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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CILAVS and BIMI: Andrés Di Tella in conversation – 24 March 2017 Essay Film Festival

The Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, CILAVS, and the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, BIMI, present the screening of the film:

327 cuadernos: Los diarios de Ricardo Piglia/ 327 notebooks, written and directed by Andrés di Tella (2015).

Andrés Di Tella will be in conversation with John Kraniauskas (Birkbeck) following the screening.

24 March, 2017, 6-8:30 PM

In Spanish with English subtitles

The filmmaker will be in conversation with John Kraniauskas (Birkbeck) following the screening. This is the Opening Night of the ESSAY FILM FESTIVAL 2017: A Critical Eye For Critical Times

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Cinema 1, The Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5AH

Tickets: £7 to £11

For more information and to book go to ICA’s webpage:

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Essay Film Festival 24 March – 1 April 2017

The Essay Film Festival 24 March-1 April 2017 has now gone live:

We have some fantastic guests coming to the festival this year to show and share their work: Andrés Di Tella, Babette Mangolte, Deborah Stratman, Volker Pantenburg, Werner Dütsch, Kevin B. Lee, Zoe Beloff, Huang Ya-Li, George Clark, Sarah Wood, Ehsan Khoshbakht, and, closing the festival, Jocelyne Saab!

Screenings will take place at ICA, Birkbeck Cinema, and the Goethe-Institute. Some events are free, and tickets for all events are now available for booking.

If you want to follow what’s happening, you can do so on Twitter:

And/or Facebook:

Or simply sign up for our BIMI Newsletter:


Best wishes

Michael Temple

Director of Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and Essay Film Festival

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Essay Film Festival 2016: ‘Orlando Fertito’, Friday 12 February 6-9pm


Essay Film Festival 2016, Prelude #2

UK premiere of Orlando Ferito, Vincent Dieutre, 2013, digital, colour, 115 minutes

With Vincent Dieutre in conversation with Laura Mulvey after the screening.

Tickets £6 or £4 on sale at:

Friday 12 February, 6-9pm, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1


Set in Palermo, and making extensive use of the traditional Sicilian puppets known as “Pupi”, Dieutre’s essay film draws its inspiration from Pier Paolo Pasolini (Disappearance of the Fireflies, 1975) and Georges Didi-Huberman (Survival of the Fireflies, 2009), to paint a personal picture of contemporary Sicilian society and, more broadly, the state of politics in Italy and by extension Europe today.

Vincent Dieutre is known for his first person essay films which explore the limits of documentary and autobiographical fiction (Desolate Rome, 1995). Orlando Ferito is the third film in Dieutre’s Films d’Europe series (Tenebrae Lessons, 2000, and My Winter Journey, 2003), which examines the European subconscious (cultural, sexual, political) from a radically subjective angle (see also Bologna Centrale, 2003).

This event is organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image/Essay Film Festival in collaboration the Institut Français, London.


For more information about BIMI and the Essay Film Festival:


Follow us on Twitter: @Birkbeck_BIMI

See our Facebook page:

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