The film artists
Meriem Bennani (Rabat, Morocco, 1988) won the prize in 2019 with her slightly disruptive films and installations. In a playful way she knows how to translate contemporary topics – and taboos – in the field of gender, identity and migration into films in which 3D animations give the world a surrealistic touch. She challenges traditional forms of film and documentary and discusses sensitive topics such as hijabs, neocolonialism and refugees. Bennani's world is populated by a motley cast of talking crocodiles, lizards, donkeys and other characters. Her work is a representation of North African culture, challenging her to rethink assumptions and viewing habits. In room-filling installations, her films are projected onto all kinds of surfaces and objects by means of video mapping. In this way she immerses visitors in a brightly coloured, overwhelming stream of image and sound.
In 2020 the Eye Art & Film Prize went to Kahlil Joseph (Seattle, USA, 1981), whose work crosses the boundaries between cinema, visual arts, pop music and cultural criticism. He became known for his groundbreaking music videos for musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, FKA twigs and Beyoncé. He has since expanded his scope to include large-scale video installations, exploring and celebrating the black culture of the United States. With his work he criticizes stereotypes and unravels the power structures of the dominant media. In doing so, he avoids clichés and gives a stage to images that are not often seen. He delivers his political commentary with a refined visual style, creating an atmospheric mix of fiction and reality, sound and image.
The most recent winner (2021) is Karrabing Film Collective , which is made up of an aboriginal group of Australia's Northern Territories. They make films together to tell stories about their existence, in which they have to deal with the devastating consequences of colonialism on a daily basis: social inequality, poverty, cultural loss and environmental pollution. Yet despair is not central: the works express a lot of humor, lightness and spontaneity. In their films they give a new perspective on indigenous life from within: they are not the inferior other from colonial media, but neither are they romantic folk or powerless victims. The collective uses film to restore and strengthen the connection between each other, their country and their ancestors – thus keeping their culture alive. They work without hierarchy, scripts, or scripts.