By Audio Pervert - 8/14/2021

The Norient Film Festival starts where the mainstream begins to fade out. In it's 10th year now, Norient Film Festival (NFF) has curated a rich and diverse spectrum of indie films, made by emerging film-makers and artists from Lebanon, Mali, India, West Indies, Indonesia, Turkey, Portugal, Iran, Ghana and Argentina to name a few. NFF is an embodiment of various energies - the esoteric, rebellious, thought-provoking and the investigative. A loaded intersection, made of music, resistance, politics, biographies and many stories about divergent 'proto and sub-cultures' around the world. The Norient press note reads as "the motto of this edition is shaped by the intermediate tones that tend to occur when we explore the world through music, sound, and noise. Featuring: Baltimore Club, Fado, Rebetiko, Raga, Rap, Punk, Shepherd Calls, profound ballads and more..." We spoke to Thomas Burkhalter, founder and editor-in-chief of Norient, about NFF, it's objectives and the media which represents a "global niche".

NFF's program is divergent and distinct at the same time. The curation (by an international panel) promotes inclusivity, rather than the prevailing culture of exclusivity visible in the big film festivals. The medium embodies the narratives and voices instead of the propaganda.  As Thomas explains in a nutshell,  "a platform for 'others’ - the vision is to broaden and resist the domination of a few big institutions. I feel Norient could become the outlet of such voices and artists...". Panoptic by Rana Eid (Lebanon) is a journey into the the darker enclaves and undergbelly of Beirut, with shocking narratives within. Osa Ebrahim by Kamran Heidari (Iran) is a biopic about a veteran Qashqai musician performing at weddings across the country. Beautiful Life by Monofee (Taiwan) is silent cinema, weaving a story of hope, conflict and future uncertainty unleashed by the pandemic. Welcome To Wherever You Are by Roy Dipankar (India) is a 'lockdown film' depicting the film-maker and his friends connecting online, coping with distance and restrictions of movement. Silêncio : Voices Of Lisbon by Judith Kalmár, Céline Coste and Marta Miranda (Portugal) is a story about Fado singers and songs and the continuous struggle to keep the art and tradition alive inside a rapidly industrialized neoliberal society. Making Waves by former Hollywood sound engineer Midge Costin illustrates the subliminal power of sound in cinema, using well-known movies as examples. Check the complete program here and several articles about the films and directors here.

"Norient is a community of practice and knowledge between art and science. It reflects and discusses global niche cultures and the challenges posed by Euro–American canons and established currents of thought. We understand music, sounds, and noise as 'seismographs of the world' - of today and tomorrow which provides fresh insight into the processes of change of societies, in a new, multi-layered future world..." explains Thomas, about Norient as an institution and a laboratory for new directions in the making. We are told that Norient is also commissioning new works. The NFF roster of films represents a balance between the potent and the pertinent, especially in our zeitgeist defined by uncertainty, fear and multiple crisis's. "Keep experimenting with formats... we have to keep redefining directions and work on multiple perspectives and mediums...  at Norient, we are creating spaces which are inclusive and encompass art, music, academia, film and journalism..." states Thomas, encapsulating the ethos of Norient. Check out the films, artist interviews and future updates here.  We are looking forward to NFF 2022 already!

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