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Film

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards From Now

Eve(S) By Angélique Kidjo

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards from Now

Published: 1 Jul 2021

Duration: 14:37

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Film

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards From Now

Breathless Puppets By Akram Khan & Naaman Azhari

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards from Now

Published: 1 Jul 2021

Duration: 16:38

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Film

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards From Now

Download and Run Zoom: Lucinda Childs meets (LA)HORDE / Building Momentum Under Lockdown By Lucinda Childs & (LA)HORDE (USA, France)

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards from Now

Published: 1 Jul 2021

Duration: 17:31

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Film

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards From Now

Far Away From Russia By Lola Arias

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards from Now

Published: 1 Jul 2021

Duration: 16:33

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Film

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards From Now

Love Campus ABCD 2019–2021 By Ibrahim Mahama

Manchester International Festival 21: Postcards from Now

Published: 1 Jul 2021

Duration: 17:39

Now Playing

Eve(S) By Angélique Kidjo

14:37

Now Playing

Breathless Puppets By Akram Khan & Naaman Azhari

16:38

Now Playing

Download and Run Zoom: Lucinda Childs meets (LA)HORDE / Building Momentum Under Lockdown By Lucinda Childs & (LA)HORDE (USA, France)

17:31

Now Playing

Far Away From Russia By Lola Arias

16:33

Now Playing

Love Campus ABCD 2019–2021 By Ibrahim Mahama

17:39


Time taken : >15mins

Eve(s)

By Angélique Kidjo

Manchester International Festival 2021: Postcards from Now

Singapore premiere, 10 Nov 2021, 8pm (GMT+8)

Benin is rooted in a patriarchal culture, with households headed by men yet run by women. But in moments of crisis, whether in private homes or wider communities, it’s women who come to the fore – as musician and activist Angélique Kidjo demonstrates in this potent portrait of her home country and the women who inhabit it.

During her last trip to Benin, pre-COVID, Kidjo was accompanied by a professional videographer who recorded hundreds of hours of footage, interviewing and documenting the lives of women and girls around the country. Traditionally Benin is a patriarchal culture where households are headed by men but run by women; in moments of crisis, it is the women who come to the fore, utilising their domestic skills for the sake of the community. This was epitomised early in the pandemic when a cottage industry of mask-making was swiftly developed by women needing new ways to feed their families.

 Working with Yasmina Jaafri as film editor to shape her existing footage, Kidjo aims to give these women their stories back, put their voices front and centre and show the real women of Benin. The resulting film will be an artistic piece showcasing Kidjo’s talent as a political artist.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Théâtre du Châtelet, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Sadler’s Wells.

Series produced by Manchester International Festival.

In the spring of 2020, while I was confined in my home in Paris, I started to reflect on my many travels throughout the years. In my dreams, I kept coming back to this special journey I took in 2013 across my country Benin for the recording of my album EVE.

I was exploring my musical heritage and everywhere I went I encountered extraordinary, beautiful and brave women at the centre of their communities. In 2021, at a time of deep crisis, it is these women who give me hope for the future.

Angélique Kidjo

About the artist

Four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo is one of the greatest artists in international music today, a creative force with thirteen albums to her name.

Time Magazine has called her "Africa's premier diva". The BBC has included her in its list of the continent's 50 most iconic figures, and in 2011, The Guardian listed her as one of their Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World. Forbes Magazine has ranked Angelique as the first woman in their list of the Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa. She is the recent recipient of the prestigious 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the 2016 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, and the 2018 German Sustainability Award.

As a performer, her striking voice, stage presence and fluency in multiple cultures and languages have won respect from her peers and expanded her following across national borders. Kidjo has cross-pollinated the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America. After exploring the roads of Africa's diaspora—through Brazil, Cuba and The United States—and offering a refreshing and electrifying take on the Talking Heads album Remain In Light (called “Transformative” by the New York Times, “Visionary” by NPR Music, “Stunning” by Rolling Stone, and “one of the year’s most vibrant albums” by the Washington Post), the French-Beninese singer is now reflecting on an icon of the Americas, celebrated salsa singer Celia Cruz. Kidjo’s album Celia (April 19 - Verve/Universal Music France) divests itself of the glamour to investigate the African roots of the Cuban-born woman who became the "Queen" of salsa. Celia was recorded in New York and Paris, produced by David Donatien and mixed by Russell Elevado (D’Angelo, Kamasi Washington). Over the course of 10 beloved songs from Cruz’s extensive catalog but with special focus on her work from the 1950s, Angelique’s voice soars in lockstep with a grand presentation of rhythmic touchstones that delve deep into the history of music from Africa and it’s influence on the music of Cuba. Each song celebrates this idea – from the tight afro-beat groove of Baila Yemaja, the high octane take on Quimbara, the frantic energy of Bemba Colora to Oya Diosa, a lushly orchestrated ballad.

Angélique’s interpretation of The Talking Heads’ classic 1980 album, Remain in Light, was recorded with superstar producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Rolling Stones, Beyoncé), taking classic songs such as Crosseyed and Painless, Once in a Lifetime, and Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) and reinterpreting them with electrifying rhythms, African guitars, and layered backing vocals.

Her star-studded album DJIN DJIN won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Album in 2008, and her album OYO was nominated for the same award in 2011. In January 2014 Angélique’s first book, a memoir titled Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music (Harper Collins) and her twelfth album, EVE (Savoy/429 Records), were released to critical acclaim. EVE later went on to win the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 2015, and her historic, orchestral album Sings with the Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg (Savoy/429 Records) won a Grammy for Best World Music Album in 2016.

Angélique has gone on to perform this genre-bending work with several international orchestras and symphonies including the Bruckner Orchestra, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Philharmonie de Paris. Her collaboration with Philip Glass, IFÉ: Three Yorùbá Songs, made its US debut to a sold out concert with the San Francisco Symphony in June 2015. In 2019, Angelique helped Philip Glass premiere his latest work, Symphony #12 “Lodger”, a symphonic re-imaging of the David Bowie album of the same name, at a sold out performance at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to performing this new orchestral concert, Angelique continues to tour globally performing the high-energy concert she’s become famous for with her four-piece band.

Angélique also travels the world advocating on behalf of children in her capacity as a UNICEF and OXFAM goodwill Ambassador. At the G7 Summit in 2019, President Macron of France named Kidjo as the spokesperson for the AFAWA initiative (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) to help close the financing gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa. She has also created her own charitable foundation, Batonga, dedicated to support the education of young girls in Africa.


Breathless Puppets

By Akram Khan & Naaman Azhari

Manchester International Festival 2021: Postcards from Now

Singapore premiere, 2 Jul 2021, 8am (GMT+8)

Advisory: Some Mature Themes

Forced apart in childhood by the expectations of their cultures and the disapproval of their fathers, two men with a passion for dance reconnect through the tragedy of the pandemic. Choreographed by Akram Khan and directed by Naaman Azhari, this powerful short film uses rotoscope animation, created by hand-drawing over live action footage.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Théâtre du Châtelet, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Sadler’s Wells.

Series produced by Manchester International Festival.

 

The project is a response to Covid 19....it is about two men who are friends. Their history and how that affects their future..... it reflects life: Life is never clear, you recognise some parts of life, you think you are in control of some parts of life and really, you are not.

Akram Khan

About the artists

Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists of today. In just over 19 years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as XENOS, Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.

As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, indie rock band Florence and the Machine, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.

Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.

As a choreographer, Khan has developed a close collaboration with English National Ballet and its Artistic Director Tamara Rojo. He created the short piece Dust, part of the Lest We Forget programme, which led to an invitation to create his own critically acclaimed version of the iconic romantic ballet Giselle. This received its world premiere in Manchester, presented by MIF as a pre-Factory Event.

Naaman Azhari is a British/Lebanese animator and film director.

His latest film, The Magic Boat, tells the story of a mother and son fleeing the conflict in Syria; it uses rotoscoping, an animation technique involving hand-drawing over live-action footage, to explore this familiar tale from a humane perspective. It was nominated for Best British Short Animation at the BAFTA Film Awards 2020 and selected for inclusion in the Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Encounters Short Film Festival in 2019. Azhari used the same techniques in his earlier film The Sunshine Boy to show the gulf in understanding between a parent and child.

Azhari is a graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London.


Download and Run Zoom: Lucinda Childs meets (LA)HORDE / Building Momentum Under Lockdown

By Lucinda Childs & (LA)HORDE (USA, France)

Singapore premiere, 2 Jul 2021, 8am (GMT+8)

Manchester International Festival 2021: Postcards from Now

When travel restrictions forced Lucinda Childs to postpone a project with the Ballet national de Marseille, the American choreographer began meeting the Ballet’s Artistic Directors—LA(HORDE)—via Zoom. Intimate, playful and relatable, this short film chronicles their ongoing digital collaboration, and explores how the distances enforced by the pandemic raise unexpected possibilities for creative interaction.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Théâtre du Châtelet and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

Series produced by Manchester International Festival.

About the artists

Born in 1940, Lucinda Childs has been passionate about dance and theatre since childhood. Her encounter with Merce Cunningham determined the direction she would go in and she joined forces with an arts’ collective that included Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton and Trisha Brown at the Judson Dance Theater. She embarked on her choreographic career in 1963 with Pastime before going on in 1968 to apply a logic of deconstruction to the classical vocabulary she was simultaneously learning. She established her own company in 1973, developing a minimalist style of dance. In 1976 she took part in Einstein on the Beach, Bob Wilson’s opera set to music by Philip Glass in which she performed choreographies by Andy de Groat.

Dance, created in 1979, was her first large-scale collective ballet and it was followed by several works in collaboration with other artists such as Available Light in 1983 with sets by Frank Gehry. For the Paris Opera Ballet she created Premier Orage. in 1984, and Perfect Stranger for the Lyon Opera Ballet in 1990. She staged Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice again for Theater Kiel. Lucinda Childs also recreated ten years ago a company of young dancers who are breathing life into her repertoire.

Established in 2013, (LA)HORDE is a collective of three artists: Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer and Arthur Harel. Together they challenge the codes of various artistic disciplines, particularly in performance and contemporary art. Leading the Ballet National de Marseille since September 2019, (LA)HORDE creates choreographic pieces, films, video installations and performances centered on the moving body. With a variety of media, they develop scenarios and actions embedded in contemporary issues and provide several narrative spaces.


Far Away From Russia

By Lola Arias

Manchester International Festival 2021: Postcards from Now

Singapore premiere, 2 Jul 2021, 8am (GMT)

The pandemic has excluded elderly people from social and political life, exposing their carers to more stressful and precarious working conditions than ever before. Everybody speaks in the names of those who are older as they are in the care of others – but who is really taking care of whom? In Lola Arias’s film, the daily routine of one elderly person and their carer becomes an unexpected act of love and resistance.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Théâtre du Châtelet and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Produced by Manchester International Festival in association with Staatstheater Hannover.

Series produced by Manchester International Festival.

About the artist

Lola Arias (Argentina, 1976) is a writer, theatre and film director. She is a multifaceted artist whose work brings together people from different backgrounds (war veterans, former communists, migrant children, etc.) in theatre, film, literature, music and visual art projects.

Arias’ productions play with the overlap between reality and fiction. “Sitting in the theatre, wandering a site-specific location or watching a film, we are inculcated into others’ narratives, wound into their complexities, joys and disappointments. At the same time, we are also invited and at times confronted, in an extraordinary and acute way, to reflect on the contingencies and fragilities of our own stories, individual and collective, as well as on our shifting, unresolved relation to the precarious and dangerous machinery that is social and political history.” (Etchells, in Re-enacting Life, 2019).

Arias studied Literature at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and Dramaturgy at the Escuela de Artes Dramáticas (Buenos Aires), the Royal Court Theatre (London) and Casa de América (Madrid). In 2014 she completed the Film Laboratory Programme at the Universidad Di Tella (Buenos Aires), one of the most prestigious cinema programmes in Argentina. Between 2001 and 2007 she wrote and directed six fictional pieces The Squalid Family, Studies of Loving Memory, Poses for Sleeping and the trilogy Love is a Sniper, Revolver Dream and Striptease.

Since 2007, she has worked in the field of documentary theatre, creating over twelve plays in collaboration with people who have lived through different events or historical experiences. People who have, one way or another, survived.

My Life After (CTBA, Buenos Aires, 2009) is based on the biography of six performers who re-enact their parents’ lives during the dictatorship in Argentina. Familienbande (Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich, 2009) deals with role models in a contemporary family with three parents. That Enemy Within (HAU, Berlin, 2010) is a project about identity made in collaboration with two identical twins. The Year I was Born (Teatro a Mil, Santiago, 2012) is based on biographies of people born during Pinochet’s dictatorship. Melancholy and Demonstrations (Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, 2012) is a play about her mother’s depression. The Art of Making Money (Stadttheater Bremen, 2013) takes a concept from The Threepenny Opera by Brecht for a play performed by beggars, prostitutes and street musicians from the city of Bremen. And The Art of Arriving (Stadttheater Bremen, 2015) uses the example of Bulgarian kids living in Germany to develop a scenic tutorial that reflects on how to start a new life in another country.

Her most recent plays are Minefield (Royal Court Theatre, London, 2016), which brings together British and Argentinian veterans of the Falklands/Malvinas War to share their experience of the conflict and life since then, Atlas des Kommunismus (Maxim-Gorki Theatre, Berlin, 2016), which gathers stories of women between the ages of 8 and 84 with backgrounds in the GDR, What they want to hear (Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich, 2018), the reconstruction of the real case of a Syrian archaeologist trapped in German bureaucracy without any legal status for four years, and Futureland (Maxim-Gorki Theatre, Berlin, 2019), a science-fiction documentary piece with unaccompanied minors, teenagers who escaped from war, poverty and violence and travelled to Germany on their own.

Lola began her film career with the video installation Veterans (Battersea Art Centre, London, 2014), the starting point of her multi-disciplinary art project about the Falklands/Malvinas War. In this series, veterans reconstruct their experience of the war in a space they inhabit in the present day.

Her first feature film Theatre of War (2018) was selected for the 68th Forum of the Berlinale Film Festival and received several prizes including the CICAE Art Cinema Award, the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas Award and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Arias also won the Best Director Award at the 20th BAFICI Festival in Buenos Aires and the film received the Movistar+ Prize for Best Documentary Film at Documenta Madrid and the Silver Condor Award for Best Adapted Script.

Arias is currently working on her next film Reas [working title], supported by IDFA Bertha Fund and selected for the Pitching du Réel at the Visions du Réel Festival, which brings together the stories of women and trans people in Ezeiza Prison, Buenos Aires, reinventing the musical genre in documentary form, mixing scenes and stories from the inmates’ real lives with music and choreographies.

In the visual arts and curating field, she developed My Documents (Buenos Aires, 2012-2017; Milan, 2018; Lisboa, 2020), a lecture-performance cycle where artists from different backgrounds present personal research, a radical experience, a story that secretly obsessed them. She also conceived the durational performance Audition for a Demonstration (Berlin, 2014; Athens, 2015; Prague, 2015; Buenos Aires, 2017; Berlin, 2019); she created the exhibitions Stunt Double (Buenos Aires, 2016), in which four different installations rebuilt the last 40 years of Argentinian social and political history through documents, reenactments, interviews and popular songs; and Ways of walking with a book in your hand (Buenos Aires, 2017), a site-specific project for readers in libraries and public spaces.

With Ulises Conti she released the albums Love is a sniper (2007) and Those who do not sleep (2011), and with Stefan Kaegi she developed the projects Chácara Paraíso (2007), Airport Kids (2008) and Ciudades Paralelas (2010), a festival of urban interventions in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Warsaw, Zurich and other cities.

She has published poetry, fiction and plays: Love is a sniper (2007, Entropía), The postnuclear ones (2011, Emecé), My Life After and other plays (2016, Penguin Random House) and a bilingual edition of her play Minefield (2017, Oberon Books). In 2019, Performance Research Studies published Re-enacting Life, a book that gathers articles, screenplays and documents from her whole career.

Lola Arias has received very prestigious prizes for her works, including the Premio Konex 2014 and the Preis der Autoren 2018, and her work has been performed at festivals including: Lift Festival, London; Under the Radar, New York; Festival d’Avignon; Theater Spektakel, Zurich; Wiener Festwochen; Festival Theaterformen, Brunswick/Hanover; Spielart Festival, Munich; and Berlinale; as well as at venues including Théâtre de la Ville, Paris; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; Parque de la Memoria, Buenos Aires; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Royal Court Theatre, London.


Love Campus ABCD 2019–2021

By Ibrahim Mahama

Manchester International Festival 2021: Postcards from Now

Singapore premiere, 2 Jul 2021, 8am (GMT+8)

What happens when two technologies from different eras occupy the same space, and what potential does their interaction have for future generations? Connecting old aeroplanes with modern drones via workshops held within decommissioned aircraft in his native Ghana, Ibrahim Mahama explores how new technologies and imaginations can allow us to rethink life on all levels – beyond the human experience.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Théâtre du Châtelet and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

Series produced by Manchester International Festival.

Love Campus takes on the promises of technology as a starting point through establishing relationships between old airplanes and modern drones. These relationships manifest themselves through a series of workshops within the cockpit and fuselage of airplanes transported across the country in Ghana to a rural settling for renewed social and ideological reconditioning. What happens when two technologies from different timelines occupy the same space? Is there a possibility of a singularity and what promises or potentials does it have for another generation? The birth of new imaginations promises another era of rethinking life on all levels beyond the human experience.

Ibrahim Mahama

About the artist

Ibrahim Mahama lives and works in Ghana. For MIF19 he created the major exhibition Parliament of Ghosts at the Whitworth. Known for creating monumental public realm art installations, he has presented work at international exhibitions such as Ghana's first national pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale; the Norval Foundation, Cape Town; Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel; and All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale.

Mahama often examines how workers are affected by state or corporate policies and practices, and in many cases created his own temporary workforce in the making of his art. His expansive practice includes creating education and cultural infrastructures, such as the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA) in Tamale, an institution conceived as a studio space and exhibition venue. In April 2021, Mahama opens his third venue, Nkrumah Voli, to the public. Located in central Tamale, the silo will function as an exhibition space and repository for ecological forms and archaeological artefacts from the region.

For this project, he is creating a film about the activation of Parliament of Ghosts and the additional education spaces he is building in Tamale.


MIF21 Postcards From Now

New films from artists under lockdown

The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing our world in countless ways: some already visible, others as yet unknown. It has shattered much of what we knew and understood about our lives. But could this tragedy also be an opportunity – a moment for us to reimagine, reshape and rebuild society to be fairer, brighter, better?

Postcards from Now presents five distinct perspectives from leading international artists of every stripe – choreographers, musicians, visual artists, theatre-makers, animators and more. Commissioned and created at the height of the global lockdown, these five films explore everything from community to communication, patriarchy to power. And in very different ways, they consider the question that we’ve all been asking ourselves and others: what happens next?


About Manchester International Film Festival

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is an artist-led festival of original, new work and special events reflecting the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. MIF21 takes place from 1 – 18 July 2021.

Staged every two years in Manchester, MIF has commissioned, produced and presented world premieres by artists including Marina Abramović, Damon Albarn, Laurie Anderson, Björk, Boris Charmatz, Jeremy Deller, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, Elbow, Philip Glass and Phelim McDermott, David Lynch, Wayne McGregor, Steve McQueen, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Yoko Ono, Thomas Ostermeier, Maxine Peake, Punchdrunk, Skepta, The xx, Robert Wilson and Zaha Hadid Architects.

These and other world-renowned artists from different art forms and backgrounds create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work, staged in venues across Greater Manchester – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to railway depots, churches and car parks. MIF works closely with venues, festivals and other cultural organisations globally, whose financial and creative input helps to make many of these projects possible and ensures that work made at MIF goes on to be seen around the world.

MIF supports a year-round Creative Engagement programme, bringing opportunities for people from all backgrounds, ages and from all corners of the city to get involved during the Festival and year-round, as volunteers, as participants in shows, through skills development and a host of creative activities, such as Festival in My House.

MIF will also run The Factory, the new landmark cultural space currently being built in the heart of Manchester and designed by the internationally-renowned architect Ellen van Loon of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA. The Factory will commission, present and produce one of Europe’s most ambitious and adventurous year-round creative programmes, featuring bold new work from the world’s greatest artists and offering a space to create, invent and play.

Attracting up to 850,000 visitors annually, The Factory will add up to £1.1 billion to the economy over a decade and create up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs. Its pioneering programme of skills, training and engagement will benefit local people and the next generation of creative talent from across the city, whilst apprenticeships and trainee schemes are already underway during the construction phase.

MIF’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive is John McGrath.

mif.co.uk


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