I WANTED TO LIVE
A Human Rights Film Project
Digital memorial | film ~ installation | expanded cinema
Germany, 2018 - Ongoing
currently 81 min.
Idea, Producer, Director: Christian Alexander Rogler | Co-Producer: Greta Amend
"I wanted to live" is an up-to-the-minute cinematic challenge, which is related to the documented death of more than 35,597 refugees and migrants, who have lost their lives within, or on the borders of Europe since 1993. It is a cinematographic transmission of a data stream in order to serve as a digital memorial worldwide. It probably has also become the longest minute of silence in film history. The data is collected by "United against refugee deaths", a pan-european organisation based in Amsterdam.
The work is a new approach to adapt data for the big screen, as well as in cinematic installation contexts for art galleries, museums, schools and other mobile projection. And by that to investigate the potentialities of cinema as a room for memorial, reflection and consequent political action. The title "I wanted to live" was chosen after several interviews I led with refugees, who all gave this answer in one way or another, when asked for the reasons of their flight.
We all heard about the drama, which is delivered with the daily headlines: Bodies that surface on European shores, stowaways found in the back of a truck, or asylum seekers who kill themselves consequential to hardliving conditions and depression for the long and lingering asylum claim decision. Those are the consequences when Europe shuts its doors and eyes. A film without an end, which has to come to an end, but is currently even getting longer and longer. "I wanted to live" delivers the closing titles to this drama.
This work is supposed to prove that every private person is able to do something for human rights and peaceful coexistence, even by simple means or an a small budget, and by that to encourage others to do the same. The data is collected through own research, and information received from the 550 network organisations in 48 countries, and from local experts, journalists and researchers in the field of migration.
The work aims to raise awareness on this issue throughout Europe and to animate audiences and politicians to reconsider European immigration policies in order to develop a human vision on migration. The sheer number of deaths documented in "I wanted to live" is powerful in itself, yet each individual casualty must not get lost in statistics. The human dimension is what makes the words projected on the screen so potent; by giving attention to the very real challenges, struggles and suffering that migrants face, it helps the target audience to relate to and engage with the situation. It is at the same time a new approach to cinema itself.
For screening requests please email me via the contact form. Thank you.
Screenings & Exhibitions 2020:
+ Stift Klosterneuburg, Austria: Nomation for St. Leopold Peace Prize 2020
+ Stift Klosterneuburg, Austria: Annual exhibition, Klosterneuburg Monastery, Apr.- Nov. 2021 (extended)
+ Izmir International Refugee Film Festival / İzmir Uluslararası Mülteci Film Festivali - 14.-18. April 2020
+ Moviesthatmatter Festival, The Hague, Netherlands, 20. - 28. March 2020 (postponed to 2021)
+ Now&After International Video Art Festival, Historical Red Hall at Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, 21. Oct.- 11. Nov.2020
Screenings & Exhibitions 2019:
+ Human Rights Film Festival Berlin, Sept. 2019
+ Videoart Festival Berlin, Sept. 2019
+ this human world - Internatonal Human Rights Film Festival Vienna, October 2019
+ Karama Film Festival, Jordan - 12-hour-screening, at the Royal Cultural Center Amman, December 19
+ Galerie Gesellschaft Berlin, Sept. 2019
The film/installation is an ongoing project based on own research and data collected by over 550 independent organisations worldwide.
"I wanted to live" is a piece of contemporary history,
that hasn't finished yet.
The end of which seems incalculable.
The end of which is not written,
which could therefore become longer and longer.
We all know the horrible pictures,
the daily news about the unbearable conditions of migration.
The dead boy on the sandy beach.
The stowaways, that suffocated in the holds of trucks and ships.
The boats, overcrowded with people, we know the fact,
that countless more have capsized on their journey.
The suicides of fugitives,
who are threatened with deportation to prison and torture.
"I wanted to live" delivers the credits to this drama.
The film is a document to contemplate.
A digital memorial.
It questions the activity of watching.
It questions the role of the spectator watching,
how something happens. Or who looks away.
Maybe we don't know, how to watch.
"I wanted to live" questions our relationship to the news.
And the news pictures delivered with it.
Pictures that stick to the wounds like a plaster,
that they're picking up themselves.
The pictures in "I wanted to live" are created from words.
The film also questions the role of cinema,
and at the same time offers it new possibilities:
The cinema as a memorial.
The cinema as a place of silence.
The sound of the silence of the cinema hall.
The cinema hall as a shelter,
as a place for personal, possibly new experience,
away from the noisy discourse,
away from the usual narration.
The cinema can give a space to the names of the victims!
Because behind every name there is a whole world and a destiny,
to whom the cinema can (return) the memory and empathy of the spectator.
The film is unabridged.
A film that provokes people to walk,
which is the end of the argument.
A movie that doesn't seem to have an ending.
A movie that must have an ending.
A film that calls for personal action.
The film itself deals with the living, who are shown to the viewer in their hope, their obstacles, their struggle - no matter how it ends. What interests us here is the attempt to show the lost struggle, the disappearance (in the water, under the ground). The motionless, silence, that which lies beyond the film images. Without pictures, one can still get an idea of it. That, too, is cinema.
© Christian Alexander Rogler