Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2020

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Thank you for joining us for the 16th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival! We would love to hear about your festival experience – please fill in our audience survey here. Don’t forget that event recordings, essays and podcasts will remain accessible on our website. Thanks to all viewers, guests and artists who contributed in making this a truly lively, communal film experience. We look forward to welcoming you to the 17th edition in 2021!

New Cinema Competition

For the first time, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s New Cinema Competition includes Short, Medium and Feature length films. The strand encompasses the Festival’s view of some of the most distinctive works of new cinema and artists’ moving image being made around the world today.

All selected filmmakers will share the Berwick New Cinema Award. This year, it is a non-competitive prize created by reallocating funds that would have ordinarily supported filmmakers’ travel and accommodation at the Festival.

Short Films

Up at Night

In a Kishasha neighbourhood faced with near-constant power outages, residents find creative solutions to the lack of light. The promise of a consistent source of electricity is found in the construction of a hydropower scheme, long in development but not yet completed. The practical and philosophical implications of living in darkness are pondered in this short film.

Short Films

This day won’t last

A day that could also be a life. A young man who could also be an older woman. A nightmare that could also be a dream. In Tunisia, while it could also be somewhere else: on the border between the necessity and the fear to make a film, the necessity and the fear for the revolution, This day won’t last is a cooperation with a distance. That is how this self-portrait turns into a group portrait. Clandestine, but straight from the heart: an end that could also lead to a new beginning. —Mouaad el Salem

Short Films

The Unseen River

Following on from his widely screened and hugely accomplished 2019 short Blessed Land, Phạm Ngọc Lân’s The Unseen River cements the Vietnamese filmmaker’s place as one of the most bold and unique visionaries of contemporary new cinema. The film explores the magic, beauty and intensity of the Mekong River by following several humans and one animal as they all traverse its banks. A young couple visit a pair of monks in a futuristic temple; two former lovers reunite by chance years after their affair; and a spunky black-and-white dog deftly navigates the river landscape tying them all together. Magic and melodrama mix and meld mellifluously along the Mekong.

Short Films

The Cypress Dance

Though one could argue that all the work of artistic duo Mariana Caló & Francisco Queimadela has been invested in bending and folding reality into something unreal, The Cypress Dance stands as their furthest descent into narrative filmmaking and cinéma fantastique. While several hallmarks of the duo’s previous films are present—a transfixed focus on potent objects; a syncretic visual logic that unites diverse images without narration; and the visual and communicative importance of drawing and mark-making—the film pushes towards territory that feels new and surprising.

Short Films

Patrick

Patrick is made entirely from 16mm film and sound recordings produced during a residency at Headlands Centre for the arts, Marin County. The film focuses on the life and work of Patrick Cowley; a singular producer of dance music who pioneered the hi-NRG “San Francisco Sound” in the late 1970s. —Luke Fowler

Short Films

Fuel

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.” Yu Araki’s enticing short film is a measured double portrait, firstly of a place—the Kushiro Robata restaurant in Hokkaido, northern Japan—as well as a person, the expert griller who slow cooks food at the centre of the restaurant over a bed of glowing orange charcoal.

Short Films

Don’t Rush

Three young men—two brothers and their cousin—meet on a dense summer night to feel the “high” of a dozen “Hasiklidika” songs; Rebetiko songs from the beginning of the 20th century which celebrate the effects of Hashish. But beyond the pleasures of drugs, it is here a question of love, of joy and sadness, a search for freedom and political commitment… Little by little, yesterday’s counterculture, made out of poverty and violence, and built on the pains of exile, reverberates the one of today. —Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky

Short Films

At Those Terrifying Frontiers Where the Existence and Disappearance of People Fade Into Each Other

In consultation with Abbas and Abou-Rahme, Only the Beloved Keeps Our Secrets, a second work was chosen to accompany At Those Terrifying Frontiers Where the Existence and Disappearance. Taking the opportunity given by an online Festival, it was felt that this strategy might better simulate the artists’ performance, installation and exhibition making practice for viewers.