AFK | Screenings

CLOSING FEATURE: Voyage of Jeanette

Svetlana Romanova
Curated by: Jaclyn Quaresma
Man wearing blue-tinted sunglasses on his head holds a baby, his free hand close to the lens with thumb and index finger appearing to rub against each other. They are outside in a field on a blue, sunny day.

Voyage of Jeanette

Svetlana Romanova
USA/ Russia | 2024 | Digital | 97 MIN | Sakha, Russian, English

Constructed out of personal notes, both verbal and visual, Voyage of Jeanette is an essay film that poses questions about the intersection between image production and the creation of narratives, which shape our perception of contemporaneity and manifest in our performances of history, heritage, and memory. Positioned in the Yakutian Arctic, the film invites the viewer to ask vital questions about the meaning of peripheries and how western ontologies of discovery and the writing of history are absorbed into or contrast with immediate Yakutian realities.

Innis Town Hall

2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

Sidewalk-level entrance, elevator and ramp available, door width 32 inches, no automatic doors. No accessible parking on-site. Four wheelchair accessible seats in the cinema. 15 step-free seats in row 9. Accessible gender-neutral washroom located on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

For a map of Innis Town Hall, click here

COVID-19 Policy

Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.

The following guidelines will be in place: Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.

Sense of independence–what is it for you and me? Creating a nation outside of a state–is that possible? Did we fail? What am I inhabiting? What inhabits me? 

Taking place in the Yakutian Arctic, or the Republic of Sakha Yakutia, filmmaker Svetlana Romanova graciously invites the audience into her line of inquiry that vitally challenges settler narratives wholly linked to the popular imagination of the Arctic regions. Voyage of Jeanette is an experimental, discursive essay film that navigates western ontologies and its myths of discovery alongside Yakutian realities. 

The film is composed of a tightly woven compilation of personal notes, both verbal and visual, posing questions that reposition moving image culture’s relationship to creation narratives and its place in image production overall. Svetlana thus foregrounds the influence that modes of storytelling have on one's perception as well as understanding their own place in officially documented histories, pre-defined heritage and familial memory. 

Svetlana has also critiqued representations of the Arctic through writing. In her essay, Visual Representation of Indigenous Peoples: Towards the Creation of a Self-Directed Visual Culture, she proposes that the Arctics have been presented as open, barren lands of ice and snow are inaccurate, and so erase historically migratory populations and their culture from their homelands. Such images not only influence the global settler imagination, but also that of contemporary Indigenous populations from those very regions. As she writes:

This scenario has established images as the currency through which commodification of certain socioeconomic norms are estimated and are used as weapons to mold social identities in favor of commerce to conque[r] expansive territories…This is dictated not only by the lack of prospects in traditional industries (low income, harsh labor and etc.) but also accelerated through the generated myth. Myth here being the representation of someone’s reality through the prism of capitalism. Accessibility of recent technological advancements (phones, cameras, computers, etc.) have created an environment where transmitters of this myth have become an extension of our bodies. [1] 

Voyage of Jeanette counters the colonial and capitalist frameworks of the Arctic as a singular entity, empty and there for the taking. Instead, it presents the bodies, lifeways, and images created by those who have called the Arctics home for time immemorial. In doing so, Svetlana reseeds and repopulates depictions of the Arctics in the global, collective memory. 

Please join us for a conversation with Svetlana Romanova following the screening. 

1. Svetlana Romanova, “Visual Representation of Indigenous Peoples: Towards the Creation of a Self-Directed Visual Culture,” @GI_weltweit, October 2021,

Svetlana Romanova

Svetlana Romanova (Sakha/Even) is an artist and filmmaker born in Yakutsk, the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located south of the Arctic Circle. Her practice centers on the importance of Indigenous visual language, particularly in the Arctic regions and gravitates towards critical self-historization.

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