Off To Take Care

A collage of Stills from Films, a number showing medical personnel Off To Take Care ©Annett Busch

Celebrating the Many Facets of Care Work Through Film

Taking place over 5 days, the mini-festival Off To Take Care brings together documentaries and fiction, films from different places and times to engage us in thinking about care and exploring it through cinema and vice versa.
It is a dense programme, that is meant to raise questions, to reflect anew on what care could mean and what it can do. And to connect people who do care, but probably in very different ways. The curators Annett Busch and Marie-Hélène Gutberlet will be present throughout and we invite you to be around as much as possible, too, so that conversations can continue, take turns or meander. Join us for drinks and conversations on Saturday, 18 November after programme 4 and for an informal discussion in the round on Sunday 19 November after the final programme at the ICA.

Off To Take Care has been curated by Annett Busch and Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, who together are Women on Aeroplanes

We are pleased that throughout the festival, participants of the Waiting Times Project will share their responses and take part in our discussions about the films.
Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Waiting Times Project opens up the relationship between time and care, exploring how lived experiences, representations and histories of delayed and impeded time shape and create experiences of care, including healthcare.

All Films are shown with English subtitles.

We would like to thank the ICA for hosting the screening of Heimkinder on 19 November. 

Please scroll down for the links to the five programmes.

Off to Take Care 

To speak of care is to enter and navigate a vast and vague terrain—in terms of discourse, labour struggles, aesthetics, economy, narratives. Care work and work done with care happens in all domains, but the crucial difference it makes to actually care, most often goes unnoticed. When things are done carefully, with care, when someone dares to care—above all, this takes time. Time that can hardly be translated into the measurements of an economic system that tends to reward carelessness in the pursuit of profit maximisation. In understanding the value and necessity of care work as an indicator for quality, we may need to turn our value system upside down. And cinema might be a good place to start reimagining the world… .  

Off to Take Care intertwines contradicting moves and movements, interests, emotions and considerations related to filmmaking. How can care labour be framed, to become visible. And how does it need to be reframed to become represented (valued) otherwise. What needs to remain off (frame), to resist representation. Care-taking endeavours on the run, uncaptured. While leaving to maintain. Off, to take care of something else, some business. Perhaps a refusal to care about what’s too close. To leave domestic duties undone and care about one’s own pleasure, to learn. Gone, to earn money with care work elsewhere. And come back later. 

Caring might lead to deviations, deviating from the centres towards the margins. With this film programme, we will draw lines across genres, geographies, moments in history and associations related to the notion of care, to overlay perspectives and approaches, allowing unpredictable images and concerns to emerge, to spark the imagination and overcome care fatigue. To care involves recalibrating, reprioritising, to make and remake decisions regarding what to care about and what not to.

A cinema of care doesn’t necessarily mean movies about carers, caregivers, nurses. The labour of care may only be captured as gestures, and its component of temporal duration usually eludes the image. At the same time, image-making itself consists of care-work. A cinematography of care might redirect attention and construct narratives through a framing of complex interplays. What if caring became a methodology? A grammar.


Annett Busch is a research-curator, editor, writer and translator, affiliated with the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art/NTNU. She is interested in radical forms of filmmaking, film critique and unruly methodologies. She has co-curated Tell It to the Stones: The Work of J. M. Straub and D. Huillet (2017, with Tobias Hering), co-edited Ousmane Sembène: Interviews (2008, with Max Annas) and Frieda Grafe: 30 Filme (2013, with Max Annas and Henriette Gunkel). Her focus has also been on audacious female artists, administrators, philosophers, and fighters, cocurating Women on Aeroplanes (since 2017, with MH Gutberlet and Magda Lipska), and coediting the accompanying Inflight Magazine. She has also taken catalyzing historical moments and their hangovers, as in the volume and exhibition After Year Zero (with Anselm Franke); and focused on the politics and cultures of magazine production, as in Electronic Textures (with Kodwo Eshun and Michael C. Vazquez, among others). 

Marie-Hélène Gutberlet works both in and outside institutional frameworks. She was for many years active in various academic film education contexts and as an independent curator and writer. Since 2020 she has been professor for film at the University for Art and Design Offenbach (Germany), and continues collaborating in projects — including in the festival cum exhibition Cours, cours, camarade, le vieux monde est derrière toi—The Cinema of Med Hondo (2017-2020, together with Brigitta Kuster and Enoka Ayemba and its publications),  Women on Aeroplanes with Annett Busch  (, and recently The Art of Counter Investigation (since 2022, together with Felix Trautmann and Franziska Wildt), #kunstdergegenuntersuchung.