Film Undone. Elements of a Latent Cinema, a seminar conceived and curated by Philip Widmann, gathers artists, filmmakers, curators, researchers, and archivists to present and discuss elements of a latent cinema: Film projects left unfinished. Films that remained unseen. Film ideas realized in non-filmic media. Their heterogeneous materialities and precarious traces upset notions of what cinema consists of – its materials, institutions, and professions, its socio-political functions, histories, and futures. Public presentations in various formats make the processual, open-ended nature of these practices accessible and revamp their potentialities.

Most of those involved in the initial edition of Film Undone, which took place in Berlin from 20–23 July 2023, have prepared contributions for a book published by Archive Books that will be presented at the Coruña edition of the seminar.


Domus | Saturday June 1st | from 10 am to 2 pm

10 a.m. – Introduction and book presentation with contributors and Philip Widmann.

10:30 a.m. – Redisappearances: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s White Dust from Mongolia by Katie Kirkland (New York)

In 1980, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha traveled to Seoul to begin work on her first feature length film White Dust From Mongolia. The film focuses on an unnamed female amnesiac and her process of “remember[ing] the latent images” she has lost to the past, but its production was interrupted, first by political unrest in South Korea, and then by Cha’s violent rape and murder in 1982. Katie Kirkland’s presentation returns to White Dust to excavate its afterlives in the present. The presentation will include a screening of the unfinished rushes of White Dust From Mongolia, and selections of recent projects by artist Na Mira, re-imagining the film. Activating the theatrical elements of the cinema and the poetic fabulation of the archive, Redisappearances embodies Cha’s technologies of memory.

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951–1982) was a radically multidisciplinary Korean American artist who worked across performance, sculpture, experimental writing and artist’s books, mail art, film, video and audiovisual installations. Her work explores the entanglements of language, memory, desire, and identity in the aftermath of historical rupture.

Katie Kirkland is a PhD candidate in film studies and comparative literature at Yale, where she researches reenactment and experimental documentary. She has written on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s films for the feminist film journal Another Gaze.

12:30 a.m. – Between the Scars and the Resistance: Fabulating About Ruiz Vergara’s Unmade Films by Concha Barquero, Alejandro Alvarado (Málaga)

The censorship of the documentary Rocío was the beginning of a thwarted career. The Andalusian filmmaker Fernando Ruiz Vergara never directed a film again. Rocío had been seized and judicially censored immediately after Spain’s transition to democracy for exposing one of the perpetrators of fascist crimes in the Civil War. The film has been banned from being shown in its entirety in Spain until today. Ruiz Vergara died in 2011, leaving behind numerous scripts and sketches for films that he was never able to carry out. Those films existed in the imagination and in desire, they speak of creative forces and dissidence. Recovering the Andalusian director’s unfinished films is a project of research, artistic reinterpretation and affection. 

Filmmakers and researchers Concha Barquero and Alejandro Alvarado invite the audience to learn about the different versions of Rocío, emphasizing the results of the clash between censorship and the persistent resistance of its author, in order to explore the filmmaker’s unfinished filmography. Various evidence and traces (footage, documents, but also blanks) will allow us to fabulate about the potentiality of his unmade films. Vergara’s first film Otelo a presidente intended to disseminate the political project of the famous leader of the Carnation Revolution, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, who had wanted to establish a participatory democracy in Portugal. Both failed projects, the political and the cinematographic, bring us back to a Southern Europe devoted to an extractive economic model based on tourism as a livelihood.

Concha Barquero and Alejandro Alvarado are filmmakers, lecturers and researchers at the University of Málaga. For the last ten years they have been carrying out academic and cinematographic research on the work of the Andalusian filmmaker Fernando Ruiz Vergara. This research resulted in the book La poscensura en el cine documental de la transición española (2016) and their short film Descartes (2021). They have just finished the feature film Caja de resistencia about the filmmaker’s unfinished projects


Filmoteca de Galicia | Saturday June 1st | 5:30 pm


Nonio Parejo | 1981 | Spain | HD | 15 min

Documentary short film about the celebration of the Autonomy Referendum, voted by the Andalusian people on February 28, 1980.


Fernando Ruiz Vergara | 1980 | Spain | HD | 80 min

Fernando Ruiz Vergara’s film essay Rocío about the largest Catholic pilgrimage on the Iberian Peninsula is also a thorough deconstruction of national(istic) myths after Franco’s death. It is also the first film to be censored after Spain’s transition to democracy because it exposes the perpetrator of a fascist crime during the Civil War. The uncut version is still not allowed to be shown. Concha Barquero and Alejandro Alvarado will present a reconstruction of the uncensored version at the seminar.


Domus | Sunday June 2nd | from 11 am to 2:30 pm

11 am – For a Fictional Essay – Archiving the Absent by Léa Morin 

On 25th September 1967, the young Moroccan filmmaker Karim Idriss wrote a letter to the rector of the Łódź Film School in Poland. In this application for admission, he set out his career and his active participation in the struggle for a Moroccan cinema. A few years later, he wrote a letter to the Moroccan Journal of Culture Souffles about his documentary (which was later banned) Les enfants du Haouz (1970), a film about marginalized adolescents in Morocco. Despite extensive research, this film has remained untraceable, the same is true for the last film Idriss had made in Poland: Et l’exil de tous les jours.

Based on these two letters, as well as the missing films, documents, photographs, film excerpts and rushes, Léa Morin follows in a lecture performance the desires and prevented dreams of the Moroccan filmmaker who studied in Poland in the early 1970s. What can be reconstructed from these material traces? How to go about writing a history of cinema, even though it is crossed by a series of erosions, omissions, erasures, and disappearances? How can uncertainty, trial and error be included? How to preserve films that do not exist? Can we borrow the methodologies of cinematographic restoration to preserve the traces of the absent? What place can we give to fiction in this work of political and aesthetic recomposition? Can we restore and reactivate the desire for cinema and the dreams of revolution carried by young filmmakers like Idriss to propose the invention of new spaces for our futures?

Karim Idriss (1936–2009) faced impediments and bans which prevented his idea of a Moroccan cinema. Much of his early film work is considered lost. Exiled in France after his film studies in Poland and stations in Algeria and Italy, Idriss made television reportages on issues of immigration and the documentary Sketch For a Family Portrait (1979). Plans for making a feature film in Morocco were never realized.

Léa Morin is an independent curator and researcher active in several collectives, including the Bouanani Archives (Rabat), Talitha, an association engaged in the recirculation of alternative and experimental film and sound archives (Rennes), the editorial project Intilak, and as a member of the research department of Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastián).

12 a.m. –  The Newborns by Kianoush Ayari, introduced by Tara Najd Ahmad

Kianoush Ayari’s documentary The Newborns is a film about the crowds on the streets of Tehran, immediately after the 1979 revolution and before the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Depicting a rare image of the utopian freedom on the streets, The Newborns documents various factions and groups that were involved in the revolution and took over the streets to share their thoughts and hopes. The film was supposed to have a narrator’s voice over, but since the footage was not approved by the film’s initial sponsor in Iran’s national television, it remained unfinished, and the footage was confiscated. Years later, a friend of Ayari’s accidentally found a VHS copy of the film at a flea market in Tehran. Ultimately, they digitized the film and made it available on the internet.

Kianoush Ayari is an Iranian filmmaker and screen writer. He was an early member of the Iranian innovative experimental film scene known as Free Cinema of Iran (sinamaye azad e Iran). Throughout his cinematic work, Ayari directed numerous award-winning films. His 1994 film Abadani-Ha received the Silver Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.

Tara Najd Ahmadi is a non-fiction filmmaker and scholar born in Tehran. Her body of work focuses on creating a panorama of untold, marginalized stories that can be gleaned from unofficial oral histories. Her writing has appeared in various journals including the Frontiers Journal. Solo screenings of her work have taken place at various venues internationally, including the Anthology Film Archives.

1 p.m. – Panel “Spectatorship, Postponed”

with Alejandro Alvarado, Concha Barquero, Katie Kirkland, Léa Morin, Tomás Rautenstrauch (Filmoteca Narcisa Hirsch), Jaime Pena (Filmoteca de Galicia).

“Spectatorship, postponed” is how Tara Najd Ahmadi has described the experience of watching The Newborns by Kianoush Ayari decades after it has not been completed: Its sustained openness addresses audiences and their imaginations differently than a complete film that could have been historicized. Picking up from this notion, contributors to Film Undone and other invited guests discuss the shift in roles when dealing with the primary materials of unmade and unfinished film projects rather than film as a secondary product. The loose threads connecting these materials invite artists, researchers, but also spectators to become temporary co-creators of the unfinished work. Actualizing its potentiality together in the present, however, interjecting into the gaps of what we hear and see, comes with an additional shared responsibility towards the assumed intent of the original maker(s) and the contexts in which their work has become or remained undone.