Amman-based artist Ala Younis joins selection team of Forum Expanded at Berlinale

After 16 editions as head of Forum Expanded, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus will pass the mantle onto new hands in September -- they will include Ulrich Ziemons, who has been on the selection team of Forum Expanded since 2012, and artist and curator Ala Younis.
Amman-based artist Ala Younis joins selection team of Forum Expanded at Berlinale

The section Forum Expanded began in 2006 as an extension of the Berlinale Forum, in order to respond to changes in the relationship between film and the fine arts: Film was extended not only into exhibition spaces, but also onto the theatre or concert stage where applicable, and the cinema remained a central but modifiable location for short film programmes or selected feature-length films. In addition to the main location Arsenal, Forum Expanded has also found a permanent home at silent green Kulturquartier since 2019.

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus founded the Berlinale section in 2006 together with Anselm Franke — then lead curator at the KW - Institute for Contemporary Art, and today the director of Fine Arts and Film at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. As both have announced they will step down in September, new faces have been announced. As the co-director of Arsenal - Institut für Film und Videokunst, which is responsible for Forum and Forum Expanded as a component of the Berlinale, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus will remain connected with the work of the new team.

While Ulrich Ziemons, who has been on the selection team of Forum Expanded since 2012, is a welcomed and familiar face to all at the Berlinale, Kuwaiti-born, Amman-based artist Ala Younis brings with her new possibilities.

Younis is an artist with curatorial, film and publishing projects. Younis’s projects look into the archive’s play on predilections and how its lacunas and mishaps manipulate the imagination. Since 2012, Younis has collaborated with Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art on researching, presenting and publishing on film archives and collections in Berlin, Cairo, Amman and Dresden. She collaborated with projects and symposiums on film archives in Guinea Bissau, Algiers, Beirut, Baghdad and other places. Younis's work has been shown and published internationally. She has been a member of the advisory board of Forum Expanded since 2013, and co-curated the exhibition for the Archival Assembly #1 in 2021. She is a member of the Akademie der Künste der Welt (Cologne), and co-founder of Kayfa ta, an independent publishing initiative.

The new team will also see Maha Maamoun stay on as part of the selection committee, where she will be joined by two new members: curator Karina Griffith, and Shai Heredia, founding director of the Experimenta in Bangalore, India.

“While our primary concern in the first few years was the expansion of the cinematic space, in recent years the relationship between film and processes of social change, or between film and crises and new world orders, has moved into the foreground,” commented Schulte Strathaus, looking back. “We want to thank the Berlinale leadership, past and present, for always having given this form-changing project the faithful support it needed to flourish. Our thanks also goes out to the over 600 artists and filmmakers who have participated in Forum Expanded since its inception.”

“We are very thankful and excited about the opportunity to continue the work of Forum Expanded, together with our fellow curators and the festival team,” added the new heads Younis and Ziemons. “We thank Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and Anselm Franke for the vision and care with which they founded and fostered this very special place within the Berlinale. Now, we look forward to preparing the 2022 edition of the programme, and to the exchange and collaboration with artists, filmmakers, partners and audiences.”

The 72nd Berlinale International Film Festival is scheduled to take place from February 10-20, 2022.

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