Program AFFR 2018

We are proud to present to you the tenth edition of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam. Once again our editors — assisted by a team of critical viewers — have scouted and selected a range of films about the city and architecture, and gathered them into an exciting programme. It includes portraits of well-known or lesser-known designers, activist essays about pressing problems, hilarious reflections on bygone times, and tranquil scenes of great beauty.  ...

Read more

Opening Night

On Wednesday 10 October, AFFR kicks off its tenth edition with the European premiere of The Experimental City (Chad Freidrichs, 2017), a stunning documentary about The Minnesota Experimental City. A fascinating journey through time in search of the city of the future. Filled with attention-grabbing science fiction from the 1960s, this film seems more relevant than ever. And perfectly in...

Read more

Ticket sales

All information about tickets, Festival Pass and 'Architectenweb Best of AFFR'

Read more

Building Happiness

The theme of AFFR 2018 is ‘Building Happiness’. We live in a period of economic boom. Construction, development and speculation are in full swing again, and resounding growth rates are the norm. The tourist industry is working at full capacity, bringing millions of tourists to cities with attractive architecture. Yet there is growing recognition that we cannot separate our concept...

Read more

Information

The tenth AFFR takes place from 10 to 14 October 2018. After the opening film, the festival moves to LanterenVenster cinema. This year the AFFR will again welcome dozens of international filmmakers and an expected 7500 fans of films, city and architecture from all over the world. 

Read more

Film – City – Architecture

AFFR explores the relationship between film, cities and architecture by programming and screening architecture films and by organizing introductions and debates.

Read more

AFFR History

The Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) was established in 2000, and the foundation organized its festival the same year as the first architecture film festival in the world. Festivals also took place again in 2001 and 2003. In 2007 AFFR made a fresh start after a few years of silence. In 2009 the event expanded significantly in terms of visitor numbers and programming.

Read more

Organisation

The people behind the festival

Read more

Press

Press information

Read more

Welcome to the tenth edition of AFFR!

The tenth edition of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam! Who would have thought that in just two decades, a modest film festival would grow to be one of the biggest reference points in the world of film, city and architecture? The AFFR…
Read more
to festival

‘Filming is the perfect excuse to get into places and meet people’

Director Isaac Niemand about his film Cholet, the work of Freddy Mamani

‘Filming is the perfect excuse to get into places and meet people’

On the opening night AFFR will screen Cholet, by the Brazilian documentary filmmaker Isaac Niemand. This film portrays Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani and his work. Freddy Mamani is very successful in his home town El Alto. What was once considered a colourless, monotonous city is rapidly changing into one with extravagant streetscapes. Through his exuberant colour painting combined with ceiling decorations, ornaments and chandeliers, Mamani’s style is best described as psychedelic baroque. The film raises questions about the work of Mamani. Is it real architecture? Or is it mere decoration, albeit excellently executed? To get some answers, and his perspective on Mamani’s work, AFFR reached out to director Isaac Niemand.

By Jeroen Slot

How did you learn about the work of Freddy Mamani?
I first saw some photographs on the net. Months later I was part of the first edition of LAD, the Latin American Design Fest in Lima, where Freddy presented his work. He got a standing ovation. This was when I thought it would be great to know more about him, and share it.

Why did you want to make a documentary about Freddy Mamani’s work?
He was all over the news — Aljazeera, BBC, CNN, all sorts of sites and magazines, but all of them were just focusing on the kitsch and bizarre perspective. It was superfluous. None of them were trying to explain what was behind the work. And well, filming is the perfect excuse to get into places and meet people, and eventually a way to sublimate life. I spent a total of one and a half months filming in El Alto.

What did you experience when you first stepped into a Freddy Mamani building?
I remember I had a synesthetic experience. I was wrapped in a crazy combination of colours and shapes that went beyond architecture. A mix of performance and art installation, a full set of Pantone all over the walls. It quickly triggered flashbacks from my teenager experience with LSD. It’s quite exceptional, considering El Alto is basically a colourless city.

In the film Mamani discusses the imitations of his work. Could you tell the difference between an imitation and the real thing?
Seeing the imitations is like seeing a Chinese counterfeit gadget. They look alike from far, but once you are close you see the difference. Basically, Freddy takes more care with the details. Also, he takes all the historic and mythological Aymaran background more seriously. It seems like the imitations are not even aware of the existence of Tiwanaku.

In the film, one of the interviewees says that Mamani’s work is more decorative than architectural. Do you agree?
I don’t see architecture and decoration as two separate things. But it’s true that Mamani specially emphasizes covering the structure, and not so much the structure itself.

But there’s one important aspect: the Cholets are extremely functional — definitely more functional and socially oriented than most contemporary architecture. Therefore Cholet cannot be just decorative and has to be architecture too. Although, to orthodox academic eyes, Cholet looks more like a birthday cake.

In the film, Juan Carlos Calderon notes that European audiences often perceive Latin American architecture as exotic. Aren’t you afraid this is going to happen with your film?
Undoubtedly, Mamani’s work is going to be perceived as exotic. And this has to do with Europe’s ethnocentric conception of the world. You need to understand the folkloric side and social structure of Amerindians. Making a Western interpretation is just irrelevant.

Was that the reason you emphasized the socio-political context of Mamani’s work?
Without that social-political context, there simply wouldn’t be a Freddy Mamani at all. There wouldn’t be wealthy Aymarans to pay for his work, and not even any need to have such big buildings. Freddy is a product of a complex historical context. Understanding this helps to better understand and appreciate where he stands now.

Are there any other misconceptions about his work?
There are many views, just like in other art forms, which doesn’t mean that they are misconceptions, I would rather say there’s a lack of information to provide a better perspective. I hope that this film may help to dispel any misconceptions.

How does the film relate to the theme ‘City for Sale’? How do you see it?
I believe El Alto is for sale, no doubt. It is growing faster than any other city in the world. It will not stop any time soon, since La Paz cannot grow further. Most importantly, I think that El Altiplano, the plateau on which the city is located, is not meant for mankind. The whole thing looks like an accident that went too far. And yet, they are making it happen.

Tickets + info

Film: Cholet, the work of Freddy Mamani (2017), world premiere
Director: Isaac Niemand
Date: Wednesday 4 October
Start film: 20h30
Venue: Theater Rotterdam (Schouwburg)
Tickets: Buy your tickets (€ 12,50) for Cholet, the work of Freddy Mamani + AFFR-Party on Wednesday 4 October online via the website of Theater Rotterdam.

BUY TICKETS

film • city • architecture 10 - 14 Oct. 2018
Yes, I accept cookies

Yes, I accept cookies AFFR uses cookies and similar technologies (cookies) among other things to provide you with an optimal user experience. We can also record and analyze the behavior of visitors and thereby improve our website.

Third party cookies also enable you to share information via social media such as Twitter and Facebook. More information about this can be found in our cookie statement.