17 July ‘19

First Look | BFMAF 2019

We are excited to announce the first programmes of the 15th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, taking place in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland from 19–22 September, 2019!

This year’s festival features a retrospective of pivotal Ukrainian filmmaker Kira Muratova; a profile of Lebanese moving image artist Marwa Arsanios; the wide-ranging series Animistic Apparatus focusing on Southeast Asian moving image artists’ explorations of human entanglement with nonhuman beings and larger-than-human worlds; Fantastika, a curated series on fairytale, folktale and fable in international cinema from the 1960s to the present; and the UK premiere of Carlos Casas’ distinctive and award-winning feature film Cemetery as the opening film to BFMAF 2019.

BFMAF 2019 tickets are on sale now. Buy your pass here!

Writing on Ukrainian filmmaker Kira Muratova in the New York Times, actress Tilda Swinton says ‘her epic, rebarbative, wildly chaotic, furious, visionary films have earned her a revered place in the international—intergalactic—canon.’ Muratova stretched her vision over twenty-some works made between 1961–2012, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike but still too rarely seen internationally. BFMAF pays tribute to her vision and oeuvre, posthumously, with a retrospective of six feature films, presented in collaboration with the Dovzhenko Centre (Ukraine’s national film archive) and Elena Gorfinkel (King’s College London).

Marwa Arsanios has built a distinctive body of work spanning installation, performance and moving image over the last decade. In her incisive interrogations of gendered labour, non-human ecologies and the histories of collectivism she uses research and collaboration to confound documentary's formal conventions. Her work has been exhibited in major international exhibitions, and she is the winner of this year’s Georges de Beauregard International Prize at FID Marseille. We are excited to welcome Marwa Arsanios to Berwick, where she will present her moving image work in two screenings programmed by BFMAF Programming Fellow Tendai John Mutambu.

Historically, across Southeast Asia, musicians and dancers gave performances as offerings to the gods. Itinerant projectionists in Thailand showed movies as part of nocturnal rituals addressing spirits. Animistic Apparatus draws inspiration from the region’s ritualistic genealogy of artistic expression. This curatorial project, initiated by May Adadol Ingawanij with Julian Ross(University of Westminster), asks: what if contemporary film screenings and moving image installations were reimagined as if they were rituals addressed to nonhuman beings? What if human audiences were a completely unnecessary part of their occurrence? Animistic Apparatus features works, conversations and performances by visionary artists such as Chris Chong Chan Fui, Lucy Davis and Lav Diaz, whose durational practices and creative processes explore worlds damaged by colonising ambitions where the potential for change may lie in radical forms of entanglement between ghostly presence, nonhuman beings, and powerless humans. Animistic Apparatus will stage an encounter with Berwick’s open-air sites and spaces of historical sedimentation, embracing the vulnerability of exposure to the weather and nocturnal ambience of its host town.

Fantastika is a film series examining the many innovative ways filmmakers have utilised fairytales, folktales and fables in their work over the past sixty years. The selected films range between art house cinema, stylistic animation, experimental film, documentary and ethnography. Curated by BFMAF Associate Programmer Herb Shellenberger, the series is international in scope, with films from Colombia, Georgia, Niger, Yugoslavia and more. Focusing on films which innovate in the sensual, visual and aural elements of cinema—production and set design, costumes and makeup, cinematography, sound and music—Fantastika is a surprising collection of strange, sensual and stirring films.

Fresh from its double award-winning world premiere last week at FID Marseille, Cemetery is a highly original and beautifully cinematic feature film directed by Carlos Casas. The film follows Nga, an old elephant and possibly the last of his kind, and his mahout Sanra as they are pursued on a dangerous journey to a mythical elephant graveyard. We are thrilled to present Cemetery as our Opening Film on Thursday evening, and to present it as a joint UK premiere with Tate Modern, where the film will screen in London.

Stay tuned for further programme announcements in the coming weeks, including our Berwick New Cinema Competition, full slate of Exhibitions, the discursive Propositions series, daily Seminars with featured artists and much more.

And of course, join us 19–22 September for the 15th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival! Buy your pass here

#BFMAF2019

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