Vamik's Room (2020)
Directed by Molly Castelloe, 56 mins
Vamik's Room will be available on our festival channel for individual viewing 01-06 December; we will also automatically register all full festival pass holders and single ticket-holders for the live event taking place on Saturday 05 December at 12:30 GMT.
No FOMO and only interested in Vamik's Room?
Vamik's Room is about the life of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Vamik Volkan, who grew up as an ethnic minority on the divided island of Cyprus, home for two warring ethnic groups – the Turks and Greeks – and the site of bloody conflict in the 20th century.
After training to be a psychiatrist in Turkey, Vamik emigrated West and worked at racially segregated hospitals in the southern United States. He founded the Center for the Study of Mind & Human Interaction at the University of Virginia and over the next four decades travelled around the globe bringing enemy groups together for dialogue in traumatized areas of the world including Estonia, Latvia, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East.
Based on his fieldwork Vamik created a new vocabulary for group psychology, one based on understanding shared traumas, how they are transmitted to our children, and the important task of collective mourning. What is too hard to mourn is passed onto the next generation and into our monuments, which sheds light on the current controversies erupting over Confederate statues.
The film’s climactic scene dramatizes Slobodan Milošević’s rally at Kosovo, Serbia in 1989, illustrating how destructive leadership uses a nation’s unmourned injury to create “time collapse” and foment enemies in the present.
The process of reparative mourning is told through the central story of Vamik's work with a refugee family forced from their home by war in The Republic of Georgia. He helps this family find hope in their new surroundings – a dilapidated hotel that was previously a luxury resort of their Soviet colonizers. He returns to the refugee camp years later where, out of the ruins, they have created a room for him, Vamik’s Room.
The panel discussion after the screening will be moderated by Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor at the Financial Times, and will include Molly Castelloe, director Vamik's Room and Dr Michael Diamond, Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Organization Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia.