The Found Footage Open Forum is the first of a new series of events to showcase the creative work-in-progress of research students. This event will feature contributions from research students, who will discuss their own experience of working with found footage in academic and artistic contexts. Above all, the event will provide a critical forum for conversation and exchange, and an open platform for practitioners to introduce themselves and their work and engage in discussion about found footage and the archive.


Colm McAuliffe presents Radical Broadcasts: Re-Screening the Archive, a ten-minute essay film which presents archive television in an entirely new fashion: the essay film will be comprised of clips featuring a constellation of names, ideas and brands — David Frost, The Yippies, Raymond Williams, Colin MacCabe, advertisements for Lemsip and continuity announcements — each of which signify wildly differing yet intersectional aspects of our contemporary culture. The essay film promises to provide a unique texture of the culture of the era through the medium of television. The film will also feature sporadic text-interruptions from Raymond Williams’ texts on television and his concept of flow.

This creative use of the archive considers: what effect did the broadcast, circulation and re-screening, through curation of the archive, of this flow of information have on contemporary cultural debates? How are culturally historical concepts from our recent past appropriated and deployed when curated and presented in the contemporary present? And what is the cultural legacy of radical television programming?

Miranda Pennell studied contemporary dance before she started working with the moving image. Pennell’s award-winning films exploring performance and choreography have been widely screened and broadcast internationally.  Pennell’s current moving-image work uses photographic archives as the starting point for a reflection on the colonial imaginary. Miranda will disucss the research behind her latest film Strange Object which is available online now via BFI Player (at no charge) until October 18th. Strange Object synopsis: The ‘Z’ Unit’s operation in a world far from our own was an experiment of sorts, a test. And this place, inhabited by beings different from ourselves, served as a laboratory. A successful outcome would secure the Z Unit’s future, enabling its enterprise to expand and its methods to be applied to other lands. An investigation of imperial image-making, and destruction.

Russell Banfield presents a screening of The Drowned Man, a 14-minute film constructed using footage from a number of film noirs featuring Sterling Hayden. The film weaves this repurposed material into a noir narrative of a man haunted by his past. This work is also a piece of research by film practice, exploring the gap (or absence) between the end of the classical period of film noir and its rebirth as neo noir, its narrative conventions and representations of masculinity, and the screen persona of Sterling Hayden himself.


Dr. Rachel Moore convenes the MA in Film and Screen Studies and is head of the intercollegiate University of London Screen Studies Group. Her research covers early film history and theory; the historical and contemporary avant garde. The relationship of these to modern society charted via the theories of the College of Sociology and the Frankfurt School (both loosely defined). Rachel is also a participant in the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre. 

This event was supported by the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.

To Bring the World into the World: Recent Work by Sarah Wood

Boat People (2016), 23 mins
Murmuration x 10 (2015), 21 mins
Azure (2016), 7 mins
Dear Rosa (2019), 3 mins

This event was followed by a Q&A with Sarah Wood, which is available to watch online here

At the end of the nineteenth century when the Lumière brothers perfected their cinématographe they dispatched envoys across the world to demonstrate the new technology. Their invention was about movement – the moving image was a form that travelled. 

Fast forward to the twenty-first century and here we are in the age of border control, of security walls, of global surveillance, and now quarantine lockdown – a time that suggests the very opposite of movement. What function does the moving image play in this new landscape? Does it simply become a servant to the new closed-in world – an image of information, of surveillance? Or can it sustain its promise to enable the migration of ideas around the world?

In the spirit of the Lumière cinématographe demonstrations, ‘To Bring the World into the World’ will look back at Sarah Wood’s recent work, and how her work is re-imagining the travelling film show, and the possibility in the twenty-first century for a renewed and renewing cinema of ideas.

This event is presented in partnership by Bertha DocHouse and Birkbeck University, bringing you some of the best events from this year’s disrupted Essay Film Festival 2020.

La película infinita

In this online event we presented Leandro Listorti’s The Endless Film (La película infinita), originally scheduled for the 2020 Essay Film Festival. Following the film, there was an online Q+A between Leandro Listorti and researcher Nicholas Freeman.

The Endless Film is an expansive multi-layered compilation film assembled in the archives of the Buenos Aires film museum where the filmmaker is employed. This cinematic experiment retrieves fragments of films that were unfinished or lost, investing new life into objects considered incomplete and invisible, were it not for their reappearance in this new artistic context. The film acts as a valuable film-historical document, showcasing the various thematic and aesthetic currents that Argentinian filmmakers have engaged with from the 1950s to celebrated directors of the so-called ‘New Argentine Cinema’. Archives, memories, traces and remains, these are of fundamental importance for understanding the past, present and future of a country whose records have been routinely buried, burnt and destroyed. In this way, The Endless Film offers a window to forgotten memories, and the work becomes an elegy for the ghosts of Argentina’s dictatorial past. At the same time, the film offers an insight into the materiality of filmmaking, subtly drawing our attention to aspects of production processes such as countdown timers and pen-marked film strips, while the soundtrack makes use of extracts of dialogue and other extraneous audible elements that emerge from behind the camera on a film set. The use of damaged film footage (tramlines, scratches, faded colours, etc.) incorporates new physical elements into the texture of Listorti’s ‘endless film’.