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Spell Reel

Spell Reel

Filipa César / DEUZE, PT, FR, GW, 2017 / 96 min.

It surfaced in an extraordinary film collection: a practically decayed film which marks the birth of Guinean cinema. Artist and filmmaker Filipa César created a film that previously won accolades at the Berlinale, Art Basel and MoMa. In association with Sonic Acts Academy, followed by an interview with the filmmaker. Spell Reel is a Dutch premiere.

Spell reel

In 2011, an archive of film and audio material re-emerged in Bissau. On the verge of complete ruination, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonising vision of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader assassinated in 1973. In collaboration with the Guinean filmmakers Sana na N”Hada and Flora Gomes, and many allies, Filipa César imagines a journey where the fragile matter from the past operates as a visionary prism of shrapnel to look through. Digitised in Berlin, screened and live commented, the archive convokes debates, storytelling, and forecasts. From isolated villages in Guinea-Bissau to European capitals, the silent reels are now the place from where people search for antidotes for a world in crisis.

Filipa César

Born in Porto in 1975, now living and working in Berlin, Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the porous boundaries between the moving image and its reception, the fictional dimensions of the documentary and the economies, politics and poetics inherent to cinema praxis. Great part of César's experimental films have been focused on the spectres of resistance in Portugal”s geo-political past, questioning mechanisms of history production and proposing spaces for performing subjective knowledge. Since 2011, César has been researching the origins of cinema in Guinea-Bissau, its imaginaries and potencies, developing that research into the collective project Luta ca caba inda (The struggle is not yet over). She was a participant of the research projects Living Archive (2011–13) and Visionary Archive (2013–15) both organized by the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin. Selected exhibitions and screenings include São Paulo Biennial, Manifesta 8 (Cartagena), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Tensta konsthall (Spånga), Mumok (Vienna), Contour 8 Biennial (Mechelen and Gasworks, London), and festival screenings at Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Curtas Vila do Conde, Berlinale (Forum Expanded), Rotterdam Festival, Indie Lisboa, DocLisboa.

Sonic Acts Academy

Sonic Acts Academy is a new platform for speculation and reflection, focusing on critical examination of knowledge production in the field of art. Sonic Acts Academy takes place from 23 to 25 February 2018 at various locations in Amsterdam, including Dansmakers and Paradiso Noord – Tolhuistuin, with several pre-festival events at the EYE Filmmuseum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. More information and ticket



Filipa César

Production year




Original title

Spell Reel


96 min.







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