Cinema camp

Cinema Camp is multi-day international summer event that started in 2010 and was organised in various Lithuanian manors, inviting its participants to join an informal conversation on an ever-new topic related to moving image art. Filmmakers presented their films and took part in discussions, film scholars gave presentations specially prepared for the camp programme, and the campers took part in workshops, reading groups and radio listening sessions.

Cinema Camp is a four-day international summer event organised by Meno Avilys for a decade now, each year inviting its participants to join an informal conversation on an ever-new topic related to moving image art. Filmmakers presented their films and took part in discussions, film scholars gave presentations specially prepared for the camp programme, and the campers took part in workshops, reading groups and radio listening sessions. Each year, this informal gathering of the film community took place in a different Lithuanian manor, where after a long cinema-filled day the guests could relax by the lake, listen to music and dance.

Cinema Camp was organised in the manors of Žeimiai, Gelgaudiškis, Salos and the “Valley of Innovators” in Antalieptė. A wide range of Lithuanian and foreign filmmakers gave presentations and introduced the audience to their work, including cinematographer Agnes Godard, artist Peggy Ahwesh, directors Ben Rivers, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Jem Cohen, Deimantas Narkevičius, Aistė Žegulytė, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Audrius Stonys (among many more), and visuality researchers, film critics and curators Elena Gorfinkel, Natalija Arlauskaitė, Agnė Narušytė, Michael Chanan, Maria Vinogradova.

The Limits of Film Genres (2010)
The term ‘film genre’ is very broad and refers not only to the stylistic, thematic and narrative elements of a film, but also to more general aspects related to the policies of film production and distribution. During the first Cinema Camp, we tried to deconstruct the genre of a road movie and to search for its limits.

Cinema and Freedom (2011)
In this edition of the Cinema Camp, we explored the various representations of freedom in cinema and the imprints of creative expression, freedom of thought, and censorship of sexuality in films. The programme focused on the socially deeply embedded yet often imperceptible phenomenon of self-abasement and blindly following others. Alongside that, the event gave an in-depth presentation of Iranian and Kurdish directors’ films.

Cinema and History (2012)
Looking at the interfaces between cinema and history, one can grasp how history functions in cinema, how films affect historical images, and finally, how cinema and its forms change according to history. In this Cinema Camp, we talked about film propaganda and censorship in the early post-WWI Lithuania, the history of Vilnius cinema theatres, and the concept of history in Gonzo journalism. We also discussed the post-Stalinist, so-called Thaw period in Soviet cinema, with the gradual emerging of a place for private life, and therefore also of the possibility for depicting love and intimate relationships.

Cinema and Sound (2013)
In cinema, sound is rarely appreciated for its own sake; traditionally its function is to complement and enhance the visuals. This time, however, we proposed to take a moment to close our eyes, to reverse the hierarchical relationship between image and sound, and to try to listen to films. We discussed the power of voice to subvert colonialist imagery, the significance of telephone conversations in Soviet cinema, moments of silence in contemplative cinema and many other uses of voice and music in film.

Cinema and the Body (2014)
The topic of the body in cinema encompasses multiple aspects, from how corporeality is rendered on screen to the sensory experiences of the viewer, and finally the physical involvement of the filmmakers in the production process. During this Cinema Camp, we encouraged to look into cinema not only as a visual experience, but also as a bodily one. By discussing the theme of the body, we expanded the field of cinema discussions to include conversation about the latest physical technologies, dancing bodies and sensuality.

Cinema and Politics (2015)
In this edition we delved into the complex relationship between cinema and politics, exploring how the former is used for political ends and in the construction of national myths. We explored how cinema changes political events and how filmmakers reflect them on screen. The film screenings, presentations and discussions at the camp took us on a journey through Russia, Ukraine, China and Latin America.

Cinema Eye (2016)
In Cinema Eye, we gave our full attention to the camera, the work of the cinematographer and the technical and aesthetic peculiarities of filmmaking. We talked about the ethical questions that arise when filming another person and questioned whether everything is allowed to be shown. We also explored the links between film and photography, and what the censor’s eye sees while watching a film.

Welcome to the Anthropocene (2017)
At the beginning of the 20th century, it was believed that the “administration” of nature was a prerequisite for the modern future. Today, facts are proving otherwise: the selfish exploitation of nature portends a grim future for our planet. In the light of ecological and political trends, this Cinema Camp invited to reflect on how cinema reconsiders the relationship between nature and humanity in the Anthropocene era, and to discuss on various topics of ecology, nature, wildlife, and the naturalness of film.

Imperfect Cinema (2018)
“Imperfection” can be related to the process of making a film, when one seeks to find a personal, unconventional cinematic language, breaking established rules; perhaps imperfection in cinema is a form of resisting orderly materiality, with hand-torn cine film and digitally damaged video material? In general, imperfect cinema is an opposition to imposed normativity, control, and structures of power. How do marginal film movements and waves emerge? How do low-budget filmmakers work, having consciously rejected the large financial mechanisms that constrain creative freedom? Seeking to avoid placing “imperfect” cinema in a limiting frame, we invited the campers to join us in a collective search for an imperfect idea of imperfect cinema.

Electrified Identities (2019)
This edition invited its guests to look deeper into the cinematic representation of gender and sexuality and the power relations that control them. The programme featured films that use a creative approach to explore these topics, as well as an introduction to queer and feminist cinema and its creators. In addition to the historical perspective of “electrified identities” on screen, we also focused on gender dynamics and the reflection of transgenderism in contemporary cinema and video art.

The project is partly funded by the Lithuanian Film Centre, the Audiovisual Copyright Association AVAKA, and the Lithuanian Office of the Creative Europe Office MEDIA. The strategic partner of Meno Avilys’s projects is the Lithuanian Council for Culture.

Ona Kotryna Dikavičiūtė
+370 614 64042