The Essay Film Festival – starting Friday 22 March

The Essay Film Festival is back… starting on Friday 22 March with the opening of our first ever exhibition in the Peltz Gallery, Art at the Frontier of Film Theory: the Work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, with extra screenings, workshops and conversations… please spread the word!

 

Now in its fifth edition, the annual Essay Film Festival, is a collaboration between Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, celebrating the diversity and creativity of those artists and visionaries who work in that unique zone between documentary and experimental modes of filmmaking.

 

This year’s programme features a range of bold and innovative works that cross terrain from Argentina to Hong Kong, Iran to Mexico, USA to Lebanon, Nigeria to UK, embracing themes as varied as cancer, childbirth, the Faust legend, urban decay, workers’ strikes, psychoanalysis, colonialism, natural history, and Finnegans Wake!

 

These films will challenge your perception of the world, your understanding of reality and your place within it; they will move you, surprise you, and inspire you.

 

How does film connect intimate personal choices to political commitment; the archived or forgotten past to the socially active present; the beauty of cinema to terror, injustice and despair? How does film engage with the real while questioning the established forms of film language? And how can film touch us, emotionally and viscerally, and yet maintain that vital reflective edge?

 

Directors Mania Akbari & Douglas White, Andrea Bussmann, Dora García, Christopher Harris, Mary Jirmanus Saba, Bo Wang & Pan Lu, Onyeka Igwe and Jessica Sarah Rinland, all utilise the essay film in different ways to explore these searching questions in this year’s Essay Film Festival.

 

The full programme for EFF 2019 can be found here.

 

Come and join us!

 

Michael Temple, Matthew Barrington, Kieron Corless, Catherine Grant, Janet McCabe, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey, on behalf of the Essay Film Festival

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CFP Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations – Submissions Deadline 31 January 2018

Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations 

Escaping Escapism in Fantasy and the Fantastic

26th – 27th April 2018

What is the role of fantasy and the fantastic? Why—and perhaps more crucially, how—does the genre matter? Fantasy theorists frequently define the genre in opposition to what is possible and real: Kathryn Hume, for instance, sums it up in Fantasy and Mimesis as “departures from consensus reality”. Critics often scrutinize this departure as a negative, and disparage representations of the fantastic either due to their failure to depict real world issues or their presumed attempts at “escapism.” This perceived link between fantasy and escapism is so strong that dictionaries like the Oxford English Dictionary define escapism as “engaging in fantasy”.

Despite this association, a growing body of evidence asserts both that escapism can be healthy and that the fantastic can influence how its consumers perceive real world issues even when their representations are deemed problematic. For example, though readers and scholars have criticized the portrayal of minority groups in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, studies suggest that people who read the series are more accepting of stigmatised groups and more likely to vote for political candidates whose policies support these groups. And while some critics view the creation of fictional Secondary Worlds as a troubling detachment from reality, creativity scholars have drawn links between creating imaginary worlds as a child and high achievement in artistic and scientific fields later in life. Escapism is perhaps not as escapist as it was previously perceived to be, and even when it is, it can have a positive impact. The “escapism accusation” is being flipped on its head, with texts as disparate as Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Normal Again” presenting the rejection of the fantastic in favour of “reality” as the dangerous escapist behaviour. The traditional dynamic between escapism and the fantastic is constantly being changed and renegotiated.

This two-day symposium seeks to examine and honour the relationship between escapism and the fantastic. We welcome proposals for papers on this theme from researchers and practitioners working in the field of fantasy and the fantastic across all media, whether within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers.

We will offer workshops in creative writing for those interested in exploring the creative process.

We ask for 300-word abstracts for 20-minute papers, as well as creative presentations that go beyond the traditional academic paper.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Intersections and interplays between fantasy and reality.

– Metatextual responses to escapism in fantastic texts and media.

– Theoretical and/or critical discussions of escapism in relation to fantasy and the fantastic, broadly defined.

– Relationships between Secondary Worlds and the Primary World; relationships between world and characters.

– Reading, writing, and engaging with fantasy as a political act; the depiction of real world issues, or lack thereof, in fantastical settings and contexts.

– Representations of the fantastic in media associated with escapism, such as live-action role-playing, board games, tabletop role-playing games, television, etc.

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word biography in separate editable documents (not PDF) to submissions.gifconference@gmail.com by Wednesday, the 31st of January 2018.

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