Nina Yuen – Lea

01. June 2021 - 30. June 2021 Online


From 01 –30 June 2021, the HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein presents Lea (2014) by Nina Yuen online. The poetic and witty video is part of the Fokusprogramm (focus programme) of the International Women's Film Fest Dortmund+Cologne 2021.

Selected by Betty Schiel (IFFF)

This poetic video by Hawaiian-born artist Nina Yuen is an animated film in two senses, for it is not only about animism - the belief that nature also has an 'anima', a soul - but also about the method of playful sound-image combination borrowed from animated film. Yuen animates natural objects found in the forest, such as leaves and pieces of wood, so that they seem to communicate with each other - and with us. She uses a series of texts from very different sources: two ferns become fighting bighorn sheep from a David Attenborough nature film, a boulder is gently rocked to sleep like an infant to lines from Deborah Spencer's poem "Day Bath". In the next section, the forest merges with the filmmaker's body to create an erotic cartography of the United States, as described by the well-known American poet Sharon Olds in her poem "Topography". The video ends with a surreal shot of insects and the words from "A History of Everything, Including You" by contemporary author Jenny Hollowell: "I did not think of heaven, but I saw that the clouds were beautiful and I watched them cover the sun."

The interplay between the literary quotes and the DIY look of the forest games makes this art video easily accessible and multi-layered at the same time.

This video is presented as part of the first online edition of the International Women’s Film Fest Dortmund+Köln 2021. Lea is also part of the short film programme of the focus section, which this year proposes a very special thought experiment under the title "The Connection: of plants, humans and other animals": how would it be if we did not put humans at the center of being, but started from a network, the 'Connection', which understands us as part of a living web of relationships. In this programme Donna Haraway has her say, as do the termites of Los Angeles, wolves and herbs, birds, landscapes and lots of tomato plants. Curated by Betty Schiel, the programme offers fantastic images that make us rethink.

FestivalSchauFenster: During the festival week (15-20 June 2021) you can discover films from the focus programme in Dortmund shop windows.


Nina Yuen holds an MFA from Bard College and a BA from Harvard University. She completed a residency at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2010. Yuen merges the personal and the universal in her videos. Her work has been part of numerous group exhibitions and shown in art institutions in Amsterdam, New York and Oslo and at film festivals, such as the New Media Festival in Seoul and the Rotterdam Film Festival.


Image credit: Nina Yuen, "Lea", 2014 (film still)

Internationales Frauen* Film Fest Dortmund+Köln

Internationales Frauen* Film Fest Dortmund+Köln is Germany’s largest forum for women in the film industry and presents outstanding films by women spanning all genres and styles. For more than 30 years the festival has played an active role in ensuring that films by women directors are seen, appreciated and celebrated. We promote the influence of women in all fields of the cinema industry, mainly as directors, but also cinematographers, producers, scriptwriters, composers, songwriters and, actors to name but a few.

Many things are different in 2021. And Internationales Frauen* Film Fest Dortmund+Köln is no exception. Originally scheduled for April this year, it will now take place as an online event from 15 to 20 June 2021. Following the live opening on 15 June, all films can be seen via the festival’s streaming platform up to and including 20 June.

You will find press material on this program item in our press area.