Laurel Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival


Experimental film | documentary, 11 min
Screenplay, director, cinematography, editing: Dan Dansen

Starring Joshua Lerner, Zafira Vrba Woodski, Dan Dansen

What if we lived in a society in which people who harmed and people who were harmed could heal simultaneously?

“Survivor Manifesto – The Art of Making Kin” is a video essay on survivorhood in which trauma survivors cast a wild vision of a utopian society.

The experimental film unfolds a hypnotic undertow that pulls the spectator into a journey from despair to self-love. The documentary narrates dealing with trauma as a sophisticated skill. Poetic and multi-layered imagery of traveling create a metaphorical space in which narration and imagination melt into a unique story. Different voices of trauma survivors tell about a survivor collective they have formed and they invite the viewers to join them. They encourage an emotional journey to the viewer's very own abyss. Trauma is often related to speechlessness and isolation, but the film provides collectivity and the idea that healing is a continuing process. The film creates the restlessness that is typical for surviving through imagery and music. But it also makes clear that the transition from surviving to living is characterized by hope: the chorus of survivors shares their skills and their ideas on dealing with violence, the art of making kin and on queer love.

“Survivor Manifesto” is a political essay that will change your perspective on trauma.


October 2022

Jihlava, Czech Republic
Worldpremiere: "Survivor Manifesto. The Art of Making Kin" at the 26th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
11:30 a.m. screening as part of the experimental film competition Fascinations.
At DIOD, Tyršova 12, Jihlava, Czech Republic