Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Forum Expanded

VHS Cyprus: A lost history

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A “Living Archives 2” lecture:

The arrival of video technology in Cyprus in the late 1970s gave rise to an unprecedented phenomenon. Until 1979, film production was limited to a handful of productions, mainly foreign ones, while the sole state TV channel at the time (RIK) broadcast no more than six hours daily. The advent of the VHS era in the 1980s brought forth opportunities for a local form of movie making and gave birth to a species: the movie-maker. 
The potential of VHS attracted a wide variety of entrepreneurs, who came from diverse backgrounds ranging from theatre and music to small-scale business, such as canteens and even bakeries. From 1980 to 1993, more than 20 production companies and trade names emerged, producing around 250 straight-to-video films of all kinds of genres and hybrid cross-genres. The amendment of the copyright law in 1993, however, marked the end of this prolific period. What had once been the most successful manifestation of popular culture on the island is now running the danger of going totally unregistered.
VHS CYPRUS is an initiative that aims to unearth, preserve, and disseminate the Cypriot video cassette movies and to rediscover and reclaim all the films, covers, posters, and ancillary products related to the video era.

Constantinos Taliotis, born 1983 in Nicosia, Cyprus, is an artist living and working in Berlin. His practice focuses on narratological, aesthetic, and architectural modalities deriving from popular cultural iconography.