about brandfilme.org

"Due to the numbers involved, the available budget, the film is political."
Marguerite Duras approx. 1969 in the Film "Nouvelle Vague and Feminismus" by Callisto Mc Nulty, 2019
brandfilme.org was founded as a production label for artistic and freely financed films and videos simultaneously with the release of the film trilogy BRAND by me, Susanne Fasbender. In varying collaboration with other authors, artists or activists, but also with people who are interested in the films because of their own activities and who watch and distribute them themselves, my next documentary essayistic works on issues of nature destruction are developed.
In the coming works I will further develop and culminate the contrast between thorough research and in-depth interviews with theorists and practitioners and an artistic, radically subjective visual and tonal language. On the one hand, there is the immediate artistic expression in image, movement and sound, on the other hand, I strive for a solid counter-draft to a perception of reality concentrated on a few terms of complicated interrelationships, which, e.g. related to the environment, integrate themselves into the large consensus of "sustainable development" without questioning the comprehensive reality behind it.
How this combination will become apparent in the course of its development: At the center of the next feature film is the Green (New) Deal, related to environmental history and to the way to get there. The relationship between the Green Deal, nature and the destruction of nature will be investigated in depth.
A closer look is needed at the financing issue, as it is not only a question of money as a resource, but rather a question of the social and economic framework as a whole, to which film funding, from script, production and post-production to distribution, is linked.
"Film is an investment-intensive economic asset. This is part of its reality, or more precisely: of the reality before the cinema, which certainly influences its images, its pictorial reality, be it by the plea or intervention of the investors, be it by the self-inflicted prophylaxis of the filmmaker, or be it by his economic (and thus cinematographic) sidelining. Even the liberation of underground cinema, the co-operatives of independent filmmakers from the investors of big capital, confirms the constant industrial production conditions of film".
Peter W. Jansen, The Picture from the Rear of the Moon, Akzente 15. Jg, 1968

Bilder Versenken 1998/2006 (Sink Images) ©susannefasbender

Video art as a response to the power of the media apparatus as well as videos or films as a political statement have developed since the video camera appeared in the 1960s. Video editing has become even more affordable due to later digitalization, and the publishing of films on the Internet enables new forms of distribution.
Beyond its practical use, money in film is attributed a certain quality characteristic that refers less to the aesthetics of the film and more to a social power relationship. Filmmaking without a budget by state film funding involves a different character in the social and aesthetic, because there is no social power to be be reproduced. This leads to an effect in internal and external relations, also because personal ties to power conditions are often underestimated. But this is the only way for me to work independently and integrate work into my life, as I am used to as an artist. The financial has an effect on the social: there is an approach to understand everyone involved in the film as an active participant within a complete work of art or of film, who gives me a certain authorship after having dealt with the whole project and the way I work. That is the understanding I would like to develop and improve. I think the chances that lie therein can be discovered even further. That is also how the support call under contact on this site should be understood: To pursue an approach of cooperation on a participating level also in the financial support of brandfilme.org. For the time being, this method of funding is set up that way. We will see how far it develops.


"I think that this administering, conservative and profit-oriented thinking is basically destroying all areas of life. Surely there are moments when one can fit into existing orders without loss, but there are also moments when it is necessary to clearly reject it. It is essential to maintain this freedom. But if it is given up, then you shouldn't make films, for then you basically have nothing to say".
Ulrike Ottinger, workshop talk in Filmbulletin 4/96

about the filmtrilogy BRAND(FIRE) / Statement by Susanne Fasbender

„If intelligent capitalism recognizes all this, we may be sure that it is not in order to prepare for its own suicide. Rather, it is in order to prepare itself to fight on new fronts, with new weapons and new economic goals.“
André Gorz, Ecology as Politics, 1980. First published as Écologie et Politique, 1975


It took me several years to complete the trilogy. It wouldn‘t be enough for me to document the social and ecological destruction and struggles in the Coal Country Rhineland without understanding the underlying relationships, as well as conveying them in the film.
The potential of following up on the relationships between people’s lives, land grabbing, resource extraction and the fossil power industry in this area, as well as their reciprocal impacts, was evident from my first visit, after first driving through the roads of this land. The power of a corporation is palpable here, like smoky air. In the area of the gigantic power stations that surmount everything around them as well as on the edges of the mines and in the villages. The decade-long, domineering seizure of land has deeply marked the character of the region. Everything appears violated or remains in tragic expectation. The coming destruction of what lies restfully is equally omnipresent in the still inhabited villages. The already uninhabited villages have been abandoned by people, while birds accompany the wild growth in gardens and parks with their song. The count-less, ancient high trees that dress the old localities will be removed first of all when demolition starts.
For me, in the Rhenish Lignite Area the interlocking issue complex of the ecological crisis focalises - visibly and invisibly. Even though the word ‘crisis’ may appear too benign for many in the face of worldwide, catastrophic floods, tsunamis and droughts.
How is the question on property – of land and resources, phrased in this extensive, ‘excavated’ country where, for hundreds of years, a distinct cultural landscape developed on the basis of the highly fertile loess soils? What do the inhabitants say?
What does ‘utilising nature’ mean? What’s behind the call for climate justice? Why don’t the climate agreements achieve the demanded reductions? Why does fossil fuel energy exploration expand? How is resistance organised and what does the struggle between corporation, the state and forest and mine occupiers express?
If I choose to comprehend the term crisis as an ‘era constituting the zenith and turning point of a dangerous development’ (Duden, source: Wikipedia), the term does come close to ecological destruction. As long as competition and profit mongering are the driving impetus in the production of our goods, ecological destruction will increase proportionally to industrial growth. Then we’ve got a problem when we want to produce less, extract less lignite than planned, or to even develop a fundamentally different under-standing of metabolisms in the organic and anorganic spheres, between humans, fauna, flora, rock, metals..., as an understanding not dictated by capitalism.
The ecologically inevitable turning point, marked by the term ‘crisis’, would lie just where the foundation pillars of capitalism are moored. Economists realised this early on; a realisation which was enshrined in core texts that can be counted among the literature on political ecology, from the 1940’s onwards.
„The Great Transformation“ by Karl Polanyi 1944, „The Social Costs of Private Enterprise" by Karl William Kapp 1950, "The Closing Circle" by Barry Commoner 1971, are just a few of the many writings on the described inevitable destruction of the environment by competition and growth economy, that were already released before the MIT-report “The Limits To Growth” by Dennis L. Meadows, published in 1972 by the Club of Rome.
To make a contribution in this respect was my concern with the film trilogy BRAND. The numerous screenings at home and abroad have confirmed that this may have been successful.