A Bao A Qu is a small Catalan organisation, founded in 2004 by friends passionate about sharing their love of cinema, art and contemporary thinking. They created ‘Cinema in Curs’ (Cinema in Class), a programme for primary and secondary school students and their teachers, that takes place during school hours. The year-long course involves creative workshops, learning about film culture and teacher training, all led by professional filmmakers. The students make their own films, on themes such as friendship, moving home, the city or family relations. Their work is screened at specially curated festivals in a Barcelona cinema, so that young people’s vision is in the mainstream of the city’s cultural life.
A Bao A Qu is now working in other parts of Spain, in Germany, Chile and Argentina. It has created a parallel photography project and a European programme for teenagers outside school to sustain their engagement with cinema. Despite its local and international achievements though, the organisation is not financially secure. Although filmmaking involves the acquisition of skills and knowledge, A Bao A Qu wants to engage young people emotionally, not technically. They see cinema as poetics, ‘a way of knowledge, of thought, emotion, amazement, interrogation of ourselves, the others and the world’.* The quality of the young filmmakers’ commitment and of the work they create is a testament to the seriousness of that vision. This is participatory art in which everyone is expected to fulfil their greatest potential.
- The A Bao A Qu is a mythical creature described in Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings (1967).
- Aidelman, N., & Colell, L., 2014, ‘In Praise of Love. Cinema en Curs’. In Cinema Comparat/ive Cinema, Vol. II No. 5, p.25
- This text is one of 46 project descriptions included in ‘A Restless Art’, with thanks to Nuria Aidelman and everyone at A bao a qu.