano Williams
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: UK
year: 2000
Salma
director: Kim Longinotto
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: UK
year: 2013
Sisters in Law
director: Kim Longinotto
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: Cameroon, UK
year: 2005
Love is All : 100 Years of Love & Courtship
director: Kim Longinotto
cinematographer:
country: UK, USA
year: 2014
Divorce Iranian Style
director: Kim Longinotto, Ziba Mir-Hosseini
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: UK, Iran
year: 1998
Pride of Place
director: Dorothea Gazidis, Kim Longinotto
cinematographer: Kim Longinotto
country: UK
year: 1976