Surplus Cinema invites us to convene around contemporary films, moving image and sound made by women-identifying, femmes and non-binary artists working in or near the context of Greece and its intertwining diasporas. The travelling programme gathers artists, filmmakers, writers, activists, thinkers and cultural workers to share questions around collaborative filmmaking practices (‘filming with’), camera work as care work and cinema as community action. It centers on intergenerational herstories, interrogations of the tourist gaze, filmmaking as activism, collectively authored cinema and works that strive towards decolonizing archives and memories.
Through humour and code-mixing, diasporic sisterhoods, afro confessions, queer joy and mourning, rerooting rituals, cinematic nests and sensory pleasures, this programme seeks to bridge communities and celebrate metasporic ones. Surplus Cinema echoes lived – unresolved, diasporic, wished - experiences.
Surplus Cinema is in conversation with Dimitra Kotouza’s book Surplus Citizens (2019) which analyzes the ‘superfluousness of subordinate classes’ within the context of the Greek ‘crisis’, alongside the transformative and subversive potential of collective action. Surplus means beyond the dominant or ‘acceptable’ ways of being, living and making.
In many of the films there is a questioning of national identity, reframing stale notions of peoples or narratives in this small border region, between East and West; a borderland, so often used as a pillar to define (and exclude from) the ‘European’. Surplus Cinema questions this very pillar by asking: How might feminist diasporic filmmaking operate as a gesture of unweaving oppressions to create spaces of non-hierarchical solidarity and healing? How can camera work be care work?
With a love of hybrid, handmade, messy and minor filmmaking, Surplus Cinema is an ongoing process of making space for crafting cinema as a placemaking and space-taking practice where we can nourish, dream and experience joy together in liberatory ways.
The 3-day programme includes screenings, public discussions with visiting and local filmmakers, a looped screening programme, a workshop and a mistressclass veered at decentering eurocentricism and engaging in feminist lineages of the moving image.
The programme for this first iteration of Surplus Cinema is conceived by Maria Christoforidou, Rabab El Mouadden, Christina Phoebe and Elli Vassalou.
Special thanks to Geli Mademli & Anna Asterinou.
This programme is supported by by the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), Beursschouwburg, Workspacebrussels, LUCA School of Arts and DocNomads.
Credits image: Christina Phoebe in collaboration with the United African Women Organization, Amygdalià, 2019
Surplus Cinema is an itinerant gathering of diasporic artists, filmmakers, writers, thinkers, activists and cultural workers asking questions about feminist filmmaking and decolonial practices within the context of Greece and its intertwining diasporas.
Maria Christoforidou (b. 1979, Zambia) is an Afro-Greek artist, writer and researcher. Motivated by a persistent interest in metaphor and embodied fiction and how images produce realities, Maria uses research and collaboration in different formats – lectures, workshops, exhibitions, publications – to question the neutrality of various canons and loosen knots of othering. Always hoping to expand spheres of interest in art, still or moving image cultures, Maria has worked on various art events in Cornwall, as curator, graphic designer, writer and producer. She was the co-curator of the Decalcomania curatorial experiment in 2010, founder of the T - Rex community’scinema project, director and producer of her local Penryn Arts Festival 2013. Since 2011 Maria has been lecturing in art history, visual culture and art practice in Plymouth University and Falmouth University, UK. In 2021 her research in Afro feminist discussions on intersectional diasporas and decolonisation took shape in the Decolonise Now student symposium for Falmouth University and in the Yaya Weave exhibition and communal weaving workshop. Her video poem about Afro-Greek experiences, ΜΑΛΘΑ: The Thrice Burnt Archives of Unreliable Prophecies, was presented in the Almanac of Transmediale 2021-22. Maria lives and works in Cornwall and Athens.
Rabab El Mouadden (b. 1996, Athens) is a Moroccan-Greek being (still trying to figure out how to define herself), currently living in Rotterdam with research interests in diasporic exploration through audiovisual media. She is a member of the working group of the United African Women Organization Greece and has been a participant in the inaugural Community Course on Intersectionality at the Feminist Autonomous Center in Athens. She runs rai.rebetiko, an Instagram account, as an online space for comparative analysis and mapping two genres of music (North-African rai and Greek rebetiko) to explore the intersections of image and sound in pop culture. Her recent work includes the paper Can a Film be Like a Nest?: Revisiting History, Constructing Utopias and Heterotopias of a Borderless Future in the Hybrid Film Amygdaliá (2019) which argues for the necessity of spaces of belonging for displaced women within the context of contemporary Greece.
Christina Phoebe (b.1989 USA) is an artist, filmmaker, activist and researcher. Intergenerational gatherings, cinematic nests and watercolour notetaking are some of the forms she moves through in her work. Central to her practice is the formation of collective spaces for sharing (experiences, skills, knowledge) in workshops and homemade residencies, through feminist pedagogies and decolonial practices. Her work has been shown at the 15th Venice Biennale of Architecture; YNKB (Copenhagen), Flux Factory (New York), The Greek Film Archive (Athens), One Minute Space (Athens), Academia Romantica/Sozopolis (Athens), Jeu de Paume's Le Magazine, E-Flux among others. Both personal and collaborative, her writing has been published by kyklàda.press, Photogénie, feministiqa, visAvis: Voices on Asylum and Migration, Media and Art Education, The New Nomadic Age (2018), The School of Infinite Rehearsals (2022), Prologues (2022). Her first feature film Amygdaliá (2019) has screened internationally earning several awards. . Currently, she is developing the film Rock, Paper, Scissors! in the context of Sound Image Culture. She is a member of the working group of the United African Women Organization and was George Stoney Fellow at the 64th Flaherty Film Seminar The Necessary Image. She lives in Athens and Brussels.
Elli Vassalou (b. 1983 Greece) is a Brussels-based transdisciplinary artist, architect, activist, and researcher. She designs and contributes to co-creation platforms, actions, and socially engaged projects focusing on public space, collective memory, feminist/decolonial pedagogies, fair practices and the commons. She works hybrididy with film-making, photography, design, movement, sound, discursive and multi-sensorial tools, text, context-specific and archival art. She is seeking new ways of polyphonic narrating, assembling bodies, spaces, and objects in a critical and creative dialogue. In 2018 she co-founded The Post Collective. She is also active in the collaborative projects Metaspora, and Parallel Perceptions. She is currently working at Globe Aroma art house, coordinating the Visual Arts atelier and Espace fxmme. She is also a member of the collective Friends of Zak in Brussels. Her work has been supported and shared by various institutions, community centres and art schools in Belgium, Greece, Germany, France, Cyprus, England, Spain and the Netherlands.
Adeola Naomi Aderemi is a Nigerian-Greek raised in Niger, Nigeria, and Greece, currently living between West Africa and Western Europe. Adeola is a multilingual, multi-local, and multi-format creative, scholar, policy analyst, yoga therapist, and holistic healer. Her work and activism focus on the intersection of politics, social justice, health equity, African LGBTQ rights, Black feminism, class, and race.
Rebecca Jane Arthur (b.1984, Edinburgh) is a visual artist working predominantly with moving image and text. She is co-founder of the Brussels-based, artist-run production and distribution platform elephy, contributor to the online film criticism platform Sabzian, and a PhD in the Arts candidate at KASK & Conservatorium/School of Arts Ghent.
Gevi Dimitrakopoulou is a queer feminist filmmaker based in Athens, Greece. She holds degrees in economics, film, and digital media philosophy. Her films are primarily concerned with witchcraft, anomaly, tomboyness and political disparities.
Alkisti Efthymiou is a writer and anthropologist, invested in discussing the sensibilities of cultural texts on the intersections of gender, sexuality, and affective politics. She is a PhD candidate at the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University (Athens), doing research on the critical state of intimacy under late capitalism. Let’s Not Let Go is her first short film, produced in Chile in 2021 and dealing with collective care as a form of transgenerational feminist resistance. It has been circulating in festivals around the world such as Vienna Shorts (Austria), Curta Cinema (Brazil), and Femcine Festival of Women’s Cinema (Chile), where it won an honourable mention.
Friends of Zak in Belgium is a group of Greek and Belgian activists, artists & cultural workers. It is part of the movement Justice for Zak/Zackie, the HIV+ queer activist and drag performer Zak Kostopoulos, brutally killed in 2018 in Athens. They have organised several actions in Brussels, such as a performative demonstration and a parade, an exhibition, a talk, a screening and a political drag event. Facebook page: Friends.of.Zak.Belgium
Eva Betavatzi is an activist based in Belgium and Athens involved in various anti-colonial, feminist and housing rights struggles.
Yanis Stefanou (he/him) shares his time between activism, European politics, curating and translation.
Eva Giannakopoulou grew up in Ithaca, Greece and is currently residing in Athens where she works. In the past she has lived in Naples, Barcelona, Istanbul, Berlin and in other places depending on the circumstances. She has presented performances at various unconventional sites, including beaches, squares, rivers, parks, and impromptu stages in public space. Her work has been exhibited in museums, institutions, galleries, and festivals, including the Onassis-Stegi Foundation (2021), the Benaki Museum (2019 & 2016), the Kultursymposium Weimar (2019), the Goethe-Institut Athen (2019), the Athens Biennale AB6: ANTI (2018), and the Athens Biennale AB5to6: OMONOIA (2016). She has studied History of Art in Italy, and Fine Arts in Greece. She has co-curated and co-organized numerous art projects and performative events, while in 2013-2014, she was a co-labourer of the MPA-B (Month of Performance Art, Berlin). In 2019 she co-founds Most Mechanics Are Crooks, an artistic and curatorial band that aims to reclaim insincerity as a tool of progressive discourse. She is a PhD candidate at the ASFA (Athens School of Fine Arts), since 2020.
Tzeli Hatzidimitriou is an independent filmmaker, photographer, and travel writer from Lesbos, Greece. She is the author of six photography books, including the award-winning 39 Coffee houses and a barber’s shop, In Communion with Stone (Crete University Press) and Time Fading Into Clouds (Metaixmio), with work shown in museums and galleries in Greece and abroad. She is also the author of guidebooks to the Greek islands of Kythira and Lesbos and has published many articles about her travels to South Korea, India, Cambodia, Laos and other destinations in the Greek press. She studied Direction of Photography in Rome. Her films have been screened all over Europe and in 2020 her documentary Sappho Singing, won the Best Foreign Short Documentary at the Queer International Film Festival, Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Dimitra Kondylatou is a visual artist living in Athens. She works across video-making, editing, writing and hosting. She is interested in the limits of art and its entanglements with tourism and everyday life. She visually explores gestures, practices and correspondences within contexts and spaces of hospitality and exchange. From 2012 to 2018 her artistic research on art and tourism was enriched through her seasonal occupation as manager and worker of the Neion guest house in Lefkada, and through the residential project The island-resignified that she initiated and hosted there from 2015 to 2017. She was a member of kyklàda.press publications (2020-2021) and of TWIXTlab (2017-2018). She holds a Master of Arts from the Dutch Art Institute (2017) and an Integrated Master of Fine Arts from the Athens School of Fine Arts (2012).
Emilia Milou has studied Sociology and Photography. She has worked as a director, cinematographer, editor, script and assistant director in documentaries and fiction films. Her first feature documentary Express Skopelitis was officially selected at Festival dei Popoli, Festival International Cinemed, Thessaloniki Festival and others. She has directed theatre, films and participated in films showcased at Venice Biennale 2019 and Documenta14. She has collaborated with many artists (Katerina Andreou, Nova Melancolia, Ilias Dimitriou, Lola Peploe, Michalis Kallimopoulos, Euripides Laskaridis, Eva Stefani, Zafos Xagoraris, Sofia Dona, Dimitris Papaioannou). She is now directing two feature documentaries.
Mouries Collective is a fluid and interdisciplinary group of female artists, researchers and therapists based in Athens, Greece. Originally gathered due to common interests in healing and divination practices, they recently focused on developing connections with trees, plants and the diverse beings with whom we share this planet. The collective creates encounters and workshops that are multimedia, intersectional, inclusive, creative mixes, either intervening in public space or exploring group dynamics through the framework of care. Mouries, at this moment, are Isabel Gutierez Sanchez, Vasiliki Sifostratoudaki, Auriane Blanc, Zalia Dimitropoulou, Maria Juliana Byck, Artemis Papageorgiou, Eliana Otta and Sanem Su Avcı.
Persefoni Myrtsou is a feminist, a mother, a visual and performance artist, and an anthropologist living in Istanbul. She holds a BA in Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art and got her MA degree from the Institute of Art in Context at the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK). Persefoni has exhibited and performed in various conditions and locations, among others in the: Symptom Projects Άμφισσα (Tourism 2017), Goethe Institute Αθήνα (Weasel Dance, 2019), Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival (2019), Bi’Bak & UdK Berlin (Fava Connection, 2019), online FestivALT Krakow (Lucky Jew, 2021). Currently she is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where she is researching artists’ migration as a social phenomenon in its own right. Persefoni is working on de-nationalizing dominant narratives through the use of subversion, cultural appropriation and humour. She often performs her work and research findings as her alter ego, Ayşenur. In the last couple of years, she has engaged with peace activism in the Greece-Turkey context and seeks to propose alternative feminist-queer spaces of contact beyond dominant, patriarchal and nationalistic discourses.
The Post Film Collective is an autonomous platform of co-creation, co-learning and cultural activism created by Elli Vassalou, Mahammed Alimu, Marcus Bergner, Hooman Jalidi, Sawsan Maher and Mirra Markhaeva, artists with different means and access to artistic production due to legal status (refugees, asylum seekers, sans papiers, european citizens). Generative modes of dialogue and storytelling form the basis to their speculative and experiential approaches to performance, art+design. Since 2020, upon an invitation by Robin Vanbesien, the Post Film Collective is currently developing On Recreation, a kaleidoscopic, polyphonic film with 7 creators, editors, producers.
Prokne is a queer poet and performer from Athens. She is a housewife. To communicate she uses houseware and she holds ironing spray instead of a gun and generally, she has many problems. She uses poetry, video performance and stage performance to express herself. Her special interests are the intersections of domesticity and sexuality.
Eva Stefani is a documentary filmmaker, visual artist, and poet, who uses video and super 8 film to make observational documentaries and short visual poems. Selected filmography includes Manuscript (2017), Virgin’s Temple (2017), Dimitris Papaioannou (2012), Bathers (2008), What Time is It? (2007), The Box (2004), Acropolis (2001), and Athine (1995). Her films have received awards internationally and she has also participated in international exhibitions, most recently in the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2019), and documenta14 in Athens and Kassel (2017). She is the editor of the Film Series at Patakis Publishers in Athens, as well as the author of two film books, Documentary: The Observation Game (Patakis, 2016) and 10 Texts on Documentary (Patakis, 2007), and a book in poetic prose, Fin’s Hair (Polis, 2014). Stefani teaches Cinema Studies at the University of Athens and is a visiting professor at Freie Universität, Berlin.
Maria Sidiropoulou is a producer/ videographer and director of short documentaries, based in Athens. She loves experimenting with visual storytelling, is interested in women's/ gender issues as well as anthropology and international relations. Proud owner of four cats.
Vania Turner (b. 1989) is a Greek-British documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and editor. Her films deal with trauma, grief, survival and conflict. From 2017-2019 she worked as the UN Refugee Agency's Africa producer and videographer, based in Nairobi and travelling widely to film some of the world’s most neglected humanitarian crises. She is a regular contributor to Guardian Documentaries and her cinematography and stories have appeared in various international outlets, such as TIME magazine and VICE, amongst others. She is currently directing her first feature documentary that looks into child abuse, sexual violence and the possibility for redemption.
Phaedra Vokali graduated from the Marketing and Communication Department of the Athens University of Economic and Business in 2005 and in 2008 she obtained an MA in Film Studies from University College London. In 2009, she attended the MA programme Research in Architecture: Architectural Design – Space – Culture in the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). She worked as head of programming of the Athens International Film Festival, and editor-in-chief of Cinema Magazine. She has been working as a producer in Marni Films since October 2013 and she is an alumnus of the EAVE Producers Network and the Torino Film Lab (Script & Pitch, Framework). Her first feature film production, Suntan by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, and her second feature, Afterlov by Stergios Paschos, received several awards in film festivals worldwide. Enomena is the first short film she has written and directed.