Kathy Rae Huffman on Wed, 22 Jan 1997 15:10:38 +0100


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Novi Sad - VideoMedeja, Dec.1996 3/4


A Late Night Discussion:

I met with the VideoMedeja organizing team at the conclusion of the festival,
in the noisy Klub Ben Akiba  (a cinema club, bar and cabaret adjacent to the
Novi Sad Theatre).   Branka Nikolic, executive organizer, translated the
discussion into English (she had been the single translator for three of us
during the entire symposium).  Because of the noise in the club, it was hard
to determine exactly who answered the questions, so for simplicity, I
attribute all the answers to Branka.

Kathy Rae  VideoMedeja only lasts two days.  Is it enough?  Do you feel good
about the program?

Branka   We had a limited time to prepare, because we found out that we
received the money only in October.  And, our money resources were limited.

K   What kind of budget did you work with?

B  We received 10,000 DM (from the Fund for an Open Society), which we were
able to apply to the travels for Eastern European women, to produce the
catalogue, and to rent the cinema.  Because of our limitations, we decided to
program only 2 days, but to be tough.  This kind of event has not existed
before in Novi Sad, our strategy was to be attractive to the media, and
attract a local audience.  Next year, we shall try to make a better program,
longer but different.  It will still concentrate on authors from Eastern
Europe, still focus on women, but we want to add workshops.  We will also try
to include the new technologies.  You know, there is always a question of
money.

K   Where did the idea for this festival come from?

B   We know that women are making important work in video, maybe more than in
other art forms at the moment.  Vera attended the short film festival in
Belgrade, and she saw work at the Academy of Arts there.  She traveled to
Slovenia, and saw a lot of great work there.  The Slovenian authors are very
interesting to us, especially because of their involvement with Yugoslavia.

K  What about Croatia?  I think that the work of Sanja Ivekovic would be
especially  good and important in this context, for example.

B   Well, we have Breda Beeben (and Hrvoje Horvatic) [who are from Zagreb but
currently live in London].  We tried to reach authors in Croatia, but the
communication is still hard by phone, and the mail is worse.  It [end of war]
is still very fresh.

K   What attracted you to video?  There is such a long tradition of film in
this region.

B   The most interesting aspect for us about video is that it is a short form
of art.  It is not like a feature film at all.  Because of that, there are
always open questions.  When the work is short, one must ask again and again
probing questions about personal politics.  Another thing we realize is that
the subjects in the various video works are very different from what
filmmakers are concentrating and talking about.

K   What other kind of things are you doing here in Novi Sad, when you are
not preparing a festival?

B  One part of our work is the agency, The Artistic Association Apostrof.  It
presents works of other authors (not making it but presenting it).  Also, and
this is very important for us, it publishes magazines and catalogues.  One is
even printed in Hungarian.  Another important part of our work is the making
of our own productions.  These are performances, which we document on video.
But, we hope in the future we will also make art videos.   We also want to do
multimedia.

K  This is a new agency?