Centrul Astra Film


Astra Film Festival

Changa Revisited

Peter Biella, Leonard Kamerling,  USA 2016 60'

Cinematography: Peter Biella and Leonard Kamerling
Editing: Peter Biella, Daniel Chein, Leonard Kamerling
Producer: Peter Biella, Leonard Kamerling
Film Presentation:
Mixing contemporary footage with photos and sound-recordings from the 80s, the ethnographic documentary CHANGA REVISITED addresses the past-present dynamics within a Maasai community from Tanzania, formed around the current pater familias, Toreto di Koisenge. The everyday life of Toreto’s family, living out of herding livestock and subsistence agriculture, reflects, on a small scale, the impact that the larger socio-economic changes from the region have had on the preservation of their traditional way of life. Filmmakers Leonard Kamerling and Peter Biella have an approach akin to the participatory tradition; the close relationship they seem to have developed with the members of this community they’re revisiting after 30 years is a key factor in accounting for the latter talking openly in front of the camera about their concerns in regard to the widespread alcoholism among men, the increase of poverty and domestic violence, the dissolution of the Maasai solidarity, and about their worries related to the children’s limited access to education. An intimate and immersive family portrait, focusing on the texture of community ties and on conveying how a specific sense of rhythm of life is threatened by incertitude, which captures from a mature anthropological perspective how globalization reshapes topical worldviews.
Royal Anthropological Film Festival (2016)
Film's Website: www.changarevisited.org
Director's Bio-Filmography:
PETER BIELLA directs the Program in Visual Anthropology at the San Francisco State University. He has made films in the US, Egypt, Costa Rica, Peru, Romania and Haiti. Between 2008 and 2010 he supervised a series of seven short documentaries, shot in Tanzania with the purpose of educating urban and rural Maasai about the consequences of migration and its’ relationship to poverty and the spread of HIV. LEONARD KAMERLING is Curator of Film at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He has produced numerous award-winning films about Alaska Native cultures including UKSUUM CAUYAI: THE DRUMS OF WINTER (1989). Throughout his career he has been concerned with issues of cultural representation and how documentary film can credibly translate one culture to another.
Director's / Curator's Statement:
„Saying goodbye to the suburbs of California at fourteen years old, my life as an anthropological filmmaker began when my family moved to Cairo. There, I discovered my passion for anthropology and photography, and soon added the love of moving images and storytelling. My 1980 fieldwork with a Maasai family in Changa, Tanzania, combined anthropology with a mix of still photographs and simultaneously-recorded sound. Len Kamerling and I revisited this Maasai family thirty years later, adding motion and storytelling to the mix. Our co-editor, Daniel Chein, then helped us discover Changa Revisited somewhere in the thirty-year divide between audiorecordings, photographs and moving images.“ (Peter Biella) „The seeds of my career as an ethnographic filmmaker were planted decades ago when I lived in a small Yup’ik Eskimo village in Alaska. From this experience I learned that it is the quiet, ordinary, everyday routine that speaks most truthfully about a culture – the nuances between people who have known each other all their lives, the subtle shifts in emotional tone that even the changing weather can bring about. This is what moved me as a filmmaker. A teacher once told me, “The image on the film is an indelible record of the relationship between filmmaker and subject. When that relationship is based on trust, film has the potential to take the audience deeply into the inner world of the subject.” I took this philosophy to heart and in the early 1970s, developed an approach based on co-authorship and shared decision making with one’s subjects. This has remained the central tenet of my work. Working with Peter Biella and Daniel Chein on Changa Revisited has been a peak creative and intellectual experience for me. It has tested old beliefs and forged new ones and invited us to create a film that pushed us into uncharted territory. I amgrateful for their collaboration and friendship.“ (Leonard Kamerling)
World sales:
Sunday 23.10.2016 13:00, THALIA
Saturday 22.10.2016 12:00, AUDITORIUM
Wednesday 19.10.2016 19:00, GONG
Films in this section: