Ethnocineca, the International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, is featuring Professor Yehuda Sharim's latest feature-length film, "Letters2Maybe," this month. The eight-day festival kicks off on May 12 and is billed as the largest Austrian festival dedicated exclusively to documentary and ethnographic films.
Sharim's documentary film is among the top five nominees for the festival's Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award. He is up against filmmakers from several countries, including Iran, Romania, Peru and Mexico.
"'Letters2Maybe" is based on events and dreams that took place in Merced and Houston from 2015 to 2020 and offers an intimate portrayal of those who refuse to surrender amidst daily devastation and culminating strife. Sharim opens up a tangible cinematic space for the protagonists — immigrants from all over the world who are now Americans or at least want to be — and enables active participation of those who defend themselves against the adversities of their circumstances.
The film offers a vision for equality and a renewed sense of solidarity in a divided country.
"'Letters2Maybe' is about Ana Maria Fabian Lomeli and so many activists around the Central Valley who insist on demanding justice for all of us who seek refuge and refuse to surrender to silence," said Sharim, who is part of the Department of Global Arts, Media and Writing Studies.
This will be his third film being shown at the festival. The other two were "Songs That Never End" and "Red Line Lullaby."
Sharim will be at the festival in person to lead the annual Film Talk on May 13, in which he will discuss "Letters2Maybe" and provide insight into his narrative and cinematic approach that bears his artistic and socially engaged signature. Participants will also discuss the importance of trust in long-term documentary film projects.