Cinema and truth in Sarah Vanagt’s work

In response to the invitation from the International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, Zinebi’s 57th edition, Bulegoa zenbaki barik, office for art and knowledge proposes a special session on Cinema and historic truth with the Belgian director Sarah Vanagt (1976) and a seminar where we can look in-depth at her way of making and understanding cinema. The programme for this session is made up of eight short films that show the journey of this filmmaker, who is little-known amongst us, over a period of twelve years (2003-2015). We will see how what, at first, seems like an interest in documenting unofficial history is really a desire to detect how the film medium constructs a reality that cannot be conveyed by other means.

In her first film, Little Figures (2003), made one year after she finished her studies at film school, Vanagt sets out to reveal the controversies hidden behind the search for an historical truth when it is processed by means of documentary film. Under the apparent form of a documentary, children’s voices play an important role in her films. We see how they play at questioning history, returning an image to adults that is even more raw and accurate than what is learnt through books or the media.