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'connect’ presents stories and interactions that build intrigue about who we are and how we relate to one another. The project includes multi-channel films showing a social and visual portrait of over 160 people – from local communities in Germany (Schöppingen and Berlin),  Spain (Blanca) and the USA (New York City) – sharing their private stories and thoughts as they answer 5 universal questions.

Each of these questions is the subject of its own film, with similar answers and counterpoints sewn together to build a narrative on humanity. These films are compelling and they draw us into the protagonists’ lives. Watching and listening to other people allows us to see ourselves in others and by doing so offers us a way to start connecting.

Private links to each film:

'What are you scared of?' 19 mins 49'
'What do you love the most?' 19 mins 2'
'What makes you happy?' 19 mins 49'
'What advice would you give your younger self?' 19 mins 2'
'What are your hopes for the future?' from 'connect' 26 mins 24'

The feelings driving the project are true connection and a universal love for others that is simply based upon our shared humanity. These feelings are present in all of the works by virtue of the protagonists’ generosity and honesty, and they are especially present in the film ‘gestures’, where each of us is unconditionally offered feelings of genuine warmth and love by over 160 strangers.

'gestures' from 'connect' by Sylvia Schwenk- 12 mins 32'

connect’ seeks to counter patterns of inward thinking and behaviour. We live in a time of reduced global interconnectivity, with ‘Brexit’, the USA’s ‘American first policy’, an uprising of populist alt-far-right governments and movements in Europe. There is an increasing fear of otherness that is leading a wave of self-focus, alienation, nationalism and violence. In these times the need for people to connect with one another is more relevant and greater than ever before.

The world is full of possibilities. ‘connect’ provides an optimistic possibility, a hope for creating a world of shared humanity.

This work is supported by: