Sudabeh Mortezai is the winner of the Erste Bank's MoreVALUE Film Award, which she received for the docudrama Macondo at the 2014 Viennale. On the occasion of her one-month residency at Deutsches Haus at NYU, we co-present with Anthology Film Archives, Erste Bank, and the Austrian Cultural Forum a screening of Macondo (2014). Sudabeh Mortezai will be present to present and discuss her work.
Sudabeh Mortezai was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in 1968, to Iranian parents. She grew up in Tehran and in Vienna where she studied theatre, film and media science. Between 2002 and 2003 she studied film at the University of California in Los Angeles and then made a number of short films and documentaries. In 2007 she co-founded FreibeuterFilm. Macondo is her debut feature film.
Since 2011, each annual edition of the Viennale (Vienna International Film Festival) has featured the granting of the MoreVALUE Film Award to one or more Austrian filmmakers whose films are included within the festival. Designed to showcase the best of Austrian cinema, the Award was founded by Erste Bank, the Viennale’s main sponsor, and is awarded according to the findings of an independent jury. The Award brings a cash prize as well as a one-month residency as a visiting film scholar hosted and organized by the Deutsches Haus at NYU. The screenings are co-organized by the Deutsches Haus at NYU and the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. Anthology has presented the award-winning films in the past, and they continue the tradition this year with special screenings of both of the 2014 winners: Sudabeh Mortezai’s docudrama Macondo and Gerhard Treml & Leo Calice’s experimental landscape film Eden’s Edge.
The first fiction feature from documentary filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai, Macondo focuses on 11-year-old Chechen refugee Ramasan, who lives in the titular suburban neighborhood of Vienna with his widowed mother and two younger sisters. Though only a child, Ramasan finds himself pushed precipitously towards adulthood: even as he struggles with the loss of his father (who was killed in the Chechen wars) and his cultural identity in a strange new land, he is, within traditional Chechen society, now considered the man of the house. The arrival in Macondo of Isa, an old war buddy of his father’s, throws Ramasan’s uneasy position between childhood and maturity into relief: he must reconcile his desire for a father-figure with his loyalty towards the patriarch whom he hardly knew.
Macondo In Chechen and German with English subtitles, 2014, 98 min, digital. Friday, July 24, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
For more information on the screening of the second award-winning film, Gerhard Treml & Leo Calice’s experimental landscape film Eden’s Edge, view here.