Orient Express Film Festival – world without borders

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Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

John Lennon

John Lennon invited us to expand our imagination and go beyond the possible. We all said that he is a dreamer. Is it possible at all, to live in a world without countries, without borders, without gender, religion, nor any other social determined category of identity? Sounds like a dream. For John Lennon the song was an invitation just to imagine such world. Just to imagine it. 

Although we all say he was a dreamer, these kind of dreams will never stop existing among us people of this world. Mostly among those people who had the experience of the war, devastation, negation, and mass destruction. The dream of absolute freedom is a tragic consequence of the experience of absolute imprisonment. 

The theme of this year Film Festival Orient Express is an invitation to imagine a world without borders. The actual situation of a nation, like the Kurds, who live without a legitimate state, divided as people among the borders of  four countries, is a prefect representation of the absurdity of the concept of nation-state borders. 

The organisers of the Orient Express Film Festival invite us to stimulate our imagination, by the means of arts and film, and to explore the possibility of crossing the borders. By establishing new connections, between the orient and the occident, they invite the public to create new imaginary concept of citizenship.

Aydin Sevinc, a director and one of the organisers, explained the symbolism behind the multi-coloured fish that shows up on the poster for the festival.

„This fisch is (a)political symbol“ – said Aydin in the video interview bellow – „because it is queer, feminist, Kurd and Arabic, it is simply diverse“. 

The Orient Express Film Festival sets its interest on Premieres. The line up covers films from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Siyra, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, all the way back to Switzerland. Kurdistan, which doesn’t exist as a state legally, gets special attention during the festival. The peoples who live on the territory of four other countries: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, strives to survive, resisting the absurdity of their legal position. The title of this year Orient Express film festival resonates with the situation of the Kurds and their destiny as people. 

In our conversation with Aydin, we talked about the challenge to organise a film festival during a pandemic. He mentioned how much it meant to them the support from diverse institutions. The greatest support for him however is, if the audience doesn’t only buy tickets, but really shows up at the upcoming film-days and actively participates at the discussions. 

The festival takes place in 3 cities in Switzerland:

In Bern from 19. – 24. Oktober

In Zürich from 03. – 07. Oktober and

In Basel from 11. – 14. Oktober.

Parallel with the film programme, the organisers planned many workshops and podium discussions, as well as two music concerts in Zürich at 22. Oktober in Rote Fabrik and in Bern at 24. Oktober in PROGR. 

All the information as well as tickets you can find at the official web page: www.oeff.org

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Maya kommt ursprünglich aus einer politisch und kulturell stark geprägten Region des Balkans: Mazedonien. Sie ist in den 90er-Jahren in der Hauptstadt Skopje in einer Nachkriegsatmosphäre aufgewachsen. Damals gab es weder eine Kunstszene noch Kunst-Vereine. In diesen schwierigen Zeiten hat sie erkannt, wie wichtig es ist, Zeichen zu setzen und dass es Menschen gibt, die kreativ denken und arbeiten wollen. So war sie seit ihrer Jugendzeit mit verschiedenen kleinen und grossen Engagements in der subkulturellen Szene von Skopje aktiv: Kanal 103 Radio, Locomotion Festival, Dream On Festival… Seit 2012 wohnt sie in der Schweiz und studiert Weltliteratur an der Universität Bern am "Center for Global Studies (CGS)". "Es ist meine Vision, eine aktive Gestalterin und Promoterin der Vielfalt kultureller Ausdrucksformen zu sein, die es in multikulturellen Milieus gibt. Insbesondere interessiert es mich, wie man die Rezeption der zeitgenössischen Kulturszene vertiefen und verbessern kann und Räume zu schaffen für multikulturellen Ausdruck, sowie für die Vermittlung zwischen Kultur und Politik."

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