This year’s programme features a range of bold and innovative works that cross terrain from Argentina to Hong Kong, Iran to Mexico, USA to Lebanon, Nigeria to UK, embracing themes as varied as cancer, childbirth, the Faust legend, urban decay, workers’ strikes, psychoanalysis, colonialism, natural history, and Finnegans Wake!
These films will challenge your perception of the world, your understanding of reality and your place within it; they will move you, surprise you, and inspire you.
How does film connect intimate personal choices to political commitment; the archived or forgotten past to the socially active present; the beauty of cinema to terror, injustice and despair? How does film engage with the real while questioning the established forms of film language? And how can film touch us, emotionally and viscerally, and yet maintain that vital reflective edge?
Directors Mania Akbari & Douglas White, Andrea Bussmann, Dora García, Christopher Harris, Mary Jirmanus Saba, Bo Wang & Pan Lu, Onyeka Igwe and Jessica Sarah Rinland, all utilise the essay film in different ways to explore these searching questions in this year’s Essay Film Festival.
The full programme for this year’s festival can be found here.
Come and join us!
Michael Temple, Matthew Barrington, Kieron Corless, Catherine Grant, Janet McCabe, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey, on behalf of the Essay Film Festival
SESSION ONE: A MOON FOR MY FATHER, MANIA AKBARI AND DOUGLAS WHITE
Date: Tuesday 26 March Time: 20:30 Venue: ICA, Cinema One
Filmmaker Mania Akbari looks into the connection between her body and the political history of Iran, investigating the relationship between her own physical traumas and the collective political memory of her birthplace.
Date: Friday 29 March Time: 14:00 Venue: Birkbeck Cinema
In this session artist and filmmaker Christopher Harris will demonstrate and discuss his working method and creative process through a lecture-performance related to his as yet unfinished work, Speaking in Tongues.
Date: Saturday 30 March Time: 12:00 Venue: Birkbeck Cinema
This programme of short films is part of a two-day focus dedicated to the Austrian film director and historian Günter Peter Straschek (1942–2009). This session will be the first UK presentation of his radical short films made between 1966 and 1970, presented here alongside two short works by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet.
SESSION TEN: GÜNTER PETER STRASCHEK – FILM EMIGRATION FROM NAZI GERMANY
Date: Monday 1 April Time and Venues: Birkbeck Cinema 11:00-17:00, Goethe-Institut 19:00-22:00
For the very first time in the UK, we will be showing in full Peter Straschek’s astonishing five-part film-historical series about film personnel working in the German cinema industry who were forced into exile during the Nazi period.
Date: Wednesday 3 April Time: 15:00 Venue: Birkbeck Cinema
In this special workshop, Donal Foreman will discuss the making of The Image You Missed (2017), his highly personal essay film about Northern Ireland, refracted through the films of his father, Arthur MacCaig.
SESSION ThirtEEn: NO DANCE, NO PALAVER, ONYEKA IGWE
Date: Wednesday 3 April Time: 18:30 Venue: Birkbeck Cinema
In this session artist and filmmaker Onyeka Igwe presents a trio of works called No Dance, No Palaver. The trilogy emerges from research into the Aba Women’s War of 1929. This anti-colonial uprising serves as a starting point from which to explore archival images documenting Britain’s colonial history. Accompanying the screening Onyeka will deliver a lecture exploring the role of the essay film as an act of anti-colonialism.