British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies
7th Annual Conference 2019
Intersecting Identities: Race, Sex, Nation
25 to 27 April 2019, University of Birmingham, UK
stuart-moore-kayla-parker-father-land-exhibition-stillPanel: Intersectionality in the Essay Film: Intersecting Identities in the Polysemic Memoir (BAFTSS Essay Film Special Interest Group) Panel chair: Dr Kayla Parker
This panel concerns intersectionality within essay film practices. Being transgressive both structurally and conceptually (Alter, 1996, 171), the polysemic form of the essay film enables the filmmakers to rupture the dominant discourses of institutional histories and to give voice to marginalised subjectivities. Blurring the traditional boundaries between documentary and fiction, the self-reflective and self-reflexive hybridity of the essay film enables interlocking identities, memories and experiences of individuals to assert themselves and be heard against the discourses of power.

Stuart Moore
Buffering: processing intersectionality in a divided city

This presentation uses an intersectional lens to explore the ‘buffering’ at play within the production of the essay film, Father-land (2018), supported through an artist residency hosted by Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre. Father-land is a collaborative practice research project filmed in and around the Buffer Zone in Nicosia, the only divided capital city in Europe. Political and social histories, the legacies of colonialism, occupation, and the Cold War, resonate culturally and biographically for the film-makers, the author, Stuart Moore, and artist filmmaker, Kayla Parker. Both had childhood links with Cyprus through fathers stationed there with the Royal Air Force before the island’s division in 1974, when the United Nations established a demilitarized buffer zone across Cyprus.

A ‘buffer’ is a defensive mechanism that protects from harm or damage, it preserves stability and equilibrium. A camera’s buffer stores data temporarily before writing it with to the memory card. Netflix may buffer if the stream of video and audio cannot flow unhindered from the server to appear coherently on screen.

Father-land was made over two years and actively engaged with different registers of memory: childhood, (post)colonial archive, intra-production, among others. A methodology evolved where the narration was intentionally created apart from the images, separated from the original filming (which was left on disk back in the UK) but recorded in the locus of its recollections. This reflective buffering freed the film to develop away from the documentary tendency to polemic.

keywords: Buffer Zone, Cyprus, essay film

Kayla Parker
Thinking Space
: Remembering Through Father-land
The demilitarised zone in Cyprus is peppered with signs forbidding photography. In the city, the zone is abandoned and derelict. The people have to work around the zone, but we try to rise above it. Our longing gaze sees the beauty of the distant mountains, the sky and the birds. Our memories of our militarised childhoods reach out to the zone - close, but always out of reach.

The presentation considers the multi-layered narratives of people and place that intersect in the collaborative essay film, Father-land (2018), mapping the interplay between the spaces viewed on the screen and the diverse temporalities of the film-makers’ spoken memories of childhood and their recent experiences as temporary residents of Nicosia.

In Father-land, two unseen narrators, one male and one female, speak of absence and presence, home and displacement against a backdrop of views of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. These memories ‘spoken in place’ are entanglements caught between the multi-layered facets of political and social histories, the legacies of colonialism, occupation, and the Cold War. The narrative gaps allow the audience thinking space and are redolent of the ruptured temporalities of the abandoned centre of the old city, lost in time as life goes on to the north and south of the Buffer Zone. The film-makers’ voices drift outwards across the landscape as the call to prayer permeates the city’s consciousness. Through the essay film, we bring together our past and present, inviting the audience to share our exploration of memory and place.

keywords: Cyprus, memory, narrative