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Experimenta: BFI London Film Festival

Wed 4 - Sun 15 Oct 2017

BFI Southbank & Other Venues
Tickets available from the BFI.
Box Office number 020 7928 3232
Book online

Experimenta is the artists’ moving image section of the London Film Festival and is co-programmed by LUX. This year, the programme includes new films by Kevin Jerome Everson, Filipa Cesar, Duncan Campbell, Moyra Davey, Naeem Mohaiemen, Emily Wardill, Shirin Neshat, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Benedict Seymour, Basma Alsharif, Ben Rivers plus special guest programmes by Experimenta India.

Experimenta is programmed by Benjamin Cook, Helen de Witt, and William Fowler.


Programme

Wednesday 4 October

6.30pm, VUE5
The Mærsk Opera

Directed by Superflex
The Mærsk Opera
is a work of staggering ambition in production and storytelling that matches the stature of its controversial subject – one of Europe’s most contentious building projects. The Mærsk Opera is a musical reworking of the machinations behind the construction of the giant edifice of Copenhagen’s new opera house.

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Thursday 5 October

1.15pm, NFT3
The Mærsk Opera

Directed by Superflex
Buy tickets online here.

2pm, BFI Southbank Blue Room
Experimenta Symposium: Artists’ Film in Asia

The symposium will explore current initiatives and consider the national contexts in which the panellists work, and will include screenings of contemporary work. Chaired by writer, curator and academic May Adadol Ingawanij with Hung Tran Duy, writer, curator and producer (Vietnam), Manshur Zikri, curator and researcher (Indonesia), Shai Heredia, artist and Director of Experimenta India.

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6.30pm, NFT3
Tonsler Park

Directed by Kevin Jerome Everson
A film at the edge of history, about the workers of democracy in America on November 8, 2016. Everson’s unobtrusive observational style divulges the mechanisms behind the operation of Election Day. Filmed at polling stations in Charlottesville, Virginia, we see the mainly African American officials set up, operate the balloting and explain procedures.

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9.00pm, NFT3
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask

Directed by Isaac Julien
World premiere of the new digitally-remastered 2K version of Isaac Julien and Mark Nash’s celebrated experimental documentary about the Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist and revolutionary. Frantz Fanon was an Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary whose inspiring, ground-breaking writing of the 1950s and 1960s explored the psychopathology of colonisation.

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Friday 6 October

1.15pm, NFT3
Spell Reel

Directed by Filipa César
This debut feature from Portuguese artist Filipa César is a powerful reflection on cinema’s role in the creation and legacy of West African political history and national identity. Spell Reel follows the process to preserve the history of revolutionary cinema in Guinea-Bissau, particularly the work of filmmakers Sana Na N’Hada, Flora Gomes, José Bolama Cobumba and Josefina Crato, which documented Guinea-Bissau’s war of independence from Portugal.

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3.45pm, NFT3
A Blemished Code

Directed by Anne-Marie Copestake
Poetic study of the life and work of artist Margaret Benyon, pioneer in the artistic use of holography. Giving voice to the unsung legacy of a pioneering woman artist, A Blemished Code is an impassioned meditation on the representation of female artists, the balancing of creative and domestic life, and the inherent tensions of being a woman working with new technology.

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6.30pm, NFT3
Hemlock Forest

Directed by Moyra Davey
A profoundly personal essay film, reflecting on the value of a life lived versus a life recorded and inspired by the work of influential Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman. Moyra Davey examines her own artistic strategies alongside the work of Karl Ove Knausgård and Akerman. During the making of the film, Akerman took her own life. The filmmaker’s unexpected death soon engulfed Davey’s awareness, prompting a broader exploration of Akerman’s and her own biographies, amidst more universal themes of compulsion, artistic production, life and its passing.

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8.45pm, NFT3
Tripoli Cancelled

Directed by Naeem Mohaiemen
Acclaimed as one of the must-see works of documenta 14, this is a haunting metaphorical take on the physical and mental isolation of the migrant experience. Inspired by the director’s father’s experience of being trapped in Greece’s Ellinikon Airport without a passport in 1977, the film follows a week in the life of a man who has been living in limbo at an airport for a decade. All promises of movement are ultimately met with stasis in this profound evocation of our epoch of desperate migration.

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Saturday 7 October

1pm, NFT3
Om Dar B-Dar

Directed by Kamal Swaroop
The UK premiere of India’s legendary underground cult classic finally reaches our screen, fully restored, 25 years after it was made. Om Dar-B-Dar is a fantastical portrait of life in a mythical small town. It tells the story of Om, a young boy enjoying the carefree moments of his adolescence and enduring its harsher disillusionments.

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3.40pm, NFT3
No Trace Of Accelerator

Directed by Emily Wardill
Jarman Award winner Wardill gets Brechtian on the true story of a series of seemingly unconnected fires that suddenly combusted in an isolated French town in the 1990s, evoking an uncanny sense of the troubling emotions the fires unleashed in the community.

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Sunday 8 October

12pm, BFI Southbank Studio
Experimenta Salon with Anne-Marie Copestake and Shambhavi Kaul

For the first of this year’s Experimenta Salons we invite two artists featured in the programme but who have never met to discuss their work with Experimenta Programmer and Director of LUX Benjamin Cook. The Salon will explore potential points of connections in Anne-Marie Copestake’s (A Blemished Code) and Shambhavi Kaul’s (Hijacked) work in the context of contemporary moving image practice and in relation to the wider Experimenta programme.

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2.00pm, NFT3
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask

Directed by Isaac Julien
Buy tickets online here.

3.15pm, NFT3
Excavating Loss (Short Film Programme)

Programmed and introduced by Shai Heredia, Director of Experimenta India
Landscape and architecture bear witness to melancholia, decay and desire. From politics to folklore, poetry to drama, these films map out a collision of tradition and modernity.

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5.45pm, NFT3
Le Fort des Fous

Directed by Narimane Mari
Algerian director Narimane Mari’s lustrous triptych, a pointed reflection on colonial power and the ideological underpinnings of modern day migration, defies classification. Building on the groundwork laid by the radical and playful Bloody Beans, Mari’s second feature is a wide-ranging and pointed exploration of colonial power and its legacy.

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9.00pm, NFT3
Spite Your Face

Directed by Rachel Maclean
Simultaneously sumptuous and gorgeous, garish and grim, this is a re-working of Pinocchio for the neo-liberal era. Rachel Maclean’s dark fairytale, that represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale, depicts a brash and baroque binary world of poverty and riches where the prospect of easy wealth tempts even good boys like Pic into bad ways. But if everyone believes the lie, what’s the problem?

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Monday 9 October

8.45pm, ICA
Spell Reel

Directed by Filipa César
Buy tickets online here.

Tuesday 10 October

6.15pm, ICA
Erase and Forget

Directed by Andrea Luka Zimmerman
An excavation of the influence of fiction on truth in the American imagination of warfare and gun culture. ‘Bo’ Gritz is one of the most decorated Vietnam vets. He inspired the character of Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo. But when disenchantment set in at covert methods of suppression, he turns whistle-blower to high level collusion and corruption in the US Government, making him an official outcast.

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8.45pm, ICA
Dead The Ends

Directed by Benedict Seymour
Bookended by the 2011 London riots, Seymour’s dramatically, politically urgent new film, making its world premiere at the LFF, retells the story of Chris Marker’s La Jetée. A man has been sent back into the past as a way of rescuing the future, his tale told by way of the Narrator who riffs on familiar film dialogue and contemporary references – unpicking the political implications of his journey and our retro obsessions.

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Wednesday 11 October

2pm, BFI Southbank, Studio
Experimenta Salon with Filipa César and Narimane Mari

Questions of how international artists’ film engages with political realities and histories will be the focus for this Experimenta Salon that brings together artists Filipa César (Spell Reel) and Narimane Mari (Le Fort des Fous) in conversation with Experimenta Programmer Helen de Witt. The Conversation will explore legacies of violent expansionism by European colonial powers, questions of migration and the failure of current economic systems.

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6.10pm, BFI Southbank, Studio
Les Fort des Fous

Directed by Narimane Mari
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Friday 13 October

1pm, BFI Southbank, Studio
The Experimenta Pitch Award

For this special speed pitching event the Festival teams up with Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) to offer a chance to win the Experimenta Pitch Award of £1000 towards development costs for a new project. Ten selected artist-filmmakers will give a short pitch to an international panel of leading artists’ film producers, including David Segal Hamilton (BFI Film Fund), Dionne Walker (Diverseworld, Diverseaudiences, Diversefilms Ltd.), Elhum Shakefir (Independent Producer), (Madeleine Molyneaux (Picture Palace Pictures), and Maggie Ellis (Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network).

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6.30pm, NFT3
Ouroboros

Directed by Basma Alsharif
An homage to the Gaza Strip, artist Basma Alsharif’s first feature is an extraordinarily smart and poetic proposition for the power of hope against hopelessness. This experimental narrative film turns the destruction of Gaza into a universal story of heartbreak, asking what it means to be human when humanity has failed. It follows a nameless man on a circular journey over a single day.

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9pm, NFT3
Life Imitation

Directed by Chen Zhou
A virtual futuristic vison of a dark new world mediated through gaming, chatrooms and sexting, which exposes the conjunctions of technology, communication and gender. Structured through a dexterous mix of verité footage of young life in China, mobile phone screens and the ultra-violence of Grand Theft Auto that represents American life, Life Imitation focuses on young women exploring their identities and pushing their boundaries in the real and the virtual worlds.

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Saturday 14 October

12.30pm, BFI Southbank, Studio
Experimenta Salon with Chen Zhou in conversation with Erika Balsom

Join NEW:VISION Award-winning artist Chen Zhou in conversation with Art Critic, Researcher and Senior Lecturer at Kings College London Erika Balsom for a Salon that will take Chen’s Life Imitation as a starting point for a conversation about identity, subjectivity and desire in a technologically mediated world where the fragility of the self intersects with the hyper-stereotyped gender roles of online representations.

Sold out. More details here.

3.45pm, NFT3
Surface Tensions (Short Film Programme)

Programmed by Helen de Witt
The environment, both natural and built, becomes transferred and layered into moving images that through observation, manipulation and humour, confront purpose and confound expectation.

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6.30pm, NFT3
Lek and the Dogs

Directed by Andrew Kötting
Combining science fiction, fairytale and archive, this story of a lost boy carries reminiscences of Tarkovsky. Based on the play by Hattie Naylor, Lek leaves his parents for a life with dogs. An enfant sauvage, he grows into society with emotional connections and values at odds with the world, leading to conflict and confusion. Kötting’s account of this ultimate outsider uses an extended range of visual styles derived from avant garde and genre cinema, creating a visual meditation on what it means to be an alien.

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9.20pm, NFT3
The Pure Necessity

Directed by David Claerbout
A hypnotic and lyrical reworking of The Jungle Book, that removes its anthropomorphism and its human characters to give the animals back their dignity. The artist redrew all the animated animals and deconstructed the narrative arc to render it eventless, thus giving the impression of watching the animals in their natural surroundings and unaware of any human presence.

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Sunday 15 October

2pm, BFI Southbank, Studio
Experimenta Salon Anatomy of an Artists’ Film Production with Andrea Luka Zimmerman

Focusing on Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s creative process in making her new long form work Erase and Forget, this Salon event will examine the production history of the film. Chair Experimenta programmer Helen de Witt will be joined by the artist, and members of her team, producers Ameenah Ayub Allen, Gareth Evans, Marta Michalowska, and editor Taina Galis for an illustrative conversation that forensically examines the complex production journey of the incredible Erase and Forget.

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4pm, RICH MIX
Dead The Ends

Directed by Benedict Seymour
Buy tickets online here.