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This is a curated selection of innovative international video works assembled for MIFF and Melbourne On Screen by Abina Manning and the Video Data Bank (, which share a common regard for the political and social ‘spirit' of these interesting times.

The program begins with Throwing Stones (Dir. John Smith, 11min, 2004, UK), a wry, reflective work relating personal experiences to contemporary world events. Soothsayer (Dir. Bobby Abate, 13min, 2004, US) conjures up famous historical prophecies to form a visually stunning meditation on the forces that are driving us into a dark, paranoid and uncertain future. In How to Fix the World (Dir. Jacqueline Goss, 28min, 2005, US), psychologist A.R. Luria's research on the Islamic outskirts of the Soviet Union in the 1930s provides the basis for a humorous exploration of the difficulties of cross-cultural communication. Untitled Video on Lynne Stewart and Her Conviction, The Law and Poetry (Dir. Paul Chan, 17min, 2006, US) is a video portrait of Lynne Stewart, who was the first lawyer to be convicted of aiding terrorism in the United States. Finally, Papillon d'amour (Dir. Nicholas Provost, 4min, 2003, Belgium) subjects fragments from Kurosawa's Rashomon to a mirror effect, producing a hallucinatory scene.

Founded in 1976, the Video Data Bank collects and curates seminal works that describe the development of video as an art form originating in the late 1960s and continuing to the present. It is the leading organisation of its kind in the United States. For more information on the Video Data Bank, go to

Curator Abina Manning is guest of the festival and will introduce the session on Saturday 29 July, 1pm at ACMI.