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Film Curating studies area aims to provide training in the conceptualisation, development, management and dissemination of all kinds of programmes in which cinema and the audio-visual arts play the leading role

The Film Curating course aims to define the specific nature of this profession which has excellent future prospects, but still needs recognition of an epistemological corpus of its own. The speciality provides access to the entire torrent of theoretical knowledge, partly inherited from the plastic arts, which film curating is based on, as well as access to the various programming traditions and schools. As well as cultivating the particular criteria and vision of each participant, the course provides the tools to develop film projects (either black box or white box), from the conception to the implementation phase. The speciality fosters the work of the curator in relation to research, criticism, essays and the academic field. We understand there are no curator jobs that do not include a research aspect; research that is as rigorous and in-depth as that of the academic world, but which in this case it is realised in a public project (an exhibition, a catalogue, a programme, a festival...), rather than a scientific text.

One of the basic features of the Film Curating studies is that is carried out in permanent contact with the professionals and teachers at the institutions that are responsible for this and who work in the same building on a wide variety of curatorial projects, such as Tabakalera, as the International Centre for Contemporary Culture, or the San Sebastián Film Festival.

The coordinator of the Film Curating Studies Department is María Palacios Cruz. She has curated retrospectives of Ute Aurand, Alia Syed, Luke Fowler, Robert Beavers, Morgan Fisher & Ken Jacobs and worked closely with artists including Laida Lertxundi, Beatrice Gibson, Ana Vaz, Basma Alsharif, Mary Helena Clark, Kathryn Elkin & Lis Rhodes to present their work in the form of screenings, exhibitions, publications and other events. She is course leader for Film Curating at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in San Sebastian and was formerly Deputy Director of LUX, the UK agency for artists’ moving image. She is a programmer for the Punto de Vista and Courtisane festivals and in 2019 she edited an anthology of writings by British artist Lis Rhodes. Together with Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson and Ben Rivers, she programs The Machine That Kills Bad People, a bi-monthly film club at the ICA in London.

 

 

Common Subjects

  • History of the materiality of cinema

    Módule: 2

    There are as many cinemas as (not only optical but also haptic) materialities of cinema. This subject proposes an approach to the filmmaker based on his/her materiality to unravel not only the most relevant technological milestones, but also the ways in which the materiality of the image has contributed to generate specific artistic discourses. The subject will focus initially on the materiality (resolution, texture, colour) of the sensitive photochemical material and then progressively look at other magnetic and digital types of audiovisual media.

  • The filmmaker's thinking

    Módule: 3

    An approach to the theory of creation by filmmakers before or after their films: as a film project or as a reflection on the work itself. In all cases, the theory of filmmakers seeks an approach to the fundamental aesthetic dilemmas of the medium and a reading of cinematographic thinking away from traditional methodologies. Accordingly, the subject also looks at purely intuitive and non-reflective approaches, contrary to the rationalization of creation.

  • Reflections on painting and film

    Módule: 4

    This course is an exploration of the dialogue which exists between fixed and moving images, based on a specific analysis of certain films by Alfred Hitchcock and Michelangelo Antonioni. Optical research is one of the most important contributions of the incipient art of film, which by definition establishes a dialogue between old and new visual devices. The imaginary crime and the imaginary of crime constitute its first contribution.

  • The Film Archive: Current Debates and Novel Perspectives

    Módule: 5

    During this course, EQZE students will be confronted with various aspects of film archival theory and practice. We will compare a number of Collection Policies to understand the institutional and discursive backgrounds they are built upon. We will discuss recent restoration case studies and reflect on the different perspectives (or theoretical frameworks) that inform the practical and ethical choices made during the restoration process. We will also talk about re-use through the analysis of a number of projects (e.g. found footage films, installations and programs) that repurpose archival films. Throughout the seminar, we will look at some current debates within the film archival field (e.g. analog/digital; material turn; questions regarding selection and who decides what ‘film heritage’ is) and we will identify emerging trends that bring together researchers and archivists.

  • The map of the (three) archives

    Módule: 5

    This subject offers EQZE students the opportunity of taking on an exploratory role (creative, researcher, curator) within archive-related film and audio-visual practice, bearing the three tenses of cinema in mind: the past, linked to memory; the present, linked to action; and the future, linked to planning and foresight. This philosophical proposal aims to prompt students to think about historical and contemporary cultural and political problems from the perspective of the conceptual framework offered by the concepts of profanation (Giorgio Agamben) and the creative act (Gilles Deleuze).

  • Inside filmmaker’s studio

    Módule: 5

    The sixth module begins in mid-August and is only partly classroom-based. This is a time for students to apply the knowledge they have gained, both through their work experience and in their individual or group end-of-course assignments. En 2018 el responsable del taller fue José Luis Torres Leiva, en 2019 Camilo Restrepo.

  • Historie(s) of cinema

    Módules: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    What would a permanent history of cinema be like that revisited its sources again and again to continually rewrite itself? This question in the form of a piece of flash fiction by Borges gives rise to this subject-cycle that we launched first academic year. For the third year, Santos Zunzunegui will draw up his own personal selection of films from the history of cinema, in order to establish a meeting point where we can continue to reflect on the possible and impossible histories of cinemas, based on this (more or less canonical, more or less personal, more or less vast, more or less chronological) list of films.

Itinerary subjects

  • Peculiarities of film curatorships

    Módule: 1

    Reflection on cinematographic exhibitions has been with films since the outset, but conceptualisation is an extremely recent topic and is still being systematised. The subject attempts to furnish an accurate definition of knowledge and action in connection with film curatorship, its relationship with other activities such as preservation and the archive, its predominant role in creation and its responsibility in expanding new spaces of cinematographic exhibition.

  • Writing and critical thought (I)

    Módule: 2

    The need to activate critical thought in relation to the film industry and to seek ways of developing it in a practical manner by means of exercises and readings forms the basis of this two-part subject which appears throughout the entire course. The first part addresses writing about images and sounds, while the second focuses on writing with images and sounds.

  • Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms

    Módule: 3

    This subject conducts a detailed examination of the various film programming paradigms, both those emerging on a regular basis over time (in archives and stable centres) and those concentrated in certain periods (one-off events and festivals). The subject features a historic/conceptual journey which pauses to dwell on specific creators, spaces and projects which have turned programming into an art of “putting on films”. It will also provide the students with the necessary tools to engage critically with different programming situations and to be able respond to practical and ethical challenges that sometimes exist when working with archival images and sound material. We will look the relation between programming, knowledge and writing of film history.

  • Curatorships, mediation and public audiences

    Módule: 3

    To a large extent curators act as intermediaries between the project and society. Although all the work they do ultimately comes under public scrutiny, an essential component of this process is a specific examination of communication and final mediation, to usher in a certain amount of circularity, exchange, dialogue and mutual enrichment, including the artist or the director. The subject avails itself of a heterogeneous plural vision of public audiences to address these issues in a practical way.

  • Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms (III)

    Módule: 4

    Continuing the work done in module 3, this subject looks at film programming via specific cases covering both regular arrangements (at film libraries and permanent establishments) and more concentrated arrangements (festivals and one-off events). It deals with conceptual issues concerned with programming and practical organisational matters (such as budgeting, funding, the negotiating of rights, showing, etc.).

  • Publication of "Hypotheses"

    EQZE delegates the task of compiling all the work carried out over the past fifteen months to students on the Curating course, who are responsible for shaping it to best reflect this generational view of film. The result, which is entitled Las Hipótesis, rather than being a chronicle of the past, is more a set of hypotheses on film from students' current perceptive. Traditionally, this account has taken the form of a publication or book, but it is open to other formats also.  Thus, intake year by intake year, Las Hipótesis aims to cast a glance over the future of cinema, its prefigurations and challenges, as seen by the very people who are destined to be its protagonists.

  • Film production and ideation processes: the curator as producer

    Curators often play the role of agents in the conception and management of film-related projects. At the same time, the production or accompaniment of an audio-visual project outside the exhibition framework can involve features that are usually associating with curating. This module looks at this hybridising of roles, with special emphasis on how hard it is to see this as a fixed category or a repeatable pattern. Operating as a curator/producer has a performative aspect, starting from the fact that a forward slash is placed between the two words. The outline of the task is established in the action, as a reaction to the specific needs of each project.

  • The circulation of images in motion

    Images have never circulated as freely as they do today, yet at the same time, never have they been subject to so much control. Digital reproduction has opened up a plethora of possibilities for duplicating and consuming images, offering greater access and dissemination while at the same time generating doubts regarding authorship and authenticity. This three-part subject encompasses a series of reflections on the circulation of images in motion in both film and contemporary art: from cinematographic production and distribution to experimental film cooperatives and limited editions in art galleries; from philosophical questions about uniqueness and reproducibility to legal issues and image rights.

Free choice subjects

  • Introduction to audio-visual heritage and its history

    Módule: 1

    Due to the industrial nature of the audiovisual world, technological breakthroughs in this field have caused major disruptions throughout its history. The move from the 'cinema of attractions' to narrative, the standardisation of feature films as the cornerstone of all programmes, the sudden, large-scale spread of sound, colour and the wide screen format, the moving away from cellulose nitrate as a photochemical medium, and the use of electronic mediums and digital technology in the creation, dissemination and commercialisation of images, have all triggered their corresponding linguistic revolutions over the past 120 years, along with successive bouts of widespread distribution of materials, prompting some private individuals and administrations to create film archives. These five classes aim to present a theoretical basis regarding the reproducibility of audiovisual works and their different manifestations, as well as the various processes used by the industry (and therefore present in film archives) during three main periods: 1896-1930, 1930-1980 and 1980-2010. With the participation of Santiago Aguilar, Luciano Berriatua, Alfonso del Amo and Nere Pagola.

  • The art of Primitive Emulsions

    This workshop takes a look at the production of home-made photochemical emulsions. Although it is based on film archaeology, it explores many contemporary creative questions. It is a workshop for those interested in the history of materiality, although it will also appeal to filmmakers curious about film not just as a means of storing their ideas, images and soundtracks, but rather as a material that actively forms and distorts these ideas, images and sounds.

  • Artists’ Moving Image and the Documentary Turn

    This course will examine how and why a strong documentary impulse has emerged contemporary moving image practice, with special attention to films that seek to challenge traditional assumptions about the documentary form and its association with objectivity, authenticity, and immediacy. We will explore how artist-filmmakers have interrogated the complex relationships between reality and representation in ways that extend, expand, and contest cinema’s long documentary tradition in light of today’s social, geopolitical, and technological conditions.

  • Cloud dramaturgy

    A brief tour of the representation of clouds in the history of painting. The basic tools for observing the heavens are sought and the importance of clouds in cinema is reflected. A way to approach "the screen of the sky", a space of representation and projection of images that connects the history of painting with that of cinema.

  • Dreaming about sound

    On very few occasions, if ever, do we associate the processes of dreaming with hearing. There is probably a simple biological reason for this: while we dream, although we temporarily switch off our sight so that we can enjoy other virtual images, our hearing always remains alert, always ready to make up for the sacrifice that rest imposes on our sight. As a result, although it sounds strange, there are no sound dreams. Every sound that we dream is irremediably linked to an image, whether this is abstract or figurative. This event offers an exercise based on sleepy listening (elusive, unfocussed..), in a kind of sound siesta, or perhaps more fittingly, a drowsy concert-listening session. In short, an entire long relaxing night, with a suitable soundtrack provided by pieces of radio art, in which the audience can sleep while listening or listen while sleeping. Cinema without light, without dialogue and without seats. The nuances and differences depend on each dream, we’ll let the comments be heard during breakfast.

  • Film in space

    Tabakalera commissioned Berlin based film curator, artist and publisher Florian Wüst to curate two large-scale film exhibitions dealing with the history of experimental film, computer and video art up to the present day. The first edition, Zin Ex. From Abstraction to Algorithm, opens at the end of 2020, and runs for four months, including a program of screening and performance events. It shall function as a "classroom" for this course in order to evaluate together the specific curatorial approach of creating non-canonical connections between films, archive materials and other artistic media. The joint reflection also concerns the presentation of historical film works in our contemporary context of digital culture. After this initial phase the main proposal of the course unfolds: the active participation in the curatorial research and realization of the second Zin Ex edition in 2021.

  • Festival under construction

    Subject directed by the San Sebastián International Film Festival (SSIFF) articulated around the past, present and future of film festivals.  The sessions focusing on the past will compare the histories of different international festivals, and chart that of the San Sebastián Festival in particular. Those focusing on the present will take the form of long conversations between students and the SSIFF team, while those focusing on the future will be exclusively dedicated to selection and programming, and will feature guest lecturers from different fields of cinema who will help students imagine the future of festivals. 

  • Permanent film sound observatory

    The Observatory is involved throughout the academic year, providing a space for training, practice and research in sound. In addition to pre-established themes, it can also adapt to the specific needs of group members at any time, linking into practical work and projects under development, in the areas of sound recording and postproduction. Throughout the year, the observatory also builds links between the area of sound and other subjects, to form an ongoing echo chamber.

  • The other film camera

    Módule: 2

    In the origins of film, the cameras used to record images were also used to project them. The operator who worked the crank to capture the moment was also the person in charge of making the gear turn so that, once developed, the images could be projected onto a screen. At what point did these two functions (and these two cameras) separate? And, above all, what were the consequences of this? Why is it that the profession of projectionist is now (and has been practically since the mechanisation of the reel drive and the creation of distribution circuits) so far removed from that of camera operator? The statement made by Henri Langlois, founder of Cinématèque Française, that his film camera was his projection camera, highlights the importance of reclaiming the art of projecting. This subject aims to recover this ancient, primitive unit, working from a twofold approach comprising both a brief theoretical-conceptual analysis and an almost genealogical exploration of projection (on light and shadow cones) in human culture, and a more extensive and strictly technical-practical section aimed at teaching students this ancient, forgotten, yet quintessentially cinematographic profession: that of the projectionist. With Carlos Muguiro and Asier Armental.

  • Film and video in the space of contemporary art

    Módule: 2

    An in-depth look at the funding of contemporary films at home and abroad. The subject avails itself of a detailed analysis of sources of funds to draw up a map of alternative resources: festivals, forums, foundations, sponsorship, subsidies, internships, competitions, self-funding and patronages. It draws comparisons between the financing of films and the financing of audiovisual art, in a bid to find connections and cooperation to help depict the economic panorama in which films are emerging in the 21st century.

  • Basque film: a cinematography with tradition, an emerging cinematography

    Módule: 3

    This course suggests an approach to Basque film. Beginning with an historical contextualization in order to provide the background of the birth and development of Basque film up to the present time, it will carry out a chronological and thematic review of the history of Basque film and will present the most notable Basque filmmakers from its origins to the present day, with particularly close attention to the three (or more) generations of Basque filmmakers who are currently active.

  • Subtitling workshop

    Módule: 3

    In this introductory workshop, students will be given a brief yet thorough overview of all the phases which make up the subtitling process. The course will focus more on illustrating the technical and practical aspects of subtitling than on the specific details of audiovisual translation, which is more an area of expertise for translation students than for film students. After completing the workshop, students will be able to create and work with different types of subtitle files for their own audiovisual creations.

  • Introduction to video-essay

    Módule: 3

    This course addresses the generation of thought on the basis of writing with images. Particular emphasis will be laid on audio-visual essays, in a bid to produce critical thought generated using the film industry’s own media.

  • What music thinks

    Módule: 3

    What can music theory teach filmmakers? This subject introduces students to the concepts of musical composition and structure and, by extension, to other art disciplines, in order to help them interrogate and explore these two aesthetic tools in the context of cinema.

  • Film, body and performance

    Módule: 4

    Based on the age-old link between film, sculpture and dance, the conditions for the emergence and enunciation of the cinematographic image are transformed.  Underscoring the presence of the film apparatus, spectators and projectionist, we explore the prolonged association between expanded film and the presence of bodies, the immediacy of the here and now and the primacy of the direct experience of space and the spatial conditions of film in its plastic, geometrical, physical, community and social dimensions. We explore celluloid as a material, film as an a-disciplinary art form and projection as a site and duration-specific process. The aim is to generate a place for performative experimentation that covers everything from choreographic approaches to the art of action and specific interventions to talking films–always based on an expanded idea of film and its resonance in space.

  • Management of Complex Media

    Módule: 4

    Audio-visual documents are not exclusive to film libraries or film archives. Audio-visual work is a format or medium of expression that is extensively used in other fields such as art. Contemporary art museums contain audio-visual collections that combine a wide variety of formats and technologies, which require specific handling and management.

  • Construction of audio universes

    Módule: 4

    This subject specifically addresses all phases of the design and construction of audio universes: ideation, work criteria, relations with images, gestation of projects based on sound, mixing etc. The multisensory power of images and sound. The synaesthetic sensory stimulation of images and sounds and the articulation of their paradoxical power in film.

  • Digital to film

    Módule: 4

    Digital to film recording has become a key tool for digital artists and filmmakers who need to present their projects in film format.  This technique not only consists of transferring digital images in order to make them look like film, it also enables the inclusion of digital elements in projects originally filmed in the traditional manner, along with special effects. This workshop explores all the creative possibilities offered by this technique.

  • Open source digital tools for Audio-visual archives

    Módule: 5

    The class begins with an introduction on file formats. Building on this the students will practically explore free and open-source software, such as FFmpeg (for in-depth file transformation), QCTools (for quality control), AEO-Light (sound extraction from optical tracks) and DCP-o-matic (DCP encoding), as well as various media players. Resources on infrastructure and workflows for film and video digitisation will be presented and discussed, taking account especially of solutions which can be implemented in difficult environments at little expense. An overview on data preservation and migration, as well as disaster planning and recovery, will round off this class.

  • Publications and film: paper, screen, text and moving images

    Módule: 5

    An analysis of the relationships which exist between the two mediums, based on a series of publications and exhibitions selected from among the teachers' own professional experiences. The aim is to adopt a subjective perspective that is not centred solely on results, but rather contemplates the process also, including difficulties and failures. Based on specific examples, we will analyse diverse key references from the field of artistic and film creation (authors, works and theoretical concepts) through the course's additional documentation.

  • Tint workshop

    Módule: 5

    Right from the very beginning, cinema has always been a colour medium and many different processes have been developed to add a touch of colour to black and white images. From chemical tints and tones to manual painting, the development of Technicolor and modern emulsions, film has always used colour as a means of artistic expression. In this workshop we explore the original colour of film and the aesthetic possibilities that these techniques offer to filmmakers and artists.

  • Optical printer: a tiny time machine

    Módule: 5

    Used to make duplicates of a positive, transform the size of the original material and create special effects in films, optical printing pre-dates the appearance of different digital post-production techniques. In this process, the image of a frame is printed and can be copied or modified. This workshop explores the creative and aesthetic possibilities offered by the device.

  • Digital processing of images II: Diamant

    Módule: 6

    The Diamant film restoration software is a professional solution for film restoration, cleaning and repair. The workshop, which is run by the digital manager of the Catalonia Film Library, teaches students how to optimise their workflow in the digital restoration process.