March 2, 2024

Preview: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Now in its eighth edition Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival opens on Wednesday with the theme Pictures in Motion. Once again transforming this North Eastern English town into ‘one big moving image installation’ this year’s programme features film screenings, special events, workshops and artists talks that explore the relationship with the still and moving image.

Considered by many to be the most important film in the study of film/photography Chris Marker’s La Jetée will have a 50th anniversary screening – made all the more poignant by the recent death of this masterful filmmaker. Other older titles in the programme include Wim Wenders Alice in the Cities while for a true exploration of the past or forgotten film, Screen Bandita and The One Ensemble present A Live Road Movie in Super8 and Sound. Screen Bandita have been creating fascinating analogue audio/visual events for a number of years, most recently as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Summerhall – if you haven’t yet had a chance to catch their delightfully performative projections and image-inspired musical collaborations don’t miss your chance in Berwick.

Fans of Marker should try to see Patience (After Sebald) by Grant Gee – an essay film about W.G Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn that brings together the aural testimonies of artists and writers influenced by this unclassifiable book. Layering interview footage with shots of Suffolk as Gee recreates the authors’ journey on foot, the film achieves visually the kind of meandering unpredictable associations that Sebald’s text is celebrated for. If you like that, make sure you catch The Search for Emak Bakia, Oskar Alegria’s serendipitous journey film that was nominated for Best Film in the International Feature Competition at Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Other highlights include Brief Exposures – a shorts programme featuring work by Andrew Kötting and Tim Walker, Shirin Neshat’s acclaimed 2009 film Women Without Men and Braden King’s Here starring Ben Foster, the screening of which will be followed by a Q&A with cinematographer Lol Crawley and a party in The Maltings Stage Door Bar.

What with installations around the town – including projections of Amit Madheshiya’s photography on Berwick Watchtower that form the beginning of a ‘travelling showcase’ – this use of a beautiful setting and the combination of carefully programmed screenings and events are sure to reveal Berwick in a whole new light.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival runs from 19th – 23rd September.

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