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Memories and Remote Intimacies: Short Films from German-Japanese Film Director, Sylvia Schedelbauer

In her short experimental films, Sylvia Schedelbauer reflects on the dynamics of interracial intimacy and the question of belonging through her personal history. Screening will be followed by Q&A with the director.

Sylvia Schedelbauer was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a German father. She first moved to Berlin in 1993, where she has been based since. She studied at the University of Arts Berlin with experimental photographer Katharina Sieverding.


Using “found footage” retrieved from the family archive as well as the public domain, Sylvia Schedelbauer explores the genres of autobiography, documentary, and experimental films. She negotiates the space between broader historical narratives and personal, psychological realms, mainly through poetic manipulations of source material. Weaving together different footage, she inserts the subjective into the collective, while blending fiction and documentary.




(19 mins; 2004)


War and conflict bookend this untraditional family history, an exploration of how the legacy of the mid/late 20th century’s complicated histories have shaped (Schedelbauer's) own familial lineage. Constructed entirely of family photos, from documents of her grandfather’s questionable involvement with the Nazis, to the joint narratives of her German father and Japanese mother, and finally to her own coming of age during the first Gulf War, Memories explores the vagueries and construction of memory and history. (Chi-hui Yang, program notes, The 2008 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar)


Remote Intimacies


(14min30sec; 2007/2008)


Remote Intimacy is a found-footage montage which combines many types of archival documentary footage (including home movies, educational films, and newsreels), with a seemingly personal narrative, blending various individual recollections with literary texts. Beginning with an account of a recurring dream, the film is a poetic amplification of Memory, and with its associative narrative structure I hope to open up a space for reflection on issues of cultural dislocation. (Sylvia Schedelbauer, Director)


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A special presentation made possible by the Center for Japanese Religions and Culture's "Critical Mixed-Race Studies: A Transpacific Approach" Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminars Series at the University of Southern California.