With FACING NEW CHALLENGES, we explore the possibilities of the moving image beyond classic narrative cinema and focus on new tendencies along the border where film meets other media and art forms.

Accordingly, we’re also going to new places serving as interface between the other arts – in addition to the Kunsthalle, now also the Nationaltheater Mannheim! And this year we are even venturing into the field of performance art.

Facing new challenges – the new challenges we are faced with time and again are manifold. For instance, a new societal trend is on the rise across the globe that poses a threat to diversity, openness and freedom. But to us as a international Festival all those ideas and values are close to our heart. We hold the firm belief that diversity of all kinds enriches our lives as well as our culture, saving us from monotony and contributing to greater happiness and equality for all – regardless of gender, cultural background, religion and sexual orientation. That’s why it is of great importance for us to give voice and visibility to socially marginalised groups.

This is precisely the concern of the artist and musician Kelman Duran who immigrated as child to the US from the Domenican Republic. He strives to establish networks of resistance against enduring colonial structures and across all national and cultural borders. To this end, marginalised groups are at the centre of his works.

The artist collective “The Nest” from Nairobi tackles the marginalisation, or indeed the oppression, of other groups. Their work is concerned with various aspects of Kenyan society, as well as the visibility of Black bodies and the fates of queer people. While African collectives of this kind are still underrepresented at European festivals, African metropolises such as Nairobi, Lagos and Kinshasa are witnessing the development of some of the world’s most vibrant and diverse art and film scenes.

Kelman Duran in Mannheim

To the North Parts I and II
Kelman Duran

For over a decade, artist and songwriter Kelman Duran has been portraying members of the Sioux First Nation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the north of the US. Considered a sacred place by the First Nation, it is also one of the country’s poorest areas. For Duran, his cinematic engagement with the reservation represents an attempt at creating an archive from below, a kind of counter-archive. Chaos is a deliberate constituent. It is created in close collaboration with insiders and outsiders, witnesses and witnessed. Documentary scenes are combined with references to the history of oppressed population groups in the two Americas. For instance, with texts by Oscar Micheaux, the first Black director of American cinema. The works ultimately combine different scenarios of oppression, for example bringing together the reservations with the Caribbean inner-city ghettos from Duran’s childhood. Kelman Duran’s essay films are imbued with profound empathy and great urgency and directness. The result is a cinema vérité as unsparing as it is poetic and complex.

  • When: 19.11. - 27.11.2023 (Opening and artist talk between Kelman Duran and the curators on 19.11. at 4 p.m.)
  • Where: Kunsthalle Mannheim, Atrium
  • Admission: free

Kelman Duran Live Set + Visuals
Facing New Challenges meets Planet Ears

Like the IFFMH, the Mannheim music festival Planet Ears is committed to crossing aesthetic boundaries. It strives to present global music trends that go beyond the clichés of world music and folklore. This year marks the first collaboration between the IFFMH and this innovative festival. Together, we present Kelman Duran, an artist whose music takes off from the club beat of Latin American reggaeton, reaching far into abstract soundscapes made up of nature sounds, ambience and rap samples.

In 2022, he contributed the soundtrack to ›Rodeo‹. This exciting film about a strong young woman in a biker gang could be experienced at the IFFMH last year. Duran’s performance this year will include the soundtrack, and the director Lola Quivoron and editor Rafael Torres Calderón will contribute visuals from the film.

  • When: 18.11, 9:30 p.m. (admission 9 p.m.)
  • Where: Alte Feuerwache Mannheim
  • Admission: 12 € VVK | 15 € AK // Tickets available HERE

The Nest Collective in Heidelberg

The Nest
Short films, video installations, feature films and parties!

Facing New Challenges has invited the artist collective “The Nest” from Nairobi to take over the Karlstorbahnhof in Heidelberg with their hybrid art. “The Nest” will do so using a dazzling variety of different media and formats: video installations, fashion, books, DJ sets and a party. The program showcases the stylistic versatility, the seemingly limitless creativity, and the political commitment of the Kenyan collective. 2022 already saw them represented at the documenta in Kassel and subsequently at the Wiesbaden Biennale. Now they are coming to the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region for the first time.

Every evening on the 17., 18., 19., 25. und 26.11. at 19:30 Uhr and on the 20. 21., 22. and 24. 11. at 8:30 p.m., “The Nest” will show a half hour of short films in the foyer of the Karlstorbahnhof. These works deal with very different aspects of Kenyan society, such as fashion, love, crime, faith and oppression. Their form is as varied as life in the metropolises. “The Nest” makes use of elements from genre cinema, advertising and the visual arts.

You can also experience the video installation ›When We Are/When We Are Not‹ (2016) at the same location throughout the duration of the IFFMH. In calm and concentrated images, the video installation explores the relationship between bodies and landscape. It is a study of presence and absence and of the political weight of Black bodies.

Party: THE NEST x ZENA present BLOSSOM
When: 25 Nov., 10 p.m. (doors open)
Where: Klub (Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg)
Line-up: DJ IV, Ziggie, JOEY LOU, OLIV
Admission: 10 € (advance sale) | 12 € (at the door)
(Tickets can be purchased online or on site at the Karlstorbahnhof)

  • Where: Festival Lounge Heidelberg
  • Admission: free

›The Stories of Our Lives‹

In 2013, “The Nest” began documenting stories of queer life in their home country. They have collected hundreds of individual queer experiences of encounters and loss, of oppression and liberation in a strictly two-gender society. The result is a series of harrowing cinematic narratives that “The Nest” have arranged into a feature-length film. We are showing ›The Stories of Our Lives‹ (2014) as a one-off screening. The artists have also made a book on the theme of the film, which can be viewed and purchased on-site.

  • When: 25.11. | 5:30 pm
  • Where: Karlstorkino | Duration: 60 min.


Jan-Philipp PossmannKurator FACING NEW CHALLENGESjp.possmann.ext[at]iffmh.de
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