Passing the Rainbow (Sandra Schäfer)

“We tried our best in terms of our own strategies that came to our mind somehow to intervene in this stereotype representation, that we didn’t want to reproduce in our film, and really to include very different ways in which Afghan filmmakers show themselves, and to introduce their work and at the same time also going back to the history of Afghanistan in Afghan cinema.”

Interview with Sandra Shäfer about geopolitics, war in Afganistan, feminism, performativity and the process of making her film “Passing the Rainbow”.

Barcelona, November, 2010

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*Sandra Schäfer, artist, filmmaker and curator of film programs. In her artistic work, she has previously dealt with themes of representation of gender, urbanity and (post-) colonialism. Presently she is member of the Berlin based group artefakte which is part of Alexandertechnik, a network of social activists, artists and academics, who reject the reconstruction of the Prussian castle in Berlin as much as the current concept of the Humboldt-Forum. She is also involved into cinenova, a feminist non-profit, charitable organization based in London, dedicated to preserving and distributing films and videos made by women film makers, artists and activist. Until July 2010 she will be fellow artist at the research center for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) at Chelsea College London.

Schäfer has made repeated visits to Kabul and Tehran since 2002. She has been involved in different collaborative projects with filmmakers, activists and theoreticians. Together with the Berlin based filmmaker Elfe Brandenburger and in cooperation with actresses, filmmakers and activists from Kabul she made the film Passing the Rainbow. It is a film about actresses and strategies to undermine the rigid gender norms in Afghan society. She is co-curator of the film festival Kabul/Teheran 1979ff: Filmlandschaften, Städte unter Stress und Migration (Kabul/Tehran 1979ff: Film Landscapes, Cities under Stress and Migration) that took place 2003 at the Volksbühne Berlin. She is co-editor of a book with the same title, published in 2006 by b_books, Berlin. 2007/08 she co-curated the film festival SPLICE IN and lecture program on gender and society in Afghanistan, its neighboring countries and Europe. SPLICE IN took place in Kassel, Berlin and Hamburg. The festival was continued in Kabul in May 2008 in cooperation with the artist-group CACA-Kabul, the state-run film organization Afghan Film and the organization Open Asia under the title SECOND TAKE. In 2009 her book stagings. Kabul, Film & Production of Representation got published in the series metroZones/media at b_books, Berlin.

Films/videos/video installations/photographies (selection): Urban settings and other kinds too (2002-09), stagings (2008), Passing the Rainbow (2007), Traversée de la Mangrove (2006), The Making of a Demonstration (2004), A country’s new dawn (2001), Die unsichtbare Dienstleistung (The invisible services, 2000), Kontaktfreudig, offen und gewandt im Umgang (The joy of communication, open with an elegant manner, 1999), England-Deutschland (1997), Shift (1996), Doch bin ich wirklich (Of course am I real, 1996).