Programme for festival’s return

The Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) is coming back to the town this year.

By Andrew Coulson
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 6:41 pm
The festival will include the international premiere of Show Me Other Places by Sri Lankan artist Rajee Samarasinghe.
The festival will include the international premiere of Show Me Other Places by Sri Lankan artist Rajee Samarasinghe.

It will take place in Berwick from Friday, September 10 to Sunday, September 12, and also online via its website between September 10 and Thursday, September 30.

Following the entirely online edition in 2020, the event known as the UK’s festival for new cinema and artists’ moving image is returning to in-person screenings in Berwick – mainly at The Maltings – alongside an online edition.

BFMAF’s 2021 programme includes films from 16 international artists and filmmakers who collectively share the Berwick New Cinema Award, workshops, online exhibitions and live performances in the Propositions strand, Essential Cinema, the festival’s retrospective series featuring newly restored film and four individual focuses on filmmakers and filmmaking collectives from from Cambodia, India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

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Rock Bottom Riser by Fern Silva is among the Berwick New Cinema Award films.

Festival director Peter Taylor said: “Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival was created by artists in 2005. From the very outset, solidarity with artists and filmmakers has been central to all of our activities and work.

“We are constantly re-considering the festival's vision, while planning for its best futures. This year, we set out to create possibilities to address how the (Covid-19) pandemic has heightened the already hostile conditions for the production and exhibition of cinema and artists' moving image globally.

“Jemma Desai, who joins us as Head of Programming for the 2021 festival, has been inspirational. Her abilities to articulate and connect social justice work and its practices through to festival production, programming and exhibition have brought many conversations newly alive.”

Returning for a second edition, Work in Progress is a BFMAF programme strand highlighting forthcoming feature-length films.

For 2021’s Work in Progress, the team will focus on Congolese director and visual artist Nelson Makengo’s Rising Up at Night (2022), his feature film debut currently in production.

Jemma said: “Building on Peter’s artistic direction in the last five years and the team’s decision in 2020, we have continued to focus our budgets on bolstering fees for artists at this time of uncertainty and have removed the remaining competitive elements to what was formerly the Berwick New Cinema Competition.

“The ‘New Cinema Award’ is still a place of gathering and sharing the newest work that has shifted us collectively as a group of programmers. But now, the 15 filmmakers in this section each receive a £400 fee and a share of the prize money of £2,000.