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Tickets on Sale and 2020 Essential Cinema and Propositions Slates Announced



14 September 2020

Tickets on Sale and 2020 Essential Cinema and Propositions Slates Announced

Tickets for the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s 16th edition are available to buy online for £7.50. For the price of a single cinema ticket, festival pass holders will access the entire programme of 53 films for three weeks. The festival is taking place entirely online from Thursday 17 September to Sunday 11 October 2020.

The festival’s newly launched website—developed by Glasgow-based graphic and interaction design studio Rectangle in collaboration with graphic designers Emily Tumility and Matthew Walkerdine—will showcase the selected titles on its streaming-on-demand platform, accessible by ticket holders in the UK and by accredited professionals worldwide. SDH captions or subtitles for Deaf and hard of hearing audiences are available for the Berwick New Cinema Competition as well as the Propositions slate, while subtitles accompany the majority of the rest of the programme. Podcasts’ transcripts as well as essays commissioned for the occasion will also be accessible as part of the expanded programme.

The festival is thrilled to announce its 2020 Essential Cinema strand, a pluralist retrospective that provides a revisionist view of what might be considered classic works of cinema. Three films will be shown in the UK for the first time in their restored versions: Márta Mészáros’s fascinating and rarely-seen third feature Szép lányok, ne sírjatok (Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!, 1970, HU) examines the social structures of the Beat era in socialist Hungary; the late Armenian filmmaker Maria Saakyan’s unsentimental debut feature The Lighthouse (Mayak, 2006, RU/AM) follows a young woman embracing an apocalyptic vision of freedom; and the recently rediscovered Badnaam Basti (Alley of Ill Repute, 1971, IN), Prem Kapoor’s bandit musical debut which features Hindi cinema’s first portrayal of queer desire and stakes a belated claim to be one of the Indian New Wave’s most remarkable films. Closing this section is the UK Premiere of Ulrike Ottinger’s Paris Calligrammes (2020, DE/FR): a personal retrospective and filmic collage built around the director’s past present memories of life in Left-Bank Paris during the 1960s.

From Ottinger’s personal and political masterwork looking back to her early career to two artists exhibiting for the first time at a film festival: Kat Anderson’s (UK) video works which enquire into representations of mental illness and trauma as experienced by or projected upon Black bodies in media; and Tiffany Sia’s (HK) experimental exploration of the potential for anti-colonial filmmaking, aiming towards an urgent, process-driven cinema while resisting dominant narratives of the Hong Kong crisis pushed by news journalism. They join the previously announced commissioned films by Renèe Helèna Browne and Zinzi Minott in the 2020 Propositions strand, a hybrid of discussion and online screenings that dive deep into new cinema and share discoveries encountered through artists’ and filmmakers’ research, experience and practice.

Celebrating the inauguration of the festival on Thursday 17 September will be a live sound event by acclaimed musician and sound recordist Chris Watson. The performance draws back to a “dark-cinema” version of Enceindre, a collaboration between Watson and artist-filmmaker Luke Fowler commissioned by the festival in 2018 and featuring an alternative soundtrack created specifically for the Maltings cinema. In times when audiences and films can’t inhabit the same, physical place in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Watson’s acoustic perspectives will create a space of shared experience, broadcast live from 8 pm on Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s new website.

Additional live events, expanded programme content and the 2020 Preview slate — a new programme strand highlighting forthcoming feature-length films — to be announced in the coming days.