18th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival
announce full 2023 programme line-up
The 18th edition of the UK’s festival for new cinema takes place in
Berwick-upon-Tweed on 3-5 March 2023
The festival recognises the most distinctive voices
in moving image from across the world
7 World Premieres, 3 International premieres, 2 European premieres and 19 UK festival premieres take place at the festival
Pictured top left to bottom right: FEARDEATHLOVEDEATH, Hidden Amongst Clouds, Hello Dankness, Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles, Wolf & Dog, Terminal USA
Individual tickets for the festival go on sale early Feb and are frozen at 2019 prices
Passes on sale now give access to full in-person screening programme details here
Industry accreditation is now open details here
Press accreditation open via the press email address below
FIlm set images available here
Images of the past festivals here
Full programme listings at the bottom of the release
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) has today announced the full programme line-up for the 18th edition of the festival which will take place on the 3rd - 5th March 2023. Across its programme the festival champions films and filmmakers who push the boundaries of genre, form and convention to surprise expectations and enliven audience relationships with cinema.
The festival continues to explore what moving images can be and what they can do to help us navigate the increasingly fractured and perplexing world we all live in. With new funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority to reach more audiences, as well as renewed funding from partners including Arts Council England, BFI Audience Fund (awarding funds from the National Lottery) and Northumberland County Council, the festival has created a fully in-person programme of screening events and exhibitions taking place across the town.
This year’s Opening Night gala will be the UK premiere of Anerca, Breath of Life (2022) by Finnish father and son filmmaking team Markku Lehmuskallio & Johannes Lehmuskallio which documents the singing, dancing, and forms of contemporary living amongst indigenous peoples living in the Arctic Circle. ‘Anerca’ means soul, or the breath of life that binds individuals and communities.
This year’s Closing Night film is the UK premiere of the smart, funny and razor-sharp satire Arnold is a Model Student (2022). Inspired by the Bad Student movement calling for educational reform in Thailand, the film follows the titular protagonist as he joins forces with an underground syndicate of misfits helping students cheat on their exams. This subversive debut feature from Sorayos Prapapan moves deftly between moments of absurdist humour and heartfelt, urgent gestures of cinematic protest.
Highlights from this year’s programme include:
A premiere UK screening of Walter Saxer’s little-seen, incendiary documentary Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles (1987) about an experimental and controversial open-air penal colony in the Peruvian Amazon echoes the work of frequent-collaborator, Werner Herzog.
John le Carré meets Derek Jarman in the UK festival premiere of Ungentle (2022), a subtle reflection on the complex relationships between the development of British espionage and male homosexuality. The film is based on extensive research and is voiced by actor Ben Whishaw.
Part political satire, part zombie stoner film and informed by contemporary internet culture, renegade remixologists Soda Jerk return with the UK premiere of Hello Dankness (2022), a bent suburban musical comprised entirely of pirated film samples that bears witness to the psychotropic cultural spectacle of the period 2016 to 2021.
The UK premiere of Cláudia Varejão’s delicately nuanced debut fiction film Wolf and Dog (2022) is a luminous ode to queer communities on the Azores island of Sao Miguel.
Jon Moritsugu’s newly-restored cult classic Terminal USA (1993) is an irreverent slice of early 90s punk culture satirising representations of the Japanese-American family unit that shocked America when it was broadcast on television in the mid-90’s.
The UK festival premiere of Meriem Bennani’s playful sci-fi trilogy Life on the CAPS (2007) mixes live action, day-glo animation, and a kaleidoscopic score by Fatima Al Qadiri to explore the entangled politics of immigration, state control, and the border zone.
There will be a presentation of 2 newly digitised debut Helena Solberg short films (1966-69) alongside her 1982 feature From the Ashes: Nicaragua Today where the acclaimed Brazilian documentarist brings a multi-layered feminist perspective to a political and societal portrait of the country following the 1979 insurrection that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship.
The UK festival premiere of Luke Fowler’s Being in a Place - A Portrait of Margaret Tait (2022) draws on a wealth of unseen archival material and unpublished notebooks from the Scottish doctor, filmmaker and poet. At the centre of the work is an imagining of an unrealised script for a feature film discovered amongst Margaret’s documents in Orkney, Scotland which represents a document of a landscape, and of a journey through it.
Inspired by forms of contemporary dance, celebrated Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel explores themes of class, labour and gender violence in the UK premiere of short film Maid through the story of a woman who applies for a job as a maid, haunted by an unspecified family trauma.
The festival is organised into regular strands including the New Cinema Awards which celebrates some of the most distinctive works of new cinema and artists’ moving image. Uniquely, all selected filmmakers in this strand receive an award rather than a single winner chosen by a jury.
The Essential Cinema retrospective series which proposes a revisionist view of what might be considered major works of cinema and Propositions which gives filmmakers and programmers time to expand on and contextualise their work including Code Names, a screening-performance by award-winning Iranian artist, Maryam Tafakory.
As part of the Exhibitions strand, artists will present new and recent moving image works, including work from acclaimed artists and new work from Christopher Ulutupu, in a selection of Berwick’s public spaces including reanimating civic buildings, a local shopfront, and an 18th century ammunition store. The Festival Club at the Magdalene Fields Golf Club then gives everyone the chance to cut loose on the dancefloor with DJs Miss Mobile Disco and noodle. The Filmmaker in Focus strand the first UK retrospective of acclaimed filmmaking duo Markku Lehmuskallio (born 1938, Rauma, Finland) & Anastasia Lapsui (Nenets, born 1944, Yamal Peninsula, USSR). Their narrative and documentary features made across four decades centre on people, stories and perspectives indigenous to the Arctic Circle. Screentime is the filmmaking and cinema programming strand with and for young people.
Passes to the weekend are now on sale and along with travel and accommodation details are available via the BFMAF website here. Individual tickets for the festival go on sale early Feb and are frozen at 2019 prices.
Peter Taylor, Director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival said:
“We could not be more excited to welcome audiences back to our fully in-person festival this year. As our new Spring festival dates promise, the festival has a new energy and a new lease of life and one which is reflected in a programme of screenings and events which is just as eclectic and exciting as ever. Across the town, we look forward to collectively sharing these new and retrospective works with cinema-lovers as well as offering up more than a few surprises along the way.”
Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England said “Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival has long been a pioneer in bringing the best and most exciting work in film and moving image to the North East and I’m delighted that we are continuing to support the festival as a National Portfolio Organisation for 2023/26. The programme for this year’s festival is no exception and is all the more thrilling for being fully in person again; I’m looking forward to attending some of the events and exhibitions myself.”
Just 2.5 miles from the Scottish border, Berwick-upon-Tweed is England’s most northerly town. From its base at The Maltings in the centre of the town, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival serves local audiences year-round as well as drawing visitors from Edinburgh, Newcastle, Glasgow, London and international film and arts communities to its annual flagship event.
BFMAF recently received support from Arts Council England as part of its 2023-26 Investment Programme meaning the Festival can continue to support staff, young filmmakers and focus on local communities.
The Festival has also renewed its commitment to the fair payment of artists and filmmakers in a time of economic hardship. The move of the Festival to March 2023 further extends this action to address sector-wide pressures to BFMAF staff and collaborators. Committing to slower, more sustainable futures, the change better prioritises team wellbeing in order to deliver the best for audiences, artists and filmmakers.
BFMAF has recently released an accompanying statement on its recent date change is also available here.
FULL PROGRAMME DETAILS
7 World premieres
3 International premieres
2 European premieres
19 UK Festival premieres
Friday 3rd March
12.30 | Maltings Main House | Filmmakers in Focus
Nedarma | Dirs. Markku Lehmuskallio & Anastasia Lapsui | New restoration
Finland | 2007 | 82 mins | LANGUAGE with English Subtitles
Nedarma (Travelling) is a documentary focusing on the Nenets, a nomadic tribe in the northern tundra of Siberia which Anastasia Lapsui was born into. Sumptuous 35mm black and white cinematography captures the atmosphere and landscapes of the Yamal Peninsula and the daily activities of its inhabitants with patience, visionary perspective, and a captivating soundtrack. The film begins by illustrating the Nenets cosmology as a way of leading into a filmic structure that portrays the arc of life from birth to death
14.30 | Maltings Henry Travers | Filmmakers in Focus
Life on the CAPS | Dir. Meriem Bennani | UK Festival Premiere United States | 2007 | 75 mins | English Subtitles
Meriem Bennani’s playful sci-fi trilogy mixes live action, day-glo animation, and a kaleidoscopic score by Fatima Al Qadiri to explore the entangled politics of immigration, state control, and the border zone. Episodes focus on inhabitants of the fictional island of CAPS (short for ‘capsule’), a magnetically sealed megalopolis created to intercept refugees attempting to tele- port illegally into the US. Citizens work together to develop new modes of defiance and resistance, harnessing not only emergent biotechnologies but also the liberatory potential of joy and humour.
15:00 | Maltings Main House | Filmmakers in Focus
Let Us Flow | Dir. Sophio Medoidze | World Festival Premiere
United Kingdom | 2022 | 63 mins | English and Georgian with English subtitles
The isolated mountainous region of Tusheti, in Northeast Georgia, is the site for a reflection on the importance of ritual, the maintenance of community ties, and how modernisation and migration are transforming rural landscapes. Shot over several years, Let Us Flow uses innovative audio-visual techniques to make visible the symbolic and physical division of sacred spaces within the community and offers a nuanced perspective on a culture where ancestral shrines are only accessible to men.
17:00 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Maid | Dir. Lucrecia Martel | UK Premiere
Argentina, Mexico | 2022 | 12 mins | Spanish with English subtitles
Celebrated Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel explores themes of class, labour and gender violence through the story of a woman who applies for a job as a maid, haunted by an unspecified family trauma. Inspired by forms of contemporary dance, the film probes a kind of audio-visual choreography, focusing on the continuous movement of the body in space and the disruptions that occur offscreen and in the interplay between linear and nonlinear time.
FEARDEATHLOVEDEATH | Dir. Basim Magdy | World Festival Premiere
Switzerland | 2022 | 17 mins | Subtitles
Egyptian artist Basim Magdy crafts an immersive, hallucinatory audio-visual dreamscape reminiscing on the absurdity of death without trying to understand it. His associative universe of sounds and signifiers imagines a present moment suspended between traces of the mythic past and spectres of uncertain futures. Harnessing the live, organic qualities of super 16mm, the film builds a singular, dissonant energy that stalks the outer boundaries of science fiction, horror, and nature documentary.
Who Is Afraid of Ideology? Part 4: Reverse Shot | Dir. Marwa Arsanios | UK Festival premiere | Germany, Lebanon | 2022 | 34 mins | Lebanese Arabicwith English subtitles This fourth chapter of Arsanios’ Who is Afraid of Ideology? series continues a collaborative investigation of anti-capitalist ideas around property and land ownership in Lebanon. The film’s figurative reverse shot reflects land as an autonomous, living object that inherently resists notions of property. Instead, matter and land become witness to the interconnectedness of the geological, the historical, the legal and the agricultural - generating an ecology of thought centred around land as a site of communalisation and rehabilitation.
F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now | Dir. Fox Maxy | European Premiere United States | 2022 | 17 mins | Subtitles
Fox Maxy’s vertiginous montage documents the artist’s homecoming to Mesa Grande, California, ancestral lands of the Mesa Grande Band of Iipay/ Kumeyaay/Diegueño Mission Indians in what is now called San Diego County. An exuberant mixtape of songs; portraits of friends, family, animals, and landscapes; and documents of confrontations with tribal cops, F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now is an exhilarating, joyful, and relent- less disruption. No more drama.
17:30 | Maltings Henry Travers | Screentime
Bridge to the Future | Dir. Kathryn Elkin | World Premiere
United Kingdom | 2023 | 9 mins | English subtitles
Kathryn Elkin’s Bridge to the Future was made as part of a wider community project around the conservation of the Union Chain Bridge, celebrating its rich history and relationship to contemporary life. Built in 1819, the suspension bridge spans the border between England and Scotland. Elkin worked collaboratively with participants from the Berwick Youth Project, responding to the groups ideas to fashion a joyful, playful work that reflects on movement between time and place and dreams for the future.
In10ded Ten: The Fate of The Middle Place | Dirs. Christopher, Ebba, Lara and Violet with Kimberley O'Neill | United Kingdom | 2021 | 8 mins | subtitles
A collaborative film made by Berwick Young Filmmakers (a group of local 12–14 year olds). The film was produced over five days of workshops led by artist Kimberley O’Neill, which introduced the group to digital filmmaking and documentary techniques. The film that the Berwick Young Filmmakers have produced together, explores the theme ‘Reworld’— speculating on what life in the year 2031 could be like and imagining how people, technology and nature may change in the near future.
Everyday Apocalypse | Dirs. Kyra, Sam, Jaime, Ben with Kimberly O’Neil
United Kingdom | 2020 | 8 mins
Everyday Apocalypse is a new short film made by four local young people, developed in collaboration with artist Kimberley O’Neill, exploring our shared experiences of lockdown. Over a three week period in August, the group met via Zoom to share stories and develop the film. Through a series of online workshops, the young people were introduced to lo-fi mobile-phone filmmaking techniques and used writing exercises to generate ideas— expanding their personal quarantine anecdotes into subjects and locations for the film.
19:30 | Maltings Henry Travers | Filmmakers in Focus
Anerca, Breath of Life | Dirs. Markku Lehmuskallio & Johannes Lehmuskallio | UK Premiere
Finland | 2022 | 87 mins | Finnish with English Subtitles
In Inuit, the word meaning to bring forth a poem is the same as the word to breathe - an act that inspires Finnish filmmaker Markku Lehmuskallio’s poetic ethnography, co-directed with his son Johannes Lehmuskallio. A beautifully expansive film centred on performance and the importance of song, Anerca, Breath of life was shot over several decades with the indigenous peoples of the Arctic Circle. People and cultures spanning the borders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia, the filmmakers are clear to point out, “It wasn’t these cultures that drew up these borders, rights have been violated.” Speaking against these continued infractions, the film magnificently expresses the joy, pain and energy of these individuals and communities through fleeting, magical moments of performance, conversation and cinema.
21:30 | Magdalene Fields Golf Club
Festival Club: Miss Mobile Disco
After a day at the movies, it’s time to get up, get down, and get on out to party with Miss Mobile Disco - Edinburgh’s finest Mobile DJ, serving up killer cocktails of disco, funk, soul, 80’s and feel good party gems!
Saturday 4th March
10:30 | Maltings Henry Travers | Propositions
The Pleasures of Unbelonging | Dir. Christopher Ulutupu | World Premiere
New Zealand, United Kingdom | 2023 | 11 mins Samoan and English with English subtitles
Christopher Ulutupu is an artist of Samoan/Niuean/German descent currently residing in Wellington. Through a richly pop, queer and celebratory Pacific lens he creates new narrative forms open- ing up conversations around collaboration, connection, and disconnection. The Pleasures of Unbelonging is a new commis- sion presented by CIRCUIT with support from TAUTAI, Creative New Zealand and BFMAF. Following its world premiere screening Christopher will be in conversation with May Adadol Ingawanij, Professor of Cinematic Arts at University of Westminster.
11:00 | Maltings Main House | Filmmakers in Focus
The Blue Mammy | Dir. Markku Lehmuskallio
Finland, Sweden | 1985 | 99 mins | Subtitles
With understated precision, Markku Lehmuskallio’s The Blue Mammy focuses on the sensitive interplay between sound and image while unfurling a story surrounding Joel, a deaf painter who lives in a small village in Lapland. While he has trouble fitting in with the community of people around him, Joel communes with nature and speaks nonverbally with a spirit. The film distils a wealth of provocative ideas—around artistic creation, alternative forms of communication and the importance of the natural world to human animals—into a stunning filmic tone poem.
12:00 | Maltings Henry Travers | New Cinema Awards
Hello Dankness | Dirs. Soda Jerk | UK Premiere
Australia | 2022 | 69 mins
Renegade remixologists Soda Jerk return with Hello Dankness, a bent suburban musical comprised entirely of pirated film samples that bears witness to the psychotropic cultural spectacle of the period 2016 to 2021. Set in the American suburbs, the film follows a neighbour- hood through these years as consensus reality disintegrates into conspiracies and other political contagions. Part political satire, zombie stoner film, and Greek tragedy, the work is also informed by the encrypted memetics of contemporary internet culture.
13:15 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
False Wife | Dir. Jamie Crewe | UK Premiere
United Kingdom | 2022 | 16 mins | Subtitles
False Wife is a work that leads its visitors through an ordeal of transformation. A poppers training video is typically a user- made compilation of pornographic clips paired with text, hypnotic music, voice- overs, and instructions for action. False Wife is a poppers training video, but its mate- rial is ambiguous and obscure. Its narrative, drawn from a variety of folk tales in which transformation occurs, reflects on themes of desire, shame, transgression, and the longing for change.
Signal to Noise | Dirs. Anya Tsyrlina & Sid Iandovka | World Festival Premiere USSR, Switzerland | 2023 | 35 mins | Subtitles
Signal to Noise concludes a number of projects related to the surviving videotapes of schwimmenan early 1990s teenage experimental industrial/noise band from the (then-Soviet) city of Novosibirsk. The film creates a dialogue between the established archival record and the slippery poetics of an esoteric culture that inherently resists attempts to be (re)represented or deconstructed – celebrating the grand utopian impulses of marginal artistic practices and forms of life lived otherwise.
Terror Has no Shape | Dir. Luis Arnías | International Premiere
United States, Venezuela | 2021 | 10 mins | Subtitles
At night in Boston, a bodega cat is the only witness to an alien rock crash-landing in an empty parking lot. A viscous white humanoid, rendered in crude special effects, is stalked by a figure on a motor- cycle, and the encounter ends in ritual fire. A burning effigy and a Senegalese call to prayer usher modes of Afro-Venezuelan spiritual resistance into an ambiguous present - condensing the experience of colonialism into a series of fragments from first encounter to long haunted aftermath.
13:45 | Maltings Henry Travers | Essential Cinema
Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles | Dir. Walter Saxer | UK Premiere
Peru, Germany, Switzerland | 1987 | 77 mins Spanish and English with English subtitles
A rare UK screening of Walter Saxer’s little-seen documentary about an experimental open-air penal colony in the Peruvian Amazon described by inmates as the ‘green hell.’ With echoes of the work of frequent-collaborator, Werner Herzog, Saxer’s film stands as the only in-depth public record of a controversial facility that existed between 1951-1993 as a dumping ground for both hardened criminals and political prisoners. The film’s restrained, observational approach gives rise to a surprising and complex meditation on forms of justice, liberty and rehabilitation.
After The Dust | Dirs. Colectivo Silencio | International Premiere
Peru | 2022 | 25 mins | Subtitles
A set of memories, a series of readings. After two hundred years as an independent nation, Peru has many forgotten struggles in different territories and from different times. Marking the country’s bicentennial anniversary, this super 8mm film brings together activists and families in a compilation of speeches from history’s B-side. A beautiful, stirring expression of liveness, agency, resistance, and the intergenerational obligation to renew and refresh our communal commitment to rights and democracy.
15:15 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Last Things | Dir. Deborah Stratman | UK Premiere
France, Portugal, United States | 2023 | 50 mins French and English with English subtitlesScience meets speculative fiction in artist Deborah Stratman’s poetic, associative reflection on evolution and extinction from the point of view of rocks and various future others. Loosely based on two short stories by J.-H. Rosny, considered one of the found- ing figures of modern science fiction, and thinking with figures from Roger Caillois to Donna Haraway, Stratman troubles the limits of human perception, mining the farthest reaches of the biosphere for (im)material traces that bind past, present, and future.
16:15 | Maltings Henry Travers | Essential Cinema
Helena Solberg: Breaking Mirrors | Presented with Cinelimite
A presentation of Helena Solberg’s debut short films (1962-64) alongside her 1982 feature From the Ashes: Nicaragua Today which brings a multi-layered feminist perspective to a political and societal portrait of the country following the 1979 insurrection that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship. Her shorts, made during one of the most repressive moments of the Brazilian military dictatorship, examine the unliveable conditions experienced by communities under oppression and emphasise women’s agency as active protagonists in the living and telling of their own stories.
17:00 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Love & Revenge | Dir. Anhar Salem | UK Premiere
France, Saudi Arabia | 2021 | 30 mins | Arabic and English with English Subtitles
A teenage girl tries to escape her reality using an Instagram filter. But her desire to exist freely as an image collapses when she loses control over her avatar. Casting family and friends as fictionalised versions of themselves, Anhar, who studied computer science at the Arab Open University, stages a participatory and reflective exploration of technologies and social media in Saudi Arabia – probing the dynamics between real and virtual, public and private, space.
Bigger on the Inside | Dir. Angelo Madsen Minax | European Premiere
United States | 2022 | 12 mins | English subtitles
Outer and inner space collapse in Angelo Madsen Minax’s cosmic essay film, which diffracts feelings, memories, and longings during a blurry sojourn in a remote cabin in the woods. Looking at the stars, flirting with guys on dating apps, taking ketamine (or not), and watching YouTube lecture videos, Minax draws a warped cartography of desire and distance. A humorous, psychedelic and deeply moving work, Bigger on the Inside is the latest in Minax’ transcendent cinema of trans embodiment.
Cabbage | Dir. Holly Márie Parnell | UK Premiere
United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada | 2022 | 28 mins English subtitles
An intimate film made in collaboration with Parnell’s family, Cabbage looks at the complexities of bodily autonomy within an ableist paradigm. Focusing on her brother’s writings using eye tracking technology, and her mother’s memories, she explores how we shape a sense of self under the pervasive weight of unspoken assumptions, categories and fixed definitions that get placed onto bodies. Dissecting layers of language, agency and power, the film is a subtle examination of how a human life is measured and valued.
19:30 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Wolf and Dog | Dir. Cláudia Varejão | UK Premiere
Portugal, France | 2022 | 111 mins | Portuguese with English subtitles Cláudia Varejão’s debut fiction film is a luminous ode to queer communities on the Azores island of Sao Miguel. Culturally specific and delicately nuanced, Wolf and Dog follows protagonist, Ana, as she navigates the stifling forces of religion and tradition in pursuit of the passions and butterflies of new desire. Mirroring Ana’s journey of self-discovery, Varejão’s initially observational style slowly gives way to something more lush and experimental, capturing the gentle unfolding of young love finding its first voice.
19:45 | Maltings Henry Travers | New Cinema Awards
Home Invasion | Dir. Graeme Arnfield | UK Premiere
United Kingdom | 2022 | 92 mins | subtitles
What is to be done when our homes and our dreams have been invaded? Graeme Arfield’s nightmarish plunderphon- ics trace the curious history of the door- bell, from its invention and reinventions through 19th century labour struggles, to the nascent years of narrative cinema and contemporary smart technologies. Home Invasion paints a sensory portrait of technological ideologies and imaginaries shap- ing our everyday lives, staging a confrontation with the reality of machines and systems that work against us, hindering the emergence of radical futures.
22:00 | Maltings Main House | Essential Cinema
Terminal USA | Dir. Jon Moritsugu
United States | 1993 | 60 mins | Subtitles
Funny, gross and outrageously over- the-top, Jon Moritsugu’s cult classic is a maximally irreverent slice of early 90s punk culture satirising representations of the Japanese-American family unit. Newly restored from eyeball-scorching Panavision, this is Moritsugu’s Asian freak- out magnum opus that shocked America when it was broadcast on television in the mid-90’s. The director himself plays twins (a drug-dealing bad-ass and a closeted maths nerd) in a radically dysfunctional family that completely obliterates the noble myth of the “model minority”.
22:30 | Magdalene Fields Golf Club
Festival Club: noodle
Subterranean Sound and GRDN’s off-kilter DJ, event organiser and party- pusher, noodle, invites you to show your bones on the dance floor and work your way through a loose, playful, potent hit of mini- mal, bouncy, bass-driven breaksy sounds
Sunday 5th March
10:30 | Maltings Main House | Filmmakers in Focus
In Focus: Markku Lehmuskallio & Anastasia Lapsui
An open discussion with Markku Lehmuskallio & Anastasia Lapsui who will speak about their collaborative, award-winning filmmaking practice and their personal histories. Prior to filmmaking, Lehmuskallio was a forester, while Lapsui was the first Indigenous radio broadcaster in her region. Since their first work together in 1992, they have forged a collaborative. “Fourth Cinema” approach to filmmaking through documentary and fiction forms. This conversation will explore beyond the four titles in our retrospective, towards a richer picture of their filmmaking oeuvre.
12:00 | Maltings Main House | Filmmakers in Focus
Seven Songs from the Tundra | Dir. Markku Lehmuskallio & Anastasia Lapsui
Finland | 2020 | 90 mins | Nenets and Russian with English subtitles
An anthology of stories made collaboratively with the Nenets, an indigenous nomadic people of the Russian tundra under modern Communist rule. Beautifully composed from both archive material and cinematography, the film blends fiction and documentary to produce a vivid portrait of Nenets culture as told and performed by the people themselves. As the first feature film made in the Nenets language, Seven Songs makes an important contribution to contemporary indigenous cinema and a timely intervention into continuing calls for decolonization in Russia.
12:30 | Maltings Henry Travers | Propositions
Code Names, a screening-performance | Artist Maryam Tafakory | UK Premiere
Iran, United Kingdom | 2022 | TBC MINS | Persian (Farsi), English with English subtitles
An in-person screening-performance by award-winning Iranian artist, Maryam Tafakory, whose textual and filmic collages interweave poetry, documentary, archival, and found material. “To the outsiders, the bystanders, the virtual onlookers, to the disaster capitalist, the hopeless, the failed revolution- ist — from wherever you are standing, come a step closer and listen as we try to rewind, to fast forward, to pause, to look away...”
14:00 | Maltings Henry Travers | New Cinema Awards
Wisdom Gone Wild | Dir. Rea Tajiri | UK Premiere
United States | 2022 | 84 mins | Subtitles
Rea Tajiri’s vibrant, tender cine-poem is fashioned in collaboration with her mother, Rose, as together they confront the painful, curious reality of wisdom “gone wild” in the shadows of dementia. Made over sixteen years, the film blends fact and fiction, humour and sadness, to stage a fragmented, dream-like encounter between mother and daughter that blooms into an affectionate portrait of love, care, and a relationship transformed.
14:15 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
A Mother’s Love For Her Baby | Dir. Éiméar McClay & Cat McClay | World Premiere United Kingdom | 2022 | 17 mins | Subtitles
Using a combination of 3D animation and experimental prose, A mother’s love for her baby explores the corruption and conditions endemic in the Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes run by the Catholic church in Ireland throughout the 20th century. Influenced by Saidiya Hartman’s concept of “critical fabulation” - the use of storytelling to fill the gaps left in historical records - the film advocates for a bottom-up form of historiography: centring historically marginalised voices of Irish women and critiquing the structures of power that (re)produce their dispossession.
Is it a knife because… | Dir. Sirah Brutmann, Eitan Efrat& Sirah Foighel Brutmann | International Premiere | Belgium | 2022 | 25 mins | Hebrew and French with English subtitles.
A film made at home; an uncompromising look at ways in which parenthood and the process of filmmaking crush into each other. Through a collection of family videos, the film challenges the dynamics of agency that children and grown-ups have over their images. Different forms of entangled love and violence are rendered visible and audible within the household setting in an honest attempt to understand where light comes from — and all the while, the police are outside the window.
Music for Solo Performer | Dir. Jenny Brady | World Premiere Ireland | 2022 | 20 mins | Spanish with English subtitles Part-homage, part-sequel, Music for Solo Performer is a filmic reimagining of composer Alvin Lucier’s work for amplified brainwaves, drawing connections between the 1969 composition, speech synthesis and the passing of the filmmaker’s mother. Brady’s disparate assemblage of found sound and image - including EEG analysis, a Jerry Lewis Telethon and the first pizza ordered via synthesized voice - combines to form a densely concentrated transmission of cinematic pleasure, meditating on the relationship between illness and technology with pathos and care.
16:00 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Being in a Place - A Portrait of Margaret Tait | Dir. Luke Fowler | UK Festival Premiere
Peru, Germany, Switzerland | 2022 | 59 mins subtitles
Drawing on a wealth of unseen archival material and unpublished notebooks, the film weaves a complex and personal portrait of Margaret’s life, from the perspective of a fellow artist sensitive to the potential Margaret envisaged for film as a poetic medium. At the centre of the work is an imagining of an unrealised script for a feature film discovered amongst Margaret’s documents in Orkney titled, Heartlandscape: Being in a place - a document of a landscape, and of a journey through it.
16.30 | Maltings Henry Travers | New Cinema Awards
Maputo Nakuzandza | Dir. Ariadine Zampaulo | UK Premiere
Brazil, Mozambique | 2021 | 60 mins Portuguese with English subtitles Translating as “Maputo, I Love You”, Brazilian filmmaker Ariadine Zampaulo’s hybrid cine-poem stitches together elements of documentary, fabulation, performance, and soundscape to produce a polyphonic portrait of Mozambique’s capital city. Her camera beautifully captures the flow and rhythms of urban life unfolding over the course of a single day: Revellers spill from nightclubs as workers board commuter trains; tourists and joggers vie for position in the city’s ancient streets; and a local radio station announces the disappearance of a bride.
17:30 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Ungentle | Dirs. Huw Lemmey & Onyeka Igwe | UK Festival Premiere United Kingdom | 2022 | 37 mins | English subtitles
John le Carré meets Derek Jarman in this subtle reflection on the complex relationships between the development of British espionage and male homosexuality. Based on extensive research and voiced by actor Ben Whishaw, Ungentle draws on the life stories of famous historic operatives from the mid–20th century, from Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess to Noël Coward and Hardy Amies, exploring the tensions between loyalty and lust that ran parallel in the lives of spies and gay men.
AQUERONTE | Dir. Manuel Muñoz Rivas | UK Premiere
Spain | 2023 | 25 mins | Spanish with English Subtitles
Onboard a ferry, a group of passengers cross a river from one side to the other. Manuel Muñoz Rivas’ reflexive, oneiric cine-voyage unfolds as a series of ellipti- cal vignettes in a gently shifting landscape of light and shadows. Through a vaporous fog and half-heard voices we encounter a cast of characters suspended in a floating space. On the water time is expanding and the destination is deferred - motion itself, and the transporting power of images becoming, perhaps, the only certainty.
19:30 | Maltings Main House | New Cinema Awards
Arnold is a Model Student | Dir. Sorayos Prapapan | UK Premiere
Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, The Netherlands, France | 2022 | 85 mins | Thai with English Subtitles
Inspired by the Bad Student movement calling for educational reform in Thailand, Arnold Is a Model Student follows the titular protagonist as he joins forces with the rebellious Bee and an underground syndicate of misfits helping students cheat on their exams. This accessible yet subversive debut feature from Sorayos Prapapan pivots deftly between moments of absurdist humour and heartfelt, urgent gestures of cinematic protest. Combining dramatic details from his own childhood with footage from contemporary news and social media, Prapapan acknowledges a continuum of generational experience and the interplay between reality and fiction.
22:00 | The Barrels Ale House
Festival Closing Social
Join us after the final screening for the Festival Closing Social - a relaxed get-together around the corner at The Barrels Ale House
Town Hall Council Chamber
culture (cultuur) by Fairuz Ghammam
Belgium | 2022 | 15 mins
Staged as a walk through her hometown Kortrijk, filmmaker Fairuz Ghammam’s Culture oscillates in continuous movement between private and public space. How many memories and storylines can coexist?
Hidden Amongst Clouds by Christopher Ulutupu
New Zealand | 2021 | 13 mins Hidden amongst clouds newly imagines stories of Samoan mythology and questions the moral virtues that they uphold. Tales of spiritual figures are a central feature of children’s fables and are used to shape an individual’s character, emphasising morals like truth, obedience and the concept of consequences.
Paradiso, XXXI, 108 by Kamal Aljafari
Palestine, Germany | 2022 | 18 mins
As chilling as it is absurd, Kamal Aljafari’s Paradiso repurposes found footage from Israeli military propaganda and turns it into a fictional drama of men playing at war. Aljafari takes the title from a short story by Borges and describes the work as a “cine- matic self-portrait” - questioning our interpretation of screen violence, its relationship to real-world horrors, and troubling our positionality as spectators.
Tempo by Yu Araki
Japan | 2022 | 20 mins
A quiet, atmospheric portrait of an elderly store owner in the small town of Yagi, Kyoto Prefecture. Yu Araki’s camera carefully observes the curiously named Mr. Yagi’s daily routine and interactions with local customers during the last autumn season for this shop, which is no longer in business. Documenting the passage of time in parallel with processes of depopulation, the title Tempo conjures a double meaning; playing on the Japanese word “tenpo (店舗)” which means “store”.
NOTES TO THE EDITORS
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BERWICK FILM AND MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL is an artistically ambitious and inclusive organisation for new cinema and artists’ moving image. Based in North Northumberland, the Festival leads through collaboration and research. With a resolute commitment to peer support, artistic production and community development, the Film Festival is recognised for its innovative programming and critical engagement.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is a registered charity. It is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and North of Tyne Combined Authority.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival fundraises for all of the artistic programme and the majority of its core costs through partnerships, trusts, foundations and donations. These contributions go directly to supporting all the artists, filmmakers, audiences and creative professionals we work with and allow us to ensure the Festival is as accessible as possible.
We are grateful to all of our funders, sponsors and donors who make the work we do possible. Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and a registered charity.
We fundraise for all of our artistic programme and core costs with support from public bodies, charitable trusts, foundations and individual donations. These contributions directly support the artists, filmmakers, audiences and creative professionals with whom the Festival works.
The principal supporters of the 18th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival are North of Tyne Combined Authority, the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery, Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, Northumberland County Council, and project funders the Sir James Knott Trust and Simpsons Malt.
About the BFI
The BFI Audience Fund invests £5.6m of National Lottery funding each year to expand access and encourage greater enjoyment of cinema by connecting audiences with great films - in venues, at events and online. We do this by supporting:
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.