New Cinema Awards
The Berwick New Cinema Competition becomes the Berwick New Cinema Awards—a non competitive prize that is shared between the filmmakers. The strand encompasses a selection of work that has most spoken to our group of programmers this year and includes what we feel is some of the most distinctive works of new cinema and artists’ moving image being made around the world today.
Language folds and falls in on itself in this new video work by artist duo Cat and Éiméar McClay. Animated 3D tableaus of Catholic paraphernalia and strikes of elemental weather accompany the words. Together, they enact the historically fraught relationship between queerness and the Catholic church.
This screening will be accompanied with in person conversations with Éiméar McClay & Cat McClay (a body is a body is a body) and Rehana Zaman (Alternative Economies).
Alternative Economies was made in conversation with herbalist Rasheeqa Ahmad and financial services regulator Rachel Bardiger. The film discusses the imperialist exploits of the Disney character Scrooge McDuck, and the apparently radical yet deeply compromised promises of cryptocurrency. Between these two strands, possibilities for an alternative network of exchange and subsistence are sought.
Amalia Ulman’s debut feature is a dark comedy. El Planeta explores contemporary poverty, deception, class, and escapism through a tender mother-daughter relationship, played by Ulman and her real-life mother.
In Tim Leyendekker’s debut feature film, victims, perpetrators and their observers offer entangled viewpoints on the 2007 Groningen HIV case in the Netherlands. In this case, three men hosting sex parties drugged others and injected them with their own HIV-infected blood. Feast explores the uneasy complexities, motivations, assumptions and projections of those involved and those watching: the media, the diagnosing professionals, and us, the viewers.
This screening will be accompanied with an in person conversation with Tim Leyendekker and will take place at The Maltings in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Galb’Echaouf delves into the idea of amnesia as the result of an extreme and destructive political context which generated shame and guilt. Conflicts put an end to freedom of movement, and most importantly, to the transmission of types of knowledge passed down over centuries. It is fuelled by the statements and silences of the inhabitants of the region, but also by non-human knowledge present in plants and landscapes.
Suneil Sanzgiri’s recent video trilogy is shown here, in full, for the first time. The series is bookended by his attempts to recreate the landscapes of his father’s birth place in Curchorem, Goa. All three films utilise an aesthetics of distance and proximity to gesture to tensions, possibilities and replications when we search for ourselves in the remnants of colonial histories.
The Festival opens with the world premiere of Idrish (ইদ্রিস) by Adam Lewis Jacob (UK, Bangladesh, 2021).
Idrish acts as an urgent and potent piece of anti-deportation activism. With reports of deportation flights regularly in the news, the film is rich with resonance to our current moment. In one striking sequence, footage of a protest march gives way to staccato editing and propulsive sound design by Claude Nouk, who re-uses and manipulates archival sounds to transform the film into a powerful rallying cry. Radically reanimating the documentary form, Jacob enlivens the archive to tell a vital history.
In La Nave, Colombian artist and first-time filmmaker Carlos Maria Romero (aka Atabey Mamasita) translates the meaning and spirit of Carnival de Barranquilla during a year in which gatherings were forbidden. Through clandestinely filmed performances with members of many different communities—indigenous, trans, queer, rural, Afro-Colombian and radical outsiders among them—Maria Romero recreates northern Colombia’s largest cultural event as an essayistic performance film, demonstrating how Carnival is a lifeblood to its many diverse participants.
In Maat means Land, Fox Maxy (Ipai Kumeyaay and Payómkawichum) has created an intoxicating and urgent film collage that gives invigorating expression to contemporary Indigenous identity, culture and experience. Exploring the question, “what does it mean to come from somewhere?”, Maxy pays homage to the land and his surroundings, whilst challenging us to think about the painful and multi-layered histories that exist within territories scarred by settler colonialism.
Manifesto establishes a multifaceted portrait of an arts academy which has been recently subsumed into a large national university. Through frank and revealing discussions with students, teachers, administrators and other staff, Ane Hjort Guttu establishes links between seemingly disparate topics—from architecture and surveillance to neoliberalism and dysfunctionality—embedded within the framework of contemporary academia.
This screening will be accompanied with an in person conversation with Camara Taylor (suspiration!) and will take place at The Maltings in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
In Passion of Remembrance, Salad Hilowle creates a personal and evocative meditation on Black Swedish identity. Collage-like, Hilowle interlaces archive footage taken from 90s Swedish television with contemporary scenes filmed in rural and urban settings. The result is a dynamic and multi-layered work that interrogates, re-frames and reclaims blackness in Swedish culture.
Rock Bottom Riser is an immersive, exploratory and deeply inquisitive study of an island world at sea. The film fashions a layered and heterogeneous portrait of Hawaii through its cosmogony, its uncertain future and the scattered lens of the present. Through a combination of research, observation of the islands’ landscape and conversation with many different people who call it home, artist-filmmaker Fern Silva highlights the complexity and contradictions of a place which can be understood as beautiful and serene but also under constant existential threat.
In suspiration!, Taylor brings false promises made by the United Kingdom to the surface with pieces of news footage and a spoken testimony describing racism in the UK. Amongst this bleakness, moments of beauty shine through, indicating the possibility for reassurance and hope.