The period for submitting films and videos to Shoah Film Collection is over, showing all the dilemma of “Shoah” as a topic in art, and motivating artists and filmmakers to deal with this topic.
I would be lying if I would tell the people how many submissions came in, in fact, there are no more than 15 since the call started on 27 January 2014.
I thank all the 15 submitters from the heart for submitting and giving Shoah a relevance, but at the same time, I am allowed to be critical and state that of most of them did not understand how to make the Shoah a topic in art for present and future generations.
The quantity wouldn’t be disappointing, at all, if the quality and substance of how the films transfer the essence of Shoah as a phenomenon, would compensate the lack of submissions, but unfortunately it is not like that.
As the initiator of Shoah Film Collection, I am to blame, because I was not able to explain properly the actual goal and concept of the project in order to interested artists and filmmakers. But any anonymous call in Internet is also not able to do so, rather workshops or courses at art schools and academies.
But this in only one side of the coin, the other side is, the currently active generations of artists and filmmakers, whether they are Jewish or not, grew up in Europe, USA or Israel in welfare and peace, and did not experience themselves what it means to be persecuted by a totalitarian system, i.e. in term of the Shoah, there are mostly no personal touching points they can identify with.
Their memory of the Holocaust is not based on personal experiences, this is manifesting itself in the films primarily in using existing footage (“found footage” in form of anonymous historical images or documentaries), and since the sources of the footage are limited, the use of always the same kind of images which are generally the Holocaust illustrating and documenting is not only causing, but also underlining a certain kind of stereotype of the view on the Holocaust.
I would not say, it would be completely ineligible using this historical footage in art, but not as exclusively as it is done.
And thinking of the goal of the project and the audience to whom the artworks are addressed to, continuously repeting the same stereotypes is neither causing any understanding for the Holocaust, nor touching people emotionally, and in this way, they will generate rather an aversion and the contrary of what it is actually intended, and this is such a pity.
The works included in Shoah Film Collection, show already exactly this problem in a certain way, and only some of the participating artists refer on personal emotional experiences and affection, but that’s Shoah Film Collection is looking for.
How can the artists be brought into the position of being personally emotionally affected and transfer this affection via the moving images to the audience?
This question needs to be answered in order to come closer to the aims of Shoah Film Collection.