The Artists Cinema 2016

Guerrilla-style distribution brings back experimental film in cinemas across UK.

Georgia Korossi

The Artists Cinema invitation

The Artists Cinema invitation

The Artists Cinema, a collaborative project by LUX and the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) returns this year with its unique form of distribution. A selection of five new commissions will be presented with mainstream feature films in cinemas, guerilla-style. The films will be paired up with Dad’s Army, Hail Caesar!, Trumbo and Spotlight and will be playing at ICO programmed independent cinemas as well as the picture house cinema circuit.

The Artists Cinema 2016 is funded by Arts Council England and brings back new and leading contemporary artists on the big screen to engage audiences with experimental films. Previous editions in 2006 and 2010 reached audiences nationwide with works by artists including Palme D’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Turner Prize nominee Phil Collins and widely recognised artist on the international art scene Deimantas Narkevicius.

The five international artists presented this year take a standout cinematic point of view, lyrical with visual tendency, which unfolds the raw evolution of experimental film form in contemporary cinema. They are concerned with realist film not by following an actor around with a handheld camera but by pushing the boundaries with action and sensuality. They are Dora García, winner of the PIAC International Prize of Contemporary Art 2015, Margaret Salmon whose work has been shown widely including Venice (2007) and Berlin Biennale (2010), Guggenheim Fellow Naeem Mohaiemen, winner of the 2010 Locarno Golden Leopard of Tomorrow Gabriel Abrantes, and recipient of the 2014 Max Mara Art Prize for Women Corin Sworn with Tony Romano.

The Coat

Dir:Directors Corin Sworn with Tony Romano | Canada/Italy/UK | 2016 | 5 mins 30 secs


Glasgow-based artist Corin Sworn centres her plot around a father-daughter relationship with a sly commentary on the current politics of migration. Two travelling actors stop on a country road to check on their props only to discover two mystery passengers at the back of their truck. Sworn worked in collaboration with Canadian artist Tony Romano and the film’s bawdy humour is flavoured with its performative megaphone announcement and signalling song of adorable melody.

Bird

Dir: Margaret Salmon |UK | 2016 | 4 minutes

American and British based filmmaker-artist Margaret Salmon filmed Bird in the Scottish woodlands for a study of songbird repertoires. Her close-up portraits of birds weave lyricism and reality, introducing a new form of sound-image fusion. Salmon’s film is an orchestration of mimicking and sound holding territory in striking natural mechanisms. Salmon won the first Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2006.

El helicóptero

Dir: Dora García |Belgium/Spain | 2016 | 6 mins

Spanish artist Dora García re-enacts one of the 1966 Happenings by Argentinian art critic-psychoanalyst of Lacanian influence, Oscar Masotta (1930-1979). To understand El helicóptero, I should probably mention that Masotta’s emblematic work responded to the generation of Argentinian intellectuals from 1955 onwards, which created a social phenomenon of Western Zen-fetishisation in the context of American capitalism and class stratification. These intellectuals were derived from the extended crisis of hegemony that took place in the years between Perón’s fall from power and the return of the military in much bloodier guise in 1976.

The re-enactment in García’s El helicóptero denies the distinction between the audience and performer and they are completely removed from each other. Yet they are bound together in a chiasmic relationship.

Abu Ammar is Coming

Dir: Naeem Mohaiemen |Bangladesh/Lebanon/USA | 2016 | 6 mins
© Chris Steele-Perkins, Magnum Photos

© Chris Steele-Perkins, Magnum Photos

Utopian dreams vanish in the scale of war’s murderous core, like dust in the paradox of time. In search for peace, writer-visual artist Naeem Mohaiemen who works in Dhaka and New York, is surrounded by photographs from the archives of Al-Yom, As-Safir, An-Nahar and the Arab Image Foundation. His short essay film, Abu Ammar is Coming, continues his exploration of the 1970s revolutionary left and Bangladeshi fighters as human beings struggling for survival. Its narration reminiscences our relation between what we see and what we know, which is never settled.

A Brief History of Princess X

Dir: Gabriel Abrantes with Francisco Ciprianni |Portugal/France | 2016 | 6 mins

A unique storytelling that is equally refreshing for its bold point of view in art criticism, North Carolina writer-director Gabriel Abrantes’ film tells the story of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s vision of simplicity. It had its breakthrough following a commission from princess Marie Bonaparte to make her a portrait. Brancusi’s infamous sculpture ‘Princess X’, 1915-1916, traveled to a series of unfortunate art events, which had their glamour stolen by the works of Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. But in fact the portrait’s misunderstood meaning lies in Freud’s major 1900 work ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’: the bronze phallus pursues the inner reality of visionary princess Bonaparte, Napoleon’s great grand niece.

The Artists Cinema 2016 launches on 8 February at Tate Britain.

Georgia Korossi is writer and film programmer specialising on experimental cinema and documentary. She is contributor to BFI News and has curated film programmes in partnership with the Athens Ethnographic Film Festival and contemporary artists in UK and Greece. She recently acted as production researcher for John Akomfrah’s film The Airport (2016) – currently showing at Lisson gallery – a three screen film installation which recalls the work of two filmmaking greats: Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) and Theo Angelopolous (1935-2012).
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The best of LSFF 2016

Starting the new year with new visions, the 13th London Short Film Festival rounded up last Sunday with the announcement of its award winners.

Georgia Korossi

No Wolf Has a House (2015)

No Wolf Has a House (2015)

“Life is great. Without it you’d be dead”

Carrying on from last year’s ethos –“we’re not here to entertain you, we’re here to make you feel uncomfortable” – and growing from the Halloween Society short film night 20 years ago, the LSFF was back again this year with Harmony Korine’s short films and music videos on the projector in partnership with Mubi and a showcase of the short films of Fyzal Boulifa, Taina Galas, Joern Utkilen, Jessica Sarah Rinland, Derek Jarman collaborator Richard Heslop and cats, many cats. We chose 11 short films, which we loved seeing at the festival.

Tamara
Sofia Safanova 2015 UK 16 mins

Winner of the Best New British Short Award Sponsored by British Council

Tamara is now nominated for the European Critics Circle Award

Shot in Krasnoyarsk, Southern Siberia Tamara is a collaboration between the students of London Film School, FAMU (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague) and has mixed non-professional cast and siberian film specialists. Siberian bus conductor Tamara introduces her teenage son Max to the colleague she has been dating for a while. However as they meet in a karaoke bar, she starts questioning her happiness and is forced to look after her own self instead.

Tamara (2015)

Tamara (2015)

Watch the trailer for Tamara

No Wolf Has a House
Hana Jušić 2015 Croatia 25 mins

Winner of the ShortsTV Award for Best International Short Film

Breezily surreal and creepy, Jušić’s post 60s Godard-like film is about a guileless woman who escapes a marriage that’s decidedly wrong and too much about meat and flesh.

No Wolf Has a House (2015)

No Wolf Has a House (2015)

Watch the trailer for No Wolf Has a House

Mining Poems or Odes
Callum Rice 2015 UK 10 mins

Winner of the Open City Docs Award for Best Documentary Short Film

Robert, an ex-shipyard welder from Govan in Scotland, reflects on how his life experiences have influenced his new found compulsion to write. His retrospective poetry reveals a man who is trying to achieve a state of contentment through words and philosophy. He has replaced his tools for pens and paper.

Samuel-613
Billy Lumby 2015 UK 15 mins

Nominated for BAFTA 2016 in the British Short Film category

Writer-director Billy Lumby worked with art director Azalia Francis on handheld cameras for their Samuel-613. Its an imaginative ethnographic hybrid that tells the story of 23-year-old Hasidic Jew Shmilu (played by Theo Barklem-Biggs), who struggles to relate with his community and enters the void of modern-day Britain. Lumby went undercover in a synagogue in east London as part of his film research.

Manoman
Simon Cartwright 2015 UK 11 mins

Nominated for BAFTA 2016 in the British short animation category

This is wild, weird and underground. Glen attends a cult world while on primal therapy treatment to discover his masculinity but he finds that he cannot make a sound. It’s altogether a new kind of work, dark and amazingly shot.

Over
Jörn Threlfall 2015 UK 14 mins

Nominated for BAFTA 2016 in the British Short Film category

Shot in west London, Over documents the quite suburban neighbourhood of Phillimore Gardens at different times of a day. What we discover at the end of its quarter of an hour length, is shocking and one realises how helpless we all are.

Edmond
Nina Gantz 2015 UK 9 mins

Nominated for BAFTA 2016 in the British short animation category

Drinking water from a fish tank, imagining of connecting back to our umbilical cord…already this doesn’t sound like a happy life. Gantz’s Edmond is about troubled minds unable to connect with, what the common mind understands it to be, real world.

The Curse
Fyzal Boulifa 2012 Morocco/UK 16 mins

A retrospective of collaborations between British-Moroccan director Fyzal Boulifa and Romanian-born cinematographer Taina Galis, brought back their bold 2012 film of intoxicating camera work and story resonance to the big screen. Boulifa and Galis’s latest collaboration, Rate Me (2015), was nominated for this year’s Best UK Short Film award.

Watch The Curse online

Dailies to Dawn
Kristina Cranfeld 2015 UK 18 mins

Winner of the ICA Award for Best Experimental Short Film

Shot in 16mm Cranfeld’s film is an exploration of the physical relationship between the celluloid, the artist and film processing by craftsmen at one of the last film laboratories in the UK. It’s a poetic journey that brings to mind the serene beauty of Nathaniel Dorsky’s cinema with shots of glorious sunlight merging with bubbling close-ups, water and flowers.

Dailies to Down (2015)

Dailies to Down (2015)

Maelstrom
Benjamin Fox 2015 UK 3 mins

Benjamin Fox’s previous film Suchstuff (2014) was the winner of the ICA Award for Best Experimental Short at the LSFF last year. His Maelstrom is an experimental ethnographic look in the First World War with archive footage and metallic graphics.

Patriot
Eva Riley 2015 UK 15 mins

Winner of the Women & Film in TV Award for Best Woman Director

A number of films are made on this topical subject of rising patriotism and racial discrimination in the UK. But it’s a subject destructive enough and in trying to communicate through film that it’s a crime, it needs terrific skills. The fact that Riley’s film Patriot won her the award for Best Woman Director is therefore satisfying but above all wonderful news.

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The 11 best films of 2015 in pictures

The year’s top movies as selected by 11polaroids.

We say goodbye to 2015 with the unforgettable stories we saw this year on the big screen. The story of Martin Luther King’s struggle to get African-American people the right to vote, the half-human-half-selkie girl of Celtic legend who must find her voice, photographer Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s eye of our world and the 15 million people worldwide who marched against the war in Iraq.


Read the interview with Theeb director Naji Abu Nowar.
Read the interview with Touching the Void and Sherpa producer John Smithson.

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Barry Lyndon: 40th anniversary

We mark the film’s birthday with some painterly images and behind the scenes shots with the cast and crew, as selected by 11polaroids.

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Barry Lyndon (1975) is Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Victorian novel about the rise and fall of an 18th century Irish adventurer (performed by Ryan O’Neal). It was filmed on location in Ireland, England and Germany and won 4 academy awards in categories from its outstanding production.

Like art objects, Kubrick’s 1975 film invites the viewer to observe its allusive composition and man’s failure from grace. Its our obligation to resist its force reflected through elegance and downfall. But Kubrick’s cinematic and art historical oeuvre resonates to this day.

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59th BFI London Film Festival roundup

From the water people of Patagonia to the story of Shmilu in Hackney, here are 10 films that intrigued us most from this year’s festival.

Georgia Korossi

The Ocean is an idea.
The Pearl Button (2015)

The Pearl Button

The Pearl Button

The programme team behind the BFI London Film Festival declared 2015 the year of strong women. With Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette opening the 12-day-long celebration of international film, it was meant to be an honour to be a woman, outrightly.

238 films screened across 16 cinemas in the capital. But seeing the restoration of Black Girl (1966), the first feature by the father of African cinema Ousmane Sembène and the new documentary about his life and work, Sembene! by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman, was a rare and special occasion.

As it’s impossible to include in this list every single film we loved, honourable mentions go to Magnus von Horn’s The Here After in the first feature competition, Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain, Mor Lousy’s Censored Voices, Pablo Larraín’s The Club, Zhia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart and Miguel Gomes’s Arabian Nights trilogy.

Taxi Tehran
Director Jafar Panahi

Taxi-Tehran-2015

Iranian director Jafar Panahi poses as a taxi driver in his latest film. He drives through the streets of Tehran, capturing moments from the daily lives of the city’s residents with a camera hidden in his car. At times the film offers a grim outlook for the country’s future, but an appearance by Panahi’s niece gives some cause for optimism.

Cronies
Director Michael J Larnell

Cronies-2015

Michael J Larnell’s feature is about male friendship and trust in modern society. With outstanding black and white cinematography, Cronies is a sharp work that holds your attention to the end of the credits. Filmed in St. Louis with local actors, it features an irresistible hip hop soundtrack, including contributions by local indie artist Raye Cole. When it was screened to Spike Lee at New York University, he immediately came on board as an executive producer.

Gayby Baby
Director Maya Newell

Gayby-Baby-2015
Maya Newell’s Gayby Baby is a journey into the lives of three Australian 12 year-olds with same-sex parents. At the time of writing this PG-rated film is banned from being screened in schools in New South Wales, despite the fact that there’s literally nothing here that might be deemed offensive. The film simply demonstrates that these kids live utterly normal lives, facing everyday difficulties with the support of loving, generous parents. But the children are fully aware that their families are viewed as different, and raise some timely questions.

The Pearl Button
Director Patricio Guzmán

The-Pearl-Button-2015-indigenous

The-Pearl-Button-2015-statements-palaciosThe new film by Chilean documentary master Patricio Guzmán is as eerie as it is enlightening. It’s both a meditation on southern Chilean history, and a mesmerising study of the Pacific Ocean. This powerful rumination on life, water, and its hidden mysteries is every bit the equal of Guzmán’s 2010 masterpiece Nostalgia for the Light.

Watch Patricio Guzmán talks about The Pearl Button follwing the screening at the LFF

Jia Zangke: The Guy from Fenyang
Director Walter Salles

jia-zhangke-a-guy-from-fenyang-2015

If I can claim my country now it is because I left it for some time.
-Jia Zhangke
Jia Zhangke: The Guy From Fenyang (2015) 

There are times when you ask yourself if certain film directors from far away corners of the world ever met and talked about ideas to each other. One of these instances refers to Chinese director Jia Zhangke and Chilean director Patricio Guzmán. Both masters of cinema, however they share something deeper: an existential truth about their roots.

Brazilian director Walter Salles filmed his new documentary about the Chinese director with such exceptional passion for his medium and Zhangke’s work that can rarely be found elsewhere. In a world of confused values here’s Zhangke speaking in front of the camera and says: “Peoples destinies have really not changed”. Then camera then follows Zhangke to the locations where he shot his most iconic films including, A Touch of Sin (2013), Still Life (2006) and Unknown Pleasures (2002), at which point he tells us the story about his father, a touching tale about freedom of speech and the right to live.

Watch the Jia Zhangke and Walter Salles screentalk during the LFF

Chevalier
Director Athina Rachel Tsangari

chevalier-2015

Winner of the Best Film award at this year’s festival, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s follow-up to Attenberg (2010) is a study of male egotism that will have you laughing all the way through. It’s shot mostly on board a private yacht, and the claustrophobic cabins inhabited by its passengers and crew are contrasted with beautiful shots of the Mediterranean sea. Tsangari is the first female Greek filmmaker to receive wide international acclaim, and she absolutely deserves this.

The Lobster
Director Yorgos Lanthimos

IMG_0129.CR2

A followup to his 2011 ghost story Alps, The Lobster is director Yorgos Lanthimos’ return to the festival with his first English language feature, this time with the support of the BFI Film Fund. It is a damn-utter irony when a director films a picture that accurately describes modern day reality before anyone else does and he is then called the initiator of weird Greek cinema. Absurdly and rather secretly, modern-day society insists on giving a greater respect to heterosexual matching, marriage and family as opposed to single life. But no other picture could emphasise this strange 21st century reality better than The Lobster.

Lanthimos once again invests on detail, cast (Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, Ariane Labed, Léa Seydoux and Olivia Colman, to name a few) and slow motion. His added features of working with dance choreographers and theatre plays in the past, shine throughout his new feature, expertly including silent disco, terrific Irish locations and the exotic animal kingdom of peacocks, rabbits and dogs. The Lobster is a story about the meaning of love.

The Lobster is on release across UK and Ireland since 16 October.

Carol
Director Todd Haynes

Carol-2015

Impeccably stylish and romantic, director Todd Haynes returns with another exquisite picture, Carol, Phyllis Nagy’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel The Price of Salt (1952). Actor Rooney Mara gives an exceptional performance in the role of young photographer Therese who falls in love with the alluring lead, gorgeously played by Cate Blanchett. Set at a time when love between women was unspeakable, Therese meets Carol at a Manhattan department store just before Christmas and the two women embark on a road trip to the cosy countryside.

He Named Me Malala
Director Davis Guggenheim

he-named-me-malala-2015

The astonishing new documentary by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), He Named Me Malala, follows one of the most famous teenagers in the world and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at 17, Malala Yousafzai. Named after a famous Afghan poetess and warrior, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for campaigning girl’s education in Pakistan and was forced to move to Britain following the attack. Behind her brave and remarkable story told through her experiences, life and members of her family expertly illustrated with terrific animation, Guggenheim’s film brings hope to all women and courage in our world, desperately asking for peace.

Samuel-613
Director Billy Lumby

Samuel-613-2015

We couldn’t close this roundup without underlining the programme of short films in the festival. Together with the launch of the Short Film Award, this year’s festival had an expanded programme of shorts curated in diverse themes including family, neighbourhood, experiences of fight or flight, mediums and messages.

Outside the short film award competition, a special mention is due to newcomer writer-director Billy Lumby’s Samuel-613 for its ethnographic, imaginative and technical qualities. Lumby went undercover in a synagogue in east London as part of his film research. It tells the fictional story of 23-year-old Hasidic Jew Shmilu (played by Theo Barklem-Biggs), who struggles to relate with his community and enters the void of modern-day Britain.

59th BFI London Film Festival award winners

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In pictures: 10 days in Cuba

From the streets of Havana and Trinidad: a hotly photographic journey in the heart of Cuba as seen through the lens of Georgia Korossi.

Georgia Korossi is editor of 11polaroids, writer, photographer and producer of film based in London and Athens. For this project the photographs were shot by Canon EOS 650D with Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens.

 

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Ingrid Bergman: iconic images

Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman was born 100 years ago on 29 August 1915. We mark her centenary with some of her iconic images, as selected by 11polaroids.

 

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