Space Time Being

February 23, 2016
Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium
Portland, Oregon

Specially curated by Cinema Project members Mia Ferm and Melinda Kowalska for the 39th annual Portland International Film Festival.

Parallel universes, bi-location, autohypnosis, alternate dimensions, and past lives. Taking a cue from filmmaker Basma Alsharif in discussing her new film Deep Sleep, mental movement between these imagined, physical, or psychological spaces is also at the core of the cinematic experience. This evening of short videos explore the resonance of space and how one can be in two places at once. The program is book-ended by two films shot on the same beach in Southern Morocco: In Shezad Dawood’s Towards the Possible Film is a hazy golden dream where blue-skinned astronauts emerge from the ocean waves, while in Ben Rivers’s A Distant Episode another view is unveiled that is newly mysterious and fragmentary via grainy black-and-white imagery. In between, is a “hypnosis-inducing pan-geographic shuttle” between modern sites of ruin in Deep Sleep; abstract images made from concrete ones and visualized as a strangely familiar shimmering portal of gradually changing colors in Makino Takashi’s Cinema Concret; heavily-processed video footage from 1980s and early 1990s awards ceremonies laid beneath the prophetic ramblings of an unseen narrator in Michael Robinson’s Mad Ladders; and beneath the pops of fireworks and rhythmic mechanical hums is a shuttling between two temporal realities in the collaboratively-made Bunte Kuh from Ryan Ferko, Parastoo Anoushahpour, and Faraz Anoushahpour.

Towards The Possible Film by Shezad Dawood (Morocco/UK, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 20 min)

Deep Sleep by Basma Alsharif (Greece/Malta/Palestinian Territory, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 13 min.)

Cinema Concret by Makino Takashi (Japan, 2015, DCP, color, sound, 25 min., soundtrack by Machinefabriek)

Mad Ladders by Michael Robinson (US, 2015, HD Video, color, sound, 10 min.)

Bunte Kuh by Ryan Ferko, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour (Canada/Germany, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 5.5 min.)

A Distant Episode by Ben Rivers (UK, 2015, 16mm, b&w, sound, 18 min.)


Towards the Possible Film is a study in parallel universes – and the sparks that fly when worlds collide. As much of a projection into a far-off future as a flashback to a long-forgotten past, Dawood’s vivid 20-minute tableau combines the resonance of a mythic fable with the hallucinatory haziness of a waking dream. Emerging from the waves, as if transported from another dimension, two blue-skinned astronauts materialise on a red-rocked shoreline (Sidi Ifni in Southern Morocco). Blinking into the light, and feeling their way around the sensory contours of this strange new landscape, they are confronted also by the glare of the local inhabitants, who jump up and down in a red mist of rage at the spectre of these mysterious arrivals… A further layer of complexity is added by an intermittent monologue delivered in the Berber dialect of Tamazight; a language undergoing a revival in modern Morocco, and whose origins are both ancient and unknown (despite its possible roots in a lost Phoenician culture that once stretched as far as the Gulf of Mexico). — LUX UK.


A hypnosis-inducing pan-geographic shuttle built on brainwave-generating binaural beats, Deep Sleep takes us on a journey through the sound waves of Gaza to travel between different sights of modern ruin. Restricted from travel to Palestine, I learned auto-hypnosis for the purpose of bi-locating. What results is a journey, recorded on Super 8mm film, to the ruins of ancient civilizations embedded in modern civilization in ruins, to a site ruined beyond evidence of civilization. Deep Sleep is an invitation to move from the corporeal self to the cinema space in a collective act of bi-location that transcends the limits of geographical borders and plays with the fallibility of memory. — Basma Alsharif


After the research of history of Concrete Music which started by Pierre Schaeffer in 1940’s I found the process of making Concrete Music is completely same with my style of filmmaking.

The process of “concrete music” is not making concrete music from abstract sounds. but making abstract music from concrete sounds (already existing sounds).

I can say this film “cinéma concret” is one of the answer from 21 century’s filmmaker for Pierre Schaeffer and Concrete Music, and also one of the ironical interpretation for the history of the abstract cinema. — Makino Takashi


In the film Mad Ladders, the prophetic ramblings of an unseen narrator recount fantastical dreams of the coming Rapture, as crystalline imagery of rolling clouds gives way to heavily-processed video of moving stage sets from The American Music Awards telecasts of the 1980s and early 1990s. Blooming and pulsing in and out of geometric abstraction, this swirling storm of rising curtains, spinning set pieces, and unveiled pop idols forms an occult spectacle, driven by its impassioned narrator and an 8-bit leitmotif. Like a half-remembered dream of mythology, television, and religion, the film strikes a hypnotic balance between storytelling and free-falling. — Video Data Bank


Through a flood of images and impressions, a narrator attempts to recall a family holiday. Produced in Berlin and Toronto, Bunte Kuh is a collaboration between Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, & Ryan Ferko which combines a found postcard, family photo album, and original footage to weave together the temporal realities of two separate vacations. — Ryan Ferko, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour


A meditation on the illusion of filmmaking, shot behind-the-scenes on a film being made on the otherworldly beaches of Sidi Ifni, Morocco. A Distant Episode depicts strange activities, with no commentary or dialogue; it appears as a fragment of film, dug up in a distant future – a hazy, black and white, hallucinogenic world. — LUX UK

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