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  • Original idea, researched, written and directed by Helen Doyle
  • PhotographyNathalie Moliavko-Visotzky
  • SoundOlivier L?ger
  • Edited byDominique Sicotte
  • Visual EffectsGuy Lessard
  • MusicNigel Osborne
  • Sound Design and Sound EditingBeno?t Dame, Catherine Van der Donckt
  • Sound MixPhilippe Atti?
  • Produced byNathalie Barton, Ian Quenneville

Produced with the financial help of

Gouvernement du Qu?bec (Cr?dit d'imp?t cin?ma et t?l?vision - Gestion SODEC)

Canada Media Fund (CMF)

Gouvernement du Canada Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit

SODEC Soci?t? de d?veloppement des entreprises culturelles ? Qu?bec

and the collaboration of

Radio Canada


Filmoption International


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Letizia Battaglia

Letizia Battaglia, photographer and photojournalist, was born in Palermo in 1935. From 1974 to 1991 she was photographer and leader of the photo team of the Palermo daily, L’Ora, taking some 600 000 images. Over the years she documented the internal war of the Mafia and its assault on civil society and became the most important photographer in the world on questions relating to the Italian Mafia. Today her images are shown in solo exhibitions all over the world. She was the first European woman to receive the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography (New York,1985) and the Mother Jones Photography Lifetime Achievement Award (San Francisco, 1999). In 2007 the German Society of Photography awarded her the Erich Salomon prize, a lifetime achievement award and Germany’s most prestigious award. In May 2009 she received the Cornell Capa Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York.

Letizia Battaglia is also a film director and ecologist (she was City councillor for the Green Party in Palermo from 1985 to 1987 and contributed to the conservation of the historical centre of Palermo). She founded Edizioni della Battaglia and, in 1991, the magazine Mezzocielo, produced entirely by women.In 2003 she published Passion Justice Freedom – Photographs of Sicily. In the list of 1000 women named for the Nobel Peace Prize, she was nominated by Peace Women across the Globe.

Nadia Benchallal

Nadia Benchallal is an award-winning Franco-Algerian photographer who lives in Paris. She studied photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. She has worked for international magazines and newspapers among which Le Monde, Geo, El País,Time Magazine, Die Zeit, La Repubblica della Donna, and Newsweek. In 1992, she embarked on series of black and white photographs about the lives of Algerian women, which inspired a larger project about women in the Muslim world. Since then she has travelled to document women’s lives in Bosnia, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Burma, Iran, Japan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

Her work has been widely exhibited. Her awards include a Visa d'Or from Perpignan in 1994, a W. Eugene Smith Fellowship, and a Mother Jones grant. She also received a "European Eyes on Japan" grant with which she documented the life of women in Gunma State in the Japanese heartland in 2001. She is currently working on Sisters, her project about the lives of Muslim women.

Philip Blenkinsop

Blenkinsop has been described as "one of the most essential photographers of his generation" (Christian Caujolle, Le Monde). Since taking residence in Southeast Asia in 1989, Blenkinsop’s name has become synonymous with forgotten conflicts and the photography of injustice. He has become a strong voice in the pro-advocacy debate within the media. Blenkinsop is adamant that the photographer should never censor scenes through the camera. “Photographers are both witness and messenger. Our responsibility must always lie with the people we focus on, and with the accurate depiction of their plight, regardless of how unpalatable this might be for magazine readers.”

Amongst other accolades he was awarded Amnesty International’s Photojournalism Prize for Excellence in Human Rights Journalism. Monographs of his work include The Cars That Ate Bangkok (White Lotus) and Extreme Asia (Photo Poche Société).

Blenkinsop sits on the advisory board of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice at The Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University, USA. In 2011 he opened the 2snakestudio (a working/exhibition space for art/photography installations) in Bangkok’s Chinatown, which houses his permanent installation, The Lulik Haunt, overflowing with many of his own intricately worked pieces. In September 2012 Blenkinsop was bestowed with an Honorary Fellowship from the Falmouth University College in recognition of his services to the world of photojournalism.

Bertrand Carri?re

Based in Longueuil, Bertrand Carrière was born in Ottawa in 1957.
Over the last 30 years, Bertrand Carrière has produced a large body of photographic work that is varied and very personal. Using time, memory, landscape and history as starting points, he explores reality for its fictional potential and autobiographical echoes.  He is the recipient of a number of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. His works have been exhibited and published across Canada, in the United States, in Russia, in Europe and in China.

In 2003 he directed 913,  a 30 minute documentary film dealing with the memory of the Dieppe raid of 1942 and his recent photographic work in that region of Normandy. In 2005 he received the Prix de création en région from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.  Represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto and the Simon Blais Gallery in Montreal, and distributed by l’Agence Vu in Paris, Carrière’s work is present in many private and public collections , including Le Cirque du Soleil, Alcan, the Canada Arts Council Art Bank, la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, The Canadian Center for Architecture, the Cinémathèque québécoise, Encontros da Imagem, Braga in Portugal, the Loto-Québec Collection, The National Gallery of Canada, / MCPC, Le Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, The Houston Museum of Fine Arts au Texas. Bertrand Carrière teaches photography at André-Laurendeau College in Montreal.

Stanley Greene

Stanley Greene was born in New York in 1949, and as a teenager was a member of the Black Panthers, an anti-Vietnam War activist and a founding member of SF Camerawork, an exhibition space for avant-garde photography.
Greene studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and at the Image Works in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An encounter with W. Eugene Smith turned his energies to photojournalism. He began photographing for magazines, and worked as staff photographer for the New York Newsday. In 1986 he moved to Paris and by chance he was on hand to record the fall of the Berlin Wall, which made him a much-sought-after photojournalist.

His most well known body of work is his coverage of the war in Chechnya, from which he released the book Open Wound (Trolley) in 2003. Greene was awarded a Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society Institute in 2006. In the summer of 2010, he exhibited images of Katrina’s devastation and the aftermath in a truck-exhibition that drove from Houston to New Orleans in collaboration with Kadir van Lohuizen. In 2009, he released Black Passport (Schilt Publishing), compiled by Teun van der Heijden, and winner of the 2011 GOLD Deutscher Fotobuchpreis. He has won five World Press Photo awards and is a recipient of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant. In 2011, he won the Getty Grant for Editorial Photography for his project on e-waste. Stanley is based in NYC and Paris. His work is represented by Agence Noor.

Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. He was born in Santiago, Chile. His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta (1987, 2002) in Kassel. Important individual exhibitions include the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Whitechapel, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. A major retrospective of his work took place in summer 2012 at three institutions in Berlin: Berlinische Galerie, Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst and the Alte Nationalgalerie.

He has realized more than sixty public interventions around the world. He recently completed two important public commissions: the Geometry of Conscience, a memorial located next to the just opened Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile, and Park of the Laments, a memorial park within a park sited next to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. More than fifty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. In 2006 he received Spain’s Premio Extremadura a la Creaciòn.

Geert van Kesteren

Geert van Kesteren (born 1966) is a photographer based in Amsterdam. His photography is acclaimed for its cinematic feel of storytelling, with a camera that gives insights into the psyche and soul of conflict. His landmark books, Why Mister, Why? and Baghdad Calling about the war in Iraq serve as a new model for the possibilities of engaged and innovative documentary.  He is the recipient of several major fellowships from the Mondriaan and D&M Foundations and was awarded the Infinity Award 2009 in Photojournalism from the International Center of Photography in New York.

His work is represented in the collection of the Dutch Photo Museum and Rijks Museum and presented in most major international magazines, including Newsweek, Stern, The Independent and GEO Magazine. Van Kesteren’s photographs have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Recontres d’ Arles, Visa d’Or, the British Museum, the Barbican Art Gallery and the Brighton Photo Biennial. His first monograph, Mwendanjangula! Aids in Zambia, was published by Mets & Schilt in 2000. Since then Geert van Kesteren has published Why Mister, Why? (2004) and Baghdad Calling (2008). Both books, reflecting on the war in Iraq, became instant classics. Van Kesteren was a nominee at Magnum Photos (2005-2008) and since 2006 has been on the Advisory Board of World Press Photo.

S?ra Phousera Ing

Séra was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 1961. Upon completeing with honors his graduate and postgraduate studies in art and the science of art at the Sorbonne University, he devoted himself both to teaching and art.  An artist as protean as he is consistent, Séra's work finds expression in a multitude of fields -sculpture, drawing, painting, engraving, and graphic novels.  As a first hand witness of the Cambodian genocide, he authored an emblematic trilogy of novels recounting this tragedy: Impasse et rouge (1995, réédition 2003), L’eau et la terre (2005), Lendemains de cendres (2007). Since 1999 he has directed several writing workshops for graphic novels at the Institut Français in Phnom Penh, as well as more engaged workshops primarily focusing on the aspect of visual art; notably, Les Ateliers de la mémoire (Workshops on Memory). The latter, which took place at the Bophana audiovisual centre, served as an active and cathartic revisiting of the painful history of Cambodia by involving young people in the work of remembering a past which is at once as familiar as it is unknown. Through the uniquely expressive language of graphic novels, Séra seeks to extend beyond a simple transmission of the historical record from one generation to the next by offering to the Cambodian youth an opportunity to grasp their own history through artistic creation.

His work has been extensively exhibited both individually and collectively throughout France and Cambodia. In April 2012, the Institut Français in Phnom Penh marked its 20th anniversary with a spectacular exhibition dedicated to the vast painted work of Séra; while in Paris a few months later, the Galerie Oblique presented over a hundred of his drawings, storyboards, and watercolours alongside large canvas paintings exhibited for the first time.

Additionally, Séra is known for his painting through intensive public performances. He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships, most signficantly, from the Centre National des Lettres of France. He has maintained a valued teaching position at the Sorbonne since 1989 and in 2012 was named Educational Director of the Phare Ponleu Selpak School in Battambang, Cambodia. Currently, Séra is conducting ongoing research for his PhD.

Paolo Ventura

Paolo Ventura was born in Milan, Italy in 1968.  He has been called one of the most interesting story tellers in the art world today – using photography to carefully construct his narratives. Like all good narrators, Paolo Ventura was raised on stories. He recalls that his father, a children’s book author and illustrator, “was always inventing stories for me and my brothers”. His grandmother’s stories of life during the Second World War had a great impact on his first work, War Souvenir and they continue to resonate with his more recent bodies of work including Winter Stories, The Automaton and Behind the Walls.

Ventura’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including at the Venice Biennial and is part of major private and public collections including the Museum of Fine art in Boston, The Library of Congress and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome.

Lana ?lezi?

Lana Šlezić was born in Canada of Croatian parents in 1973. After studying photojournalism at Loyalist College, Ontario, she began her career in 2000 working for The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. In 2002, unsatisfied with the nature of daily newspaper work, she decided to freelance. Canadian photographer Larry Towell became her mentor. She travelled to Bosnia for a project on landmine victims and photographed Mennonites in Canada. In a short time she contributed to several major magazines  – National Geographic, Newsweek, Time and others – and her work was exhibited in a number of countries: Canada, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, France, the United States, the UK, Croatia, and Turkey. She easily compares with the most talented of the new generation of photojournalists.

When she chooses what she will photograph, it is always because of an emotional or intellectual connection to an issue or a story. In 2004 she went to Afghanistan where she lived 2 years, to document the daily life of Afghan women. The result was her first book of photographs, Forsaken, which became the focus of an exhibition and was rated as one of the Top Ten Photo Books by the American Photo Magazine in 2008. ‘Forsaken tells the stories Afghan women cannot tell themselves’, she says. Lana Šlezić has also lived in India, with her husband and two children, and has created several photographic projects there. She is now based in Toronto.

Among the awards she has received are a World Press Photo Award (Portrait Story) for her series A Window Inside, as well as an International Photography Award in the US and the Luis Valtuena Award for Humanitarian Photography in Spain.

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Tremendously rich in its journalistic, artistic and even philosophical scope Andr? Duchesne, La Presse

A masterful work crafted with precision, accuracy and sensitivity Andr? Duchesne, La Presse

A sweeping flow of exceptionnal images Andr? Lavoie, Le Devoir


International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) 2013 Award for the best Canadian Film. 31st FIFA, Montreal

Mumbai Women?s International Film Festival 2013

Avanca Film Festival 2013

Lo schermo dell'arte Film Festival 2013

Festival international du cin?ma francophone en Acadie 2013

Finalist, Jutra Award for Best Documentary 2014

G?meaux Award Best Documentary : culture 2014

Statement of intent

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In French only

inéaste depuis déjà 30 ans, je m’intéresse aux conflits et à leurs conséquences, et j’observe de près, attentivement même, ce paysage toujours en transformation. Lors du tournage des Rendez-vous de Sarajevo en 1996 et de Birlyant une histoire tchétchèneen 2005, j’ai croisé certains photographes et artistes qui m’ont ébranlée. Mais c’est surtout lors de la réalisation des Messagers(2003) – sur le parcours d’engagement d’artistes à travers le monde – que l’occasion m’a été donnée de poursuivre cette réflexion sur l’image qui banalise, par rapport à celle qui se distingue et s’impose.

J’ai décidé d’aborder ce projet sous l’angle de ce que j’appelle ma douce subversion : présenter des propos graves sous une forme séduisante… Impressionner d’abord puis, comme une lame de fond, permettre qu’émerge des profondeurs la réflexion. Mes choix ont toujours été faits dans la perspective de proposer des images fortes et qui parlent d’elles-mêmes. J’ai décidé d’aborder ce projet sous l’angle de ce que j’appelle ma douce subversion : présenter des propos graves sous une forme séduisante… Impressionner d’abord puis, comme une lame de fond, permettre qu’émerge des profondeurs la réflexion. Mes choix ont toujours été faits dans la perspective de proposer des images fortes et qui parlent d’elles-mêmes. J’ai décidé d’aborder ce projet sous l’angle de ce que j’appelle ma douce subversion : présenter des propos graves sous une forme séduisante… Impressionner d’abord puis, comme une lame de fond, permettre qu’émerge des profondeurs la réflexion. Mes choix ont toujours été faits dans la perspective de proposer des images fortes et qui parlent d’elles-mêmes. 

Pour ceux qui les réalisent, ces images, pour ceux qui en ont fait leur métier, comment alors montrer ? Comment faire pour qu’émerge de ce magma, de ce Babel, l’important, ce qui est porteur de sens ? Et qu’est-ce qui fait qu’une image nous touche et qu’elle éveille en nous, spectateurs, le désir de mieux nous informer afin de mieux comprendre le tumulte du monde?...

À partir de l’expérience de créateurs d’images de premier plan, qui vont du photojournalisme en passant par la création artistique jusqu’à la bande dessinée, voilà autant de questions que le film se propose d’explorer. Limiter ce documentaire uniquement à la photo de presse quotidienne n’aurait apporté rien de nouveau. Si j’ai élargi mon champ aux artistes, c’est aussi parce que le monde du reportage et celui de la création s’influencent et s’inspirent réciproquement, voire se rejoignent de plus en plus… Alors que la subjectivité est depuis longtemps admise comme partie intégrante du reportage, on entrevoyait moins que les héritiers de Capa ou de Caron lorgnent du côté de la fiction lorsqu’il s’agit d’adopter une démarche personnelle. Une voie empruntée par de plus en plus de photographes qui affirment tous leur attachement au réel et, en même temps, disent leur volonté de raconter des histoires...

Dans un océan d’images souhaite  être une passerelle entre la photographie et le monde des arts, et faire écho aux créateurs qui commencent à faire éclater des barrières traditionnelles entre les genres.  C’est aussi un début de réflexion sur la photo citoyenne, qui bouscule nécessairement dans cet univers déjà saturé.

Les rapporteurs d’imagesque j’ai choisis suivent tous des démarches engagées, singulières et remarquables. C’est à travers la rencontre avec elles et eux qu’il  devient  possible de découvrir comment se fabrique une image et comment ils cherchent à la transmettre dans l’univers numérique : ils nous amènent ainsi à mieux saisir notre propre rapport à l’image. Je propose donc de décrypter avec eux le long et mystérieux processus de création, dans le but d’en extraire sa véritable pertinence, ce qui en fait sa force et son indiscutable nécessité.

C’est au terme d’une longue observation et d’une recherche approfondie que j’ai arrêté mon choix de ceux que je nomme icirapporteurs d’images. Il s’est fait en fonction de leur très grande intégrité et de l’authenticité qui transparaît de leur travail. C’est cet ensemble de qualités qui, à mon point de vue, en plus de leur talent, fait que leurs images émergent..

Ils sont tous des rebelles avec une cause, des résistants, des dissidents, des passeurs : ils se passionnent, osent, cherchent, poussent le bouchon plus loin, nous amènent à voir autrement. Ce qui m’intéresse, c’est leur quête, qui devient, le temps d’un film, la mienne. J’ai voulu voir, dans ce monde en mutation, comment ils se débrouillent pour raconter l’histoire avec des images. Le film est donc une aventure – et non un voyage organisé – avec les découvertes, les obstacles et les moments de grâce qui marquent toute aventure..

En même temps ces situations déstabilisent nos certitudes et ramènent l’individu face à sa propre conscience et face à la conscience collective. Les différentes démarches de nos rapporteurs d’images apportent un éventail très diversifié de réponses à notre questionnement sur le sens de l’image.

En définitive, ce film se veut le révélateur de la conscience que nous avons du monde, comme il nous est présenté quotidiennement.

Et comme le dit Susan Sontag : « A photograph can’t coerce. It won’t do the moral work for us. But it can start us on the way. » (Source : préface de Sontag à Don McCullin (Random House UK, 2001))

Helen Doyle

Short summary

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Bombarded by thousands of images every day, are we still able to truly see them, especially those of conflict and its aftermath? As she takes us on a quest for the meaning of images today, Helen Doyle meets outstanding photographers and artists whose work forces us to look deeper at the world and at ourselves: Alfredo Jaar, Letizia Battaglia, Stanley Greene, Philip Blenkinsop, Bertrand Carrière, Geert van Kesteren, Lana Šlezić, Séra, Nadia Benchallal, Paolo Ventura. With moving honesty, they speak of compassion for their subjects and the psychological toll of being a witness. This is a film for all those who capture innumerable images with their cellphones and digital cameras and share them. A film for people who seek to understand our tumultuous world and look for meaning in the challenging work of artists today. Music composed by Nigel Osborne.

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Long summary

Frameworks is a quest for the meaning and scope of images. Bombarded by thousands of images every day, are we still able to truly see them, especially those of conflict and its aftermath?

An overdose of images kills the image. In a constantly changing field, creators of images are developing new visions of the photographic art form and looking for new strategies to capture our attention with significant images.

From the seemingly endless ocean of images, Helen Doyle has chosen the work of several photographers and visual artists who force us to look deeper at the outside world and at ourselves. Through encounters with these outstanding creators, Doyle takes us on her quest to discover a vast palette of contrasting images which shock and compel: the visual poetry of Lana Šlezić in Afghanistan, Philip Blenkinsop’s almost unbearable imagery of Asia, Alfredo Jaar’s monumental installations, Paolo Ventura’s miniature re-enactments of war, the photographs of storyteller Stanley Greene in war zones and those of Geert van Kesteren in Irak, with his vision of citizen journalism. We follow Letizia Battaglia’s struggle against the mafia in Sicily, Nadia Benchallal’s cherished project that starts out in her native Algeria, Bertand Carrière’s photographic installation on the beaches of Normandy and Sera Phousera Ing’s graphic novel recreations of the genocide in Cambodia.

This is a film for all those who capture innumerable images with their cellphones and digital cameras and share them with us all. It is a film for people who seek to understand our tumultuous world and look for meaning in the challenging work of artists today.