Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) is an artistically ambitious organisation for new cinema and artists’ moving image based in North Northumberland on the English border with Scotland.
A work in progress, leading through collaboration, it has a resolute commitment to the mutual development of the artists, audiences, filmmakers and programmers that make the festival possible.
The Festival enacts pluralist ideas of contemporary cinema, its history and curation. Short, medium or feature-length Festival selections can include arthouse, documentary or genre cinema; artists’ moving image and sound; world premieres and freshly restored archival titles; or live, installation-based or performative works of cinema. Together, they hold shared and overlapping interests in asking what new cinema might be.
BFMAF also strives to understand and work towards optimal exhibition conditions for artists and filmmakers’ work within the resources and contexts it has available. In evaluating this, the accessibility of audiences and communities that it is involved with – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally are of utmost consideration.
As if to answer the question ‘what can moving images be and do in this disquieting moment?’, BFMAF suggests they can be time machines, maps, love letters, poems, ghosts, fever dreams, missives, manifestos. They can also explode.
Elena Gorfinkel, Art Monthly
The 18th edition of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival took place from Friday 3 – Sunday 5 March 2023 in Berwick-upon Tweed.
The Festival’s New Cinema Awards champion filmmakers who push against boundaries of genre, form and convention, disarming expectations and enlivening our relationship with cinema. Rather than offering a single prize, chosen by a jury, since 2020 the awards have been jointly shared by all selected filmmakers.
BFMAF was like a potion that, once consumed, transformed the whole world into a cinema.
Christopher Small, MUBI Notebook
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s cinema and exhibitions programmes have presented profiles of Kira Muratova (Ukraine), Marwa Arsanios (Berlin/Lebanon), Shireen Seno & John Torres (Philippines), Sky Hopinka (USA), Ali Khamraev (Uzbekistan), Peggy Ahwesh (USA) and Sophia Al-Maria (Qatar/USA). Recent curated programmes have included Animistic Apparatus, Fantastika, An Early Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema before Stonewall and Screening the Forest.
Recurring Festival strands include Essential Cinema—a pluralist retrospective series, proposing revisions and additions to what might be considered canonical cinema —and Propositions a discursive setting–a screeening, discussion or performance where filmmakers and curators offer first hand perspectives and interesting complications, expanding their work and contextualising aspects of their research and practice. SCREENTIME is filmmaking with and for young people. If you are under 21 and interested in participating in future SCREENTIME projects, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.