VSW Salon Series October 28: A Collective Image: Portable Channel & The Palestine Film Unit
October 28th, 7 pm
This program features archival video from Portable Channel (USA) and the Palestine Film Unit (Palestine), two collectively organized activist groups that used film and video to document, discuss and distribute information that was not accurately or adequately represented in mainstream media.
*PROOF OF VACCINATION REQUIRED FOR ENTRY. Face Masks must be worn by all participants.
Formed in Jordan in 1968 by Mustafa Abu Ali, Hani Jawharieh and Sulafa Jadalah, the Palestine Film Unit became the film-wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization, producing militant documentaries for some fourteen years. Shooting on 16mm film cameras, the members of the PFU collected documentation from below, on battlefields and in refugee camps, forging an image of Palestine the world had yet to see. Theirs was a self-representation born of necessity, developed for and through the struggle for Palestine’s liberation. Editing from footage gathered collectively, they released films in response to the developments of the revolution, producing a cinematic language in conversation with anti-imperialist struggles from Cuba to Vietnam.They Do Not Exist (1974) – 25 minsShooting under extraordinary conditions, Mustafa Abu Ali covers conditions in Lebanon’s refugee camps, the effects of Israeli bombardments, and the lives of guerrillas in training camps. They Do Not Exist is a stylistically unique work which explodes at the intersection between the political and the aesthetic.
Children Nevertheless (1980) – 22 minsShot in Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp in “The International Year of the Child,” Children Nevertheless juxtaposes the principles of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child with the reality orphaned Palestinian children. The orphanage which provides the context for much of the film was founded by the General Union of Palestinian Women, of which director Khadijah Habashneh was a founding member.
Portable Channel was a Rochester, NY non-profit (1971–1987) founded by documentary filmmaker and activist Bonnie Sherr Klein. Portable Channel facilitated community access to video equipment, provided training, and produced programs with an emphasis on community activism and documentary work. Their mission was to develop television into a medium for social dialog and artistic expression, with production by and for people within a community. Under Klein’s leadership (1971- 1975) Portable Channel developed a relationship with the public television station WXXI-TV, who gave the group a monthly slot that aired their program HOMEMADE TV. Portable Channel’s legacy to document citizens’ perspectives on race, policing, imprisonment, the environment, women and gender, independent news media, and the presentation of experimental video art is uniquely in dialog with social and political concerns now, nearly 50 years later. VSW owns the PC archives and has digitized 200 of the earliest videotapes in the collection.
- Rochester's Portable Channel Video Collective
This is the fourth program in the Framing Struggle series. Tracing image production strategies developed within and alongside social movements here and elsewhere, this four part film series sets out to produce a new discursive space for reading movies as expressions of solidarity. Curated by Casey Asprooth Jackson