Ciné-Dérive (C-D) is an independent production and distribution house that operates in a creative territory where the Middle East meets Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. C-D is committed to stories of boundless imagination, socio-political consciousness and meaningful innovation. It explores evocative ways to chronicle the memories and histories of migrants (refugees, exiles, immigrants) in both documentary and fiction.
Alexandra Handal founded Ciné-Dérive in order to create the necessary platform for cross-cultural alliances and trans-local infrastructures to realise film and new media projects that slip between the interstice of genres, medias, languages, disciplines and cultures.
Homebaking Design Laboratory is the division of C-D that focuses on matters that surface at the intersection of design, technology and content.
Alexandra Handal is a Berlin-based Palestinian artist and filmmaker, with ties in disparate parts of the world. Her personal history is that of a permanent exile turned nomad. She was raised in a polyglot household where French, English, Arabic, Kreyòl and Spanish were interchangeably spoken, reflecting her family’s migratory history. Handal spent her childhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the brutal dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier and her adolescence in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where her family subsequently moved, due to political instability. Her family’s intergenerational and transcontinental odyssey began in Bethlehem, Palestine. Over the course of three generations, political and economic turmoil and enduring conflicts have driven her grandparents to the West Indies and her parents to Latin America. Handal on the other hand, has found her way to continental Europe, by way of the USA and UK, where she received her education. Since 2004, despite the occupation’s restriction on movement, she works intermittently in Palestine.
Handal’s work dissolves disciplinary boundaries, establishing discursive links between the arts and other fields in pioneering ways. Her films, new media projects and prints expand the documentary genre by making use of the polarity between creativity and scholarly research, while maintaining a sensual, intuitive and poetic stance. Her departure points are the realities that exist outside official knowledge. She investigates personal memory as an archaeological site, where lived and inherited records of human experience are housed, drawing on this material to create new notions of collectivity beyond the nation-state. Handal explores the migrant imagination (refugees, exiles, immigrants) and develops cartographic structures and multi-layered narratives that challenge dominant perceptions of place. Her work reflects upon the role of art in our society, especially in circumstances of war, occupation, conflict and colonisation. Through a versatile visual language, she makes visible excluded, erased, neglected, forgotten and suppressed histories.
Handal’s widely acclaimed interactive web documentary art, Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC) won the Lumen People’s Choice Gold Award, UK (2014), the Second Prize for the Freedom Flowers Foundation Award, Switzerland (2015) and was Shortlisted for the Artraker Award, UK, (2013). It was an Official Selection of IDFA DocLab, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (2013) and UXdoc, Montreal International Documentary Festival, Canada (2014). MIT Open Documentary Lab featured it in their research platform, which is a database where one can ‘find people who are pioneering new storytelling’. Other venues DHPC has been screened and/or exhibited: Modern Art Oxford, UK (2015), Przemiany Interdisciplinary Festival, Warsaw, Poland (2014), Lumen 100 Online Gallery, UK (2014), and Art of Peace, a/political space, London, UK (2014). Handal’s experimental short, From the Bed & Breakfast Notebooks (2009) was selected for New Contemporaries 2009, an internationally juried exhibition that showcases emerging artists in the UK. The exhibition took place at Cornerhouse, Manchester (2009) and A Foundation, London (2009). Studio International Magazine (2009) described the film as a 'quietly powerful political engagement' and she was listed among the 'few names to watch' in the Guardian (2009).
For more information on Alexandra Handal’s work, see: www.alexandrahandal.org
FILMOGRAPHY (Films & New Media Projects)
Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC)
Interactive web documentary art, November 2013/International Premiere, Project date/2007-ongoing
Tête d’un Homme (Portrait of a Man)
Short Film, Colour, HD, Sound, 2013, 3min 42 sec, 2013
On a Winter’s Night
Short Film, Colour, HD, Sound, 7min 50sec, 2013
From the Bed & Breakfast Notebooks
Experimental Short, B&W, Sound, 13min 46sec, 2008/9