Experimental Film Archive

Emmanuel Lefrant in conversation with Federico Rossin

Participants: max. 30
No prior experience or equipment necessary
Free of charge


info :

The event will follow the following pattern:
  • Presentation of Emmanuel Lefrant as a filmmaker and as director of Light Cone
  • Brief introduction to experimental cinema, history and perspectives of this type of filmmaking;
  • Presentation of Light Cone: distribution and diffusion of films, work with museum institutions, book publishing activities, description of the artist residency program "l'atelier 105", etc. ;
  • Presentation of his work as a filmmaker, evolution over time (the filmography sweeps through 20 years of film practices), cutting of sequences, sharing of film techniques, particularly around the issue of film development;
  • Open questions, exchange with the public.

The conference will be aimed at a broad audience, with a particular focus on young artists and the next generation of programmers who would like to learn about experimental film production and the management of a film archive, which should easily find an echo in Berlin, given its rich cultural scene.

Emmanuel Lefrant's meeting with the students will focus on experimental film, its history and the fruitful exchanges of this practice between France and Germany - two countries that represent particularly important production centres in Europe and the world in the field of avant-garde film. He will also review the different professions linked to the distribution and promotion of this type of work, through his experience of more than 15 years at the head of Light Cone. Finally, he will discuss his work as a filmmaker in relation to the program of his films that FRACTO is preparing for May 2022 as part of its festival.

Sat 28 May

11:00 - 13:00 / ACUD STUDIO

Emmanuel Lefrant

Emmanuel Lefrant lives and works in Paris where he makes films in a self-production context, exclusively in silver film. The films, whether abstract or landscape, aim to represent or reveal an invisible world, a nature that we do not see, through the secret forms of the emulsion. In addition to the films he makes, in 2000 he founded the Nominoë collective with three other filmmakers, with whom he has created performances that have been performed in many places, including the Centre Pompidou, the Serralvès Foundation (Porto) and the International Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR).

In parallel to his activity as a filmmaker, he has been directing the Light Cone cooperative, based in Paris, since 2007, and which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2022. Light Cone is a non-profit association whose objective is the distribution, the diffusion, the knowledge and the safeguard of the experimental cinema which it endeavours to ensure the promotion in France and in the world. The catalogue continues to grow and now includes about 6000 films made from 1900 to today by more than 800 artists and filmmakers from around the world. Within the framework of its missions, Light Cone is in charge of distributing the films which are entrusted to it in deposit in order to ensure the promotion of these works and of experimental cinema in general. Its first vocation is to allow different cultural structures such as associations, cinemas, museums, universities, galleries and festivals to show the works of its collection, if possible on their original support.


Since 2001 I’ve made ten films, and in not one do we see the human form. And yet, in these landscape films that I’ve been developing for just over a decade, the presence – or rather the absence – of the human is significant. Perhaps because man has, for centuries, reorganised and remade the landscape. The complex and lasting impact of human activity on the earth, well-documented in theories of the Anthropocene, has been central to my thinking over the last few years. What is the relationship between humans and landscape, against this backdrop of continual transformation? What will we leave behind, and what dystopic future landscapes must we prepare ourselves for? It’s this that I’ve been depicting in my work, from Parties visible et invisible d’un ensemble sous tension to Per una selva oscura: a world in ruins, a world in the process of falling apart, in a state of absolute disruption, but with the feeling of participating in a revolution, changing the course of History. In this sense, I wanted to depict a world on the brink, and to show the passage from one state to another.

The tangibility and fragility of the celluloid film strip are for me a way of engaging physically with the planetary upheavals that are playing out currently. Even though the loss of access to certain analogue resources has ultimately shifted my way of working, and even though I have harnessed certain “miracles” of digital technology, I have continued to experiment with the material of film at every stage of the filmmaking process. This has spanned the biochemical transformation associated with burying film or the application of chemical products directly onto the strip itself, to techniques of cross processing or reticulation, and always with 16mm film that I hand-develop at home. Using these techniques, I have been able to manipulate very literally the material, colour, texture and density of the image, revealing invisible patterns and achieving, via this abstraction, a heightened form of realism that no other optical apparatus would allow me to reveal.

Reflecting back on the abstract films at the beginning of my career, I realise that my films have always been concerned with interrogating materials. I’ve often written that they are associated with “representing or revealing an invisible world, a nature that we don’t see, through the secret processes of the film emulsion.” Even today, when I re-watch some of them, I’m struck by their evocative power, despite their indisputable abstract dimension. I perhaps didn’t know at the time the extent to which I was already exploring questions of perception. Vision, as Maurice Merleau-Ponty argues, is inseparable from touch. Working with tangible material and complex photochemical processes has opened a door to understanding the relationship between the material of film and modes of perception. This is a question I’d like to explore for many years to come.


Fri 27

Festival Opening

19.30 / ACUD KINO
Selection #1
In and Out Window

Film Performance
Gaelle Rouard

Sat 28

Experimental Film Archive

Occulto presents
Publishing Matters

Selection #2
Body Configurations

Selection #3

20:00 / ACUD KINO
Light Cone 40th Anniversary


22:00 / ACUD KINO
Emmanuel Lefrant