Time: 11 December 2023, 17h15-20h
Location: De Cinema, Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4, 2000 Antwerp
Tickets: De Cinema website

Two films about the fairground, in front and behind the scenes, in collaboration with the Science at the Fair team at the University of Antwerp.

Sinksenfoor, “smoutebollen” (Dutch doughnuts), bumper cars and many dazzling attractions: That's how we know the fairground. But what does that world look like behind the scenes? The films RIDING and Quartier Nomade give an insight into the daily life and traditions of travelling fairground families. For months, the directors of these films followed their trail in Belgium and Austria. Close ties, pride, and passion for the craft are carried over from one generation to the next.

The film screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, moderated by Professor Nele Wynants (University of Antwerp).

Synopsis RIDING (Veronika Barnaš, 2020)

Documentary, 30', DCP, colour, Ger./En. subtitles

Two travelling showpeople families from Upper Austria, setting up and operating the temporary spectacle that is the fair. The film follows these families who have been on the road for generations, working to create a brief moment of levity, of amusement for the visitors. RIDING provides insight into the mechanisms of the fairground, into those of the carousels and their mechanical aesthetics, as well as into travelling showpeople's lives in front and behind the scenes. Its recurring motif is motion – of the showpeople, of their rides, and also of the visitors.

Synopsis Quartier Nomade (Alexandra Rice, 2018)

Documentary, 105', colour, EN, NL, FR subtitles

From Flanders to Wallonia, “the nomadic quarter” crosses Belgium in an annual tour that has been going on for centuries. Its inhabitants, the fairgrounds, are, however, well-established in modernity. 

Through the banality of their daily life and their life course, this film questions the unconscious tradition that runs through them. What intangible residues does it contain? Could it be that of our traditions, or of us … Within the community to which we subconsciously belong. This immersive film paints a portrait of an engaging community which is insidiously endangered in the face of city regulations and the discrediting of popular culture.

Veronika Barnaš is an independent artist and researcher based in Vienna. She is pursuing her artistic-scientific PhD in Cultural Sciences at the University of Art and Design Linz, where she also worked as a university assistant and lecturer. Her research focuses on the mobile practice of travelling showpeople of Austria, using artistic and ethnographic methods. She is currently an IFK_Junior Fellow/ Abroad in Vienna. You can find more about her work on her website: www.veronikabarnas.net.

Alexandra Rice studied theatre at the Conservatory of Brussels and attended film school at CEGEP Rosemont in Montreal. She has worked as an actress and director, including in theatre for young audiences. Her heterogeneous career sharpens her interest in different disciplines, allowing her to explore theatre, new technologies and performances as well as to realize an animation series on the theme of disability. Quartier Nomade is her first feature-length documentary.