From Thursday to Sunday, Batalha Cinema Centre is presenting the first retrospective in Europe dedicated to the work of the indigenous cinema collective COUSIN. The programme, which will feature members of the North American collective, includes film sessions, a live act and a performance.
Set up in 2018, the collective is made up of artists and filmmakers descended from North American indigenous peoples and is bound to the support, in numerous ways, of the cinema developed by people who work with this cultural legacy.
Its mission is to “build an indigenous film movement” and its founding members – Sky Hopinka, Adam Khalil, Alexandra Lazarowich, and Adam Piron – as well as others who have participated in it over the past few years, have achieved visibility and critical acclaim in some of the major museums, art spaces, and international film festivals.
Dialoguing with Batalha's artistic team, it will present an important part of its work, aiming, over four days, to illustrate the vitality of film projects that crossover different types of cinema.
The programme begins on Thursday, January 12, at 9:15 pm, with the presentation of three films produced in recent years: “Kicking the Clouds” (2021), by Sky Hopinka, “Maat” (2020), by Fox Maxy (Ammodo Tiger Short Award in Rotterdam) – both opening in Portugal – and “Nosferasta: First Bite” (2021), by Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, winner of the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition in Rotterdam.
The next day, between 6:30 pm and 10:45 pm, in a version set up in the bar, with free admission, short films will be presented that combine cinematic works by members and friends of COUSIN and in which cinema crosses over with other arts in 16 contemporary indigenous vibrant stories and with various languages.
On January 14, Saturday, at 5:15 pm, “mani– towards the ocean, towards the shore” (2020) will be presented. This is the first feature film by artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka, awarded in 2022 with a “Genius Grants” from the Macarthur Foundation.
This work is a poetic look at the myth of death of the Chinookan Native American community in the northwestern United States. After the film, three members of COUSIN – Sky Hopinka, Adam Piron, and Kite – will participate in a conversation moderated by the curator, Julian Ross.
In “Ste. Anne” (2021), by Rhayne Vermette, scheduled for 5:15 pm on Sunday, January 15, we follow the story of Renée, who returns to her homeland to reconnect with her family.
Featuring the director and some members of her family, the film, which has been played at festivals such as the Berlinale and TIFF (Toronto), presents delicate moments of the daily life of the Métis indigenous community in rural Manitoba, Canada.
In addition to the cinema sessions, the cycle dedicated to COUSIN also includes a live act by Kite, a visual and performance artist and composer from the Lakota indigenous community, and this act will take place on Friday at 11 pm; Sky Hopinka's performance, “American Traditional War Songs,” is on Saturday at 10 pm and explores the ever-changing relationship between language and the homeland throughout Native American history.
The cycle dedicated to COUSIN opens the Collectives programme, which is focused on collective experiences of filmmaking and production from the 1970s to the present day.
Until July, Batalha is also presenting the work of the Yugantar Film Collective, the first Indian film collective founded and made up exclusively by women, and The Zanzibar Group, formed by young artists in Paris in the late 1960s.