SESSION FIFTEEN: DRYLONGSO

Thursday 2 April, 6.00, Close Up Cinema

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16mm Screening of the recently released debut film by Cauleen Smith

Film: Drylongso
Cauleen Smith, 1998, 87 min, 16mm

Seeing Cauleen Smith‘s debut feature (and only full length fiction film to date) today offers audiences a snapshot into both a community and a specific moment in time. Set in Oakland, California, the film centres around a young African American woman navigating her responsibilities as a breadwinner, daughter and student whilst coming to terms with the threat of violence befalling young men in her community. The film captures real social issues being faced by the working class African American community and the vibrant Afrocentric art scene whilst, through the central character Pica, Drylongso can be seen as a nuanced coming of age tale. The recent restoration has allowed the film to find a new audience and in doing so can now be seen to connect to both the celebrated 90’s independent cinema boom alongside the iconic works of African American cinema made in this period.

Supported by the Arts Council England

Call for proposals: The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice

The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice

A call for proposals for a student-led symposium reflecting on EFF 2020

As part of its new collaborative partnership with CHASE, the Essay Film Festival is inviting proposals from doctoral students for a student-led symposium exploring essayistic forms and their relationship to academic research, social critique and artistic practice.

Continue reading “Call for proposals: The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice”

ESSAY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAMME 2020

ESSAY FILM FESTIVAL INTRODUCTION

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SESSION ONE: YUGANTAR FILM COLLECTIVE

Thursday 26 March, 18:00-21:00, Birkbeck Cinema 

Is This Just a Story? Celebrating the Yugantar Film Collective

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SESSION TWO: FOUND FOOTAGE RESEARCH EVENT

Friday 27 March, 12:00-17:00, Birkbeck Cinema 

Archive/Fictions: Found Footage and the Essay Film

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SESSION THREE: OTOLITH GROUP/O HORIZON

Friday 27 March, 20:30-22:30, ICA 

Essay film exploring the educational philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore

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SESSION FOUR: TORRES/LISTORTI

Saturday 28 March, 18:00-19:30, ICA 

UK premieres of found footage works by Leandro Listorti and John Torres

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SESSION FIVE: RUCHIR JOSHI/ELEVEN MILES

Saturday 28 March, 20:00-23:00, ICA 

UK premiere of restored classic Indian essay film

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SESSION SIX: RICHTER/BEAUVAIS

Sunday 29 March, 18:00-20:00, ICA 

Double bill of experimental works by Hans Richter and Frank Beauvais exploring the personal and the everyday

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SESSION SEVEN: RUCHIR JOSHI/SHORT FILMS & CONVERSATION

Sunday 29 March, 20:30-22:30, ICA 

Ruchir Joshi: short film programme and conversation

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SESSION EIGHT: RUCHIR JOSHI/SYMPOSIUM

Monday 30 March, 10:00-19:00, Birkbeck Cinema 

Ruchir Joshi Symposium: Essays in Text and Image

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SESSION NINE: TAMAR RACHKOVSKY/HOME IN E MAJOR

Tuesday 31 March, 14:00-16:00, Birkbeck Cinema 

A first-person essay film about unlikely friendships and what it means to find a home

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SESSION TEN: SARAH WOOD/SHORT FILMS PROGRAMME

Tuesday 31 March, 20:55-23:00, ICA 

To bring the world into the world: a programme by Sarah Wood

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SESSION ELEVEN: WORKSHOP WITH GARRETT BRADLEY

Wednesday 1 April, 14:00-16:00, Birkbeck Cinema

Workshop with Garrett Bradley

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SESSION TWELVE: GARRETT BRADLEY/AMERICA AND OTHER WORKS

Wednesday 1 April, 21:00-23:00, ICA

Screening of America and conversation with Trevor Mathison

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SESSION THIRTEEN: WORKSHOP WITH CAULEEN SMITH

Thursday 2 April, 14:00-16:00, Birkbeck Cinema

An illustrated lecture by Cauleen Smith

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SESSION FOURTEEN: CAULEEN SMITH/SHORTS PROGRAMME

Thursday 2 April, 21:00-23:00, ICA 

Cauleen Smith: short film programme and conversation

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SESSION FIFTEEN: SAAB-ROUXEL

Friday 3 April, 14:00-17:00, Birkbeck Cinema

A tribute to the work of Jocelyne Saab presented by Mathilde Rouxel

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SESSION SIXTEEN: DERKAOUI-MORIN

Friday 3 April, [exact timings tbc], French Institute

UK premiere of restored Moroccan essay film banned forty years ago

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SESSION SEVENTEEN: TRANSIT/ESCAPE ROUTE TO MARSEILLE

Saturday 4 April, 14:30-19:30, Goethe-Institut

UK premiere of restoration of Escape Route to Marseille adapted from the novel Transit

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ESSAY FILM FESTIVAL INTRODUCTION

The Essay Film Festival, now in its sixth edition, presents a global range of contemporary and restored essayistic works, each exploring the critical and creative zone of possibilities that lies between experimental and documentary modes of filmmaking.

This year’s programme features several key themes and strands:

New work by the Otolith Group and restored essay films by Ruchir Joshi and the Yugantar Collective engage with the cultural history and politics of India, providing imaginative and insightful perspectives on the educational projects of Rabindranath Tagore, the wandering Baul musicians, the changing cities of Ahmedabad and Kolkata, and the political struggles of Indian women. A symposium on the work of author and filmmaker Joshi will take place during the festival with guests from India, France and the USA, while Yugantar member Deepa Dhanraj will join researchers from Berlin Arsenal and Goldsmiths to discuss the restoration of the collective’s films.

From Argentina, France, UK and the Philippines come challenging found footage experiments by Leandro Listorti, Frank Beauvais, Sarah Wood and John Torres, which critically examine the status and uses of images today while transforming them into moving and fascinating new creations. A student-led research workshop with guest filmmakers will analyse the theory and practice of found footage in the digital age.

US artists Garrett Bradley and Cauleen Smith investigate and celebrate the depth and diversity of African-American lives, past and present, with works that, like all good essays, both question the viewer and invite us into an ongoing conversation. Both Bradley and Smith will give lecture-workshops about their practice alongside the screenings of their films.

Developing the theme of ‘the living archive’, a series of events will address the cultural politics of film restoration, featuring works by Jocelyne Saab, Mostafa Derkaoui, Ingemo Engström and Gerhard Theuring, in addition to the restored films of Ruchir Joshi and the Yugantar Collective.

Finally, Israeli filmmaker Tamar Rachovsky will join the festival to present and discuss Home in E Major, which looks at complex questions of identity and belonging through the deceptively simple lens of the diary film.

Simple and complex, contingent and reflective, hybrid and critical, the essay film that we celebrate at our festival is a constantly renewed invitation to engage with the world and to see it in new ways.

Michael Temple (Director), on behalf of the Essay Film Festival group: Matthew Barrington (Manager), Kieron Corless, Nicolas Freeman (CHASE intern), Catherine Grant, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Janet McCabe, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey. 

The Essay Film Festival is a collaboration between the ICA and Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, with support from the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.

SESSION EIGHTEEN: TRANSIT/ESCAPE ROUTE TO MARSEILLE

Saturday 4 April, 14:30-19:30, Goethe-Institut London

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UK premiere of restoration of Escape Route to Marseille adapted from the novel Transit

Film: Escape Route to Marseille (Fluchtweg nach Marseille), Ingemo Engström and Gerhard Theuring (1977), Germany, 1977, DCP, German with English subtitles, 210 minutes (part one: 90 minutes, part two: 120 minutes)

With the support of CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership, Goethe-Institut London, and Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art (Berlin).

Following last year’s presentation of Film Emigration from Nazi Germany (1975) by Günter Peter Straschek, the Essay Film Festival and the Goethe-Institut will now screen the restoration of Escape Route to Marseille (1977), directed by Ingemo Engström and Gerhard Theuring, which is based on the exile novel Transit by Anna Seghers. In 1977, Engström and Theuring embarked on a journey through France, making a ‘working journal with images’, as they described it. Their essayistic approach to film adaptation follows the escape route of German emigration from Nazi Germany (and Seghers’s own route), documenting the places, talking to witnesses, layering the past and the present. The result is a film in two parts, mixing fictional and documentary elements, and performing a thorough investigation of exile and cultural resistance against fascism during World War Two. 

In preparation for this screening, the Essay Film Festival and Goethe-Institut are organising a Reading Group around Anna Seghers’s Transit, the final session of which will take place at the Goethe-Institut, Saturday 4 April, before the screening. More information available from the Essay Film Festival website.