Film Screening: "Flowers of Freedom"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
6:30 pm
Harriman Institute Atrium (420 West 118th Street, 12th Floor)

Please join us for a screening of the documentary film Flowers of Freedom, set in Kyrgyzstan, about a group of women activists who organized after the Kumtor truck Barskoon cyanide spill in 1998. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with director Mirjam Leuze, a cultural anthropologist, editor Sandra Brandl, and former MP of Kyrgyzstan Erkingül Imankodjoeva, the main protagonist of the film.

Flowers of Freedom is a remarkable portrait of a rural social movement for environmental justice in revolutionary Kyrgyzstan.  Filmed over the course of four years, the documentary provides an intimate and subtle portrait of a group of women who struggle, against the odds, to have their claims heard by those in power. The film provides an insight into the slow, relentless work of seeking justice in contemporary Kyrgyzstan and the immense social and environmental legacies of the country’s reliance upon gold mining.  But it is also a story of friendship, solidarity and courage—one that provides a refreshingly nuanced portrayal of gender relations and village activism at a time of political upheaval. 
 
Cut to include the film-makers' voice and presence, it unobtrusively lays bare the film-makers relationships and conditions of film production. Flowers of Freedom thus offers an exemplary point of departure for discussing the increasingly compelling need to reformulate power dynamics in media representation, as well as issues of authority in scholarly and journalistic practice.  
 
Watch the trailer here.
 
Mirjam Leuze works as a filmmaker and facilitator for participatory video and holds a Masters in Cultural Anthropology and Theatre, Film and Television Studies from the University of Cologne/Germany. During a one year scholarship, she conducted field research in rural Kyrgyzstan on transforming medical systems after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. In 2010 she founded the film production company TOPOS to independently produce her first feature length documentary, Flowers of Freedom, which she shot during four years in Kyrgyzstan. The film premiered at the 64. Berlin International Film Festival 2014 and was released in cinemas throughout Germany in March 2015. Her second feature length documentary The Whale and The Raven is situated at the Northwest Coast of Canada, focusing on humans, whales and ravens and their interconnections.