EMAF 33 - N11: Award Winners 2020

News 26 April 2020

Vika Kirchenbauer and Lawrence Abu Hamdan EMAF 2020 Award Winners

The two juries of the European Media Art Festival have announced this year's winners. Vika Kirchenbauer will not only receive the EMAF Media Art Prize of the Association of German Film Critics (VDFK, endowed with 1,000 Euros), but also the EMAF Award, with 3,000 Euros - for her work "Untitled Sequence of Gaps". Lawrence Abu Hamdan will be awarded the German Federal Foreign Office Dialogue Award, worth 2,000 Euros, for his video "Once Removed".

The international jury explained the EMAF Award for "Untitled Sequence of Gaps" by Vika Kirchenbauer thus: "By combining images from childhood and thoughts about lost or overwritten memories with general reflections on the physics of seeing and visibility, Kirchenbauer creates a dense reflection on the power structures of seeing and being seen. In her oscillation between public and private images, scientific and personal knowledge, physical phenomena and subjective sensations, she repeatedly places her finger in the gaps in the production of memory - not to close them, but to preserve them as open spaces for what is not yet visible. This year's jury was composed of Greg de Cuir Jr (Belgrade), Tasja Langenbach (Cologne) and Tinne Zenner (Copenhagen).
The jury of the EMAF Media Art Prize of the Association of German Film Critics (VDFK) also chose "Untitled Sequence of Gaps" by Vika Kirchenbauer independently of the international jury. “The fact that both the images and the narrative self in UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS elude our grasp and have an at times almost ghostly presence is intentional. How to find images for traumatic experiences that lie buried in the black hole of memory is the question that Vika Kirchenbauer poses through the means of film and spurs her to innovative pictorial inventions”, writes the jury, consisting of film journalist Annette Brauerhoch (Frankfurt), Esther Buss (Berlin) and Hannes Wesselkämper (Berlin).

The two juries were unable to see the 37 nominated films in the EMAF International Competition in the cinema as they normally would. They viewed the works at home and then decided on the winners of the EMAF 2020 in online conferences, including the Dialogue Prize, which is awarded annually by the German Federal Foreign Office at the EMAF to promote intercultural exchange.

This year's Dialogue Prize has been awarded to the work "Once Removed" by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. "The video is an extraordinarily multi-layered reflection on the act of conversation, the complexity of research and the fluidity of memory. … The video also simultaneously examines both the horrors of war and the general blindness of societies that find themselves called into question by the recognition and appreciation of cultural differences," the jury concluded. All of this is negotiated with the sensitive and sure hand of an accomplished artist who has not yet reached the pinnacle of his talent and success, according to de Cuir Jr, Langenbach and Zenner.

The jury of the EMAF Award also decided to give a honourable mention to Zachary Epcar's work "Billy". The jury also gave an honourable mention to "Apiyemiyekî?" by Ana Vaz in the context of the Dialogue Award. The jury of the EMAF Media Art Prize of the Association of German Film Critics (VDFK) also gave an honourable mention to "Pigeons and Architecture" by Anne Linke.
The award-winning films will be presented in cinemas in the presence of the award winners and juries as part of EMAF 2021. They can be seen until midnight today on streaming.emaf.de.

We congratulate the winners on their awards and thank all the artists involved in the competition for their willingness to present their work to the public even under exceptional circumstances. We look forward to seeing you all again at the next EMAF, from 21 to 25 April 2021!

"Untitled Sequence of Gaps" (DE 2020) by Vika Kirchenbauer