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Ulrike Ottinger receives honorary degree from Concordia

Country's largest fine arts faculty welcomes internationally celebrated filmmaker for special ceremony and master class
September 21, 2018

The Faculty of Fine Arts conferred an honorary doctorate upon one of the world’s most thought-provoking and respected filmmakers, Ulrike Ottinger.

Concordia's president Alan Shepard presented the degree during a special ceremony at the university on September 21, 2018.

Rosanna Maule, film studies professor at Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, delivered the citation in honour of Ottinger.

Ulrike Ottinger

“From Toronto to London, Moscow to Rio, she has screened at the world’s most important film festivals,” Maule said.

Known for her deep ethnographic sensibility and ability to explore and interweave both narrative and documentary cinematic styles, Ottinger has won many international prizes.

She has had retrospectives of her work at the Cinemathèque française in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. She is also known for her contemporary art practice and has exhibited widely.

“A master of many media, for decades [Ottinger] has also exhibited her paintings, installation art and photography in major galleries and museums around the world,” added Maule. “Her photos, which echo her films in subject matter and context, have featured at the biennales in Venice and Berlin.”

Put your ideas back on their feet

Ulrike Ottinger

Ottinger remains a vital artistic force and is currently working on a film about Paris in the 1960s. Addressing the audience at the ceremony, Ottinger spoke not only of the challenges she faced in becoming an artist in Paris in the 1960s but also of the complexity of reflecting on herself as a young artist from the perspective of a senior filmmaker and artist now.

“Because of my intense engagement with this early phase in my life, I can very well put myself in your position,” she said, addressing the students who attended the ceremony.

“I am sure there are many of you who want to accomplish something special in their field, who passionately pursue knowledge, insight and understanding, and thereby often come up against boundaries.”

Ottinger added, “That is a very normal process in artistic work! Stay persistent because boundaries exist to be overcome. Once you catch fire, you have already overtaken the first hurdle.”

She also spoke of the importance of patience when building an artistic career.

“Do not allow yourself to be led astray. To become a star overnight exists only in commercials,” Ottinger said. “The essential can only be achieved through stamina, endurance and persistence. Put your ideas back on their feet.”

While in Montreal, Ottinger will also hold a master class with students at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema on Monday, September 24.

Find out more about Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.


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