Greetings. After a few days at home, it’s been hard to find motivation to even watch movies. Out of a need to do something, I am sure that many of us who don’t exactly have a lot of ‘work from home’ options are trying to throw ourselves into real activities to varying degrees. In light of the postponements and cancellations of myriad film festivals, we here at Ultra Dogme have decided to begin a virtual festival of our own. The main point of this decision is to offer a respite from the news cycles of changes in the world far beyond our control.
This first program to kick off the Ultra Dogme Virtual Film Festival is titled From a Distance and will offer a selection of predominantly meditative experimental shorts of worlds without people; films I find fitting for the current situation not because they are dystopian or tunnel into post-apocalyptic disaster scenarios, but because they remind us of the beauty of empty spaces and the self-reflection enabled by isolation.
While future programs may include such technological trappings as live streams, filmmaker Q+As, etc. this first edition is just to get the wheels turning quickly. As such, it will be a rudimentary list of curated titles, all publicly available (through Youtube, Vimeo), with a suggested viewing order, supplementary reading material, and a nifty virtual memento (still being designed as I type!) for those who view the whole program.
To offer a feeling of the spirit of our festival, here is your personal invitation — you won’t be coming to Berlin. Jean-Marie Straub made “an appeal to those social and economic structures that will make films available to everyone.” Let us share what we love.
Special thanks to the good people at Sequence Press for providing this excerpt from their beautiful book, Writings, collecting countless texts by Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub.