Last night the British Federation of Film Societies held their annual award ceremonies for innovative film exhibition, and I’m excited to say that PASSENGERFILMS - the cultural geography themed cinema which I founded three years ago, and have worked on with a team of other volunteer PhD students since – won the national award for Best Film Education Programme for the second year running. (Above – me on stage at NFT1, accepting the award!) Congratulations to the PASSENGERFILMS committee, Miranda Ward, Mia Hunt, Liz Haines, and Harriet Hawkins. This means our programme of cultural geography themed events over the last twelve months has once again been nationally recognised, thanks in no small part to the fantastic speakers, researchers, and guest curators with whom we’ve been collaborating. Full information on all of our previous screenings is on the blog here, and some photos of recent screenings follow below.
The BFFS awards ceremony followed on from the National Conference for Community Cinemas – programme and notes here – which this year addressed the theme of ‘film societies of the future’, and included a special essay on that topic by Professor Ian Christie titled ‘Film Societies Past and Future’. The BFI ceremony included talks by BFFS President and Vice President Derek Malcolm and Peter Cargin, and was a good reminder of the valuable work the BFFS does throughout the year in supporting cinematic organisations all over Britain with its network and resources. It was incredibly inspiring to meet some of our more far flung companions who are involved with innovative film exhibiting and curating all over Britain, including the winners in the other categories (a full BFFS newspage on the award holders will be available shortly).
For those interested in more details, our full application for the award, explaining our relevant activities, is available here: Passengerfilms BFFS pdf. The article on last year’s win can still be seen on the Royal Holloway website (‘Students win industry award for giving film goers a taste of geography’), and blog posts and short essays on some of our recent screenings are available on the Landscape Surgery blog.
Some testimonials from this year:
“PASSENGERFILMS is a gloriously eclectic presence. In a world where pre-packaged events dominate the entertainment scene, PASSENGERFILMS brings unpredictability, eccentricity and wisdom in all the right measure. They are their own small chapter in visual history.”
Dr, Hayden Lorimer, Reader in Geography, University of Glasgow
“The questions and conversations that followed from my talk at PASSENGERFILMS prompted fresh connections and unexpected lines of enquiry. This is a format that can only grow in popularity. It is a unique forum for exhibiting films and exchanging ideas. I will certainly stay involved in the future.”
Dr. Jonathan Hicks, Junior Research Fellow in Music, Lincoln College, Oxford
“PASSENGERFILMS provided the perfect forum for Michelle Raheja, Felix Driver and I to think across regions in terms of indigenous visual representation, and in particular to consider the challenges of conveying our research to a general public.”
Dr, Charlotte Gleghorn, Researcher in Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London
“Curating a PASSENGERFILMS evening was one of the highlights of my year in London. Putting together a programme that revolves around a film (or set of films) is a challenge. Reaching out to an audience of people who are all critical thinkers but who have varying levels of involvement with academia and geography also adds an extra challenge. Responding to these challenges, as well as the challenge of using film and speakers to initiate ongoing discussions, forced me – and I hope my co-presenters and the audience as well – to rethink their position regarding cinematic and geographic (non-)representation.”
Dr. Phil Steinberg, Professor of Political Geography, Durham University
“PASSENGERFILMS is an artful path through the academic world of film theory towards cinema as live event where geography, history, and film poetry meet.”
Kieron Maguire, founder, The Cabinet of Living Cinema
Our next screening event will be taking place a month today, on Wednesday the 23rd October at Somerset House, as part of the Inside Out Festival, a celebratory week of events in multiple venues run annually by The Culture Capital Exchange, which highlights the best work by projects working between Higher Education and the cultural and creative sectors in London. This screening will be on the theme of cine-zoos – film media and the animal spectacle – and will include the startling new feature length documentary Blackfish, on the ethics of the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry, and the first ever zoo-horror, a hand-stencilled French film by Gaston Velle, La Peine du Talione (1906) (Blurb: sumptuously winged insects seek revenge for the injustices brought about by the practice of lepidoptery: the catching of species of butterflies and moths for the purposes of observation.)
Full event details and poster will shortly go up on the PASSENGERFILMS blog as usual, but I can confirm that the speakers will be drawn from across the fields of geography, theory, film and media studies, and animal studies/ zoology: with Anat Pick, Chris Bear, Henry Buller, Jamie Lorimer, and Michael Lawrence confirmed,
A particularly exciting development tying in with this is that a little later this academic year we will be doing some explicit teaching at Royal Holloway, involving graduate students in curating practice, as well as working with film licensing and exhibiting. Meanwhile, anyone who’s interested in proposing a collaboration in the future, or has any ideas or proposals, do feel free to get in touch with Miranda at miranda.ward(at)gmail.com (I’m not handling email regularly again until I submit my PhD!).
Above: BFFS award 2012 (right) and 2013 (left), and a soon-to-be-drunk bottle of champagne from the Moving Picture Licensing Company…