Saturday 26 November 2016

Saturday 26 November 2016 | 3.30 - 9.30 pm | Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH


Featuring new films of 20 minutes or less and co-curated by Gareth Evans (Whitechapel Gallery) and Nora Foster (Frieze), the Swedenborg Film Festival invites entries from the latest emerging and established talent of experimental and artist film, exploring the theme of 'topographies'.

Judged by the celebrated filmmaker and writer Andrew Kötting, selected films will be screened on Saturday 26 November 2016 at Swedenborg Hall, ‘one of London’s most atmospheric venues’ (The Guardian).

Shortlisted films will be shown as part of a dynamic curated programme, featuring work by Andrew Kötting – who will also judge the submissions and announce the winner at the close of the festival. Artists including Bridget Smith, Jeremy Millar and Lech Majewski have shown work at SFF.

Filmmakers are invited to explore the concept of 'topographies' - a notion encountered in the work of Kötting as well as that of scientist, philosopher, theologian and visionary, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). A foundation of the Romantic, Symbolist and Surrealist artistic traditions, Swedenborg was a seminal influence on generations of radical thinkers from William Blake to Jorge Luis Borges.

The only film festival in the world inspired by the work of a single philosopher, the SFF has received a huge response from thousands of filmmakers around the world since its launch in 2010. The annual festival was re-launched in July 2015 with an expanded framework, a new competition and a fresh commitment to showing the work of international filmmakers who are engaging with themes similar to those that energized Swedenborg. The 2015/16 programme celebrated the award-winning Triptych of the great Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski alongside remarkable shorts by Richard Ashrowan; followed by a dynamic programme of short films on 24 March 2016, judged by the artist Bridget Smith. The latest winners are Toby Tatum and Daphne Rosenthal.

Andrew Kötting is one of Britain’s most intriguing artists, and perhaps the only filmmaker currently practising who could be said to have taken to heart the spirit of visionary curiosity and hybrid creativity exemplified by the late Derek Jarman. Formally exploratory and aesthetically innovative, like Jarman he is also a great collaborator, building around his various projects a community of shared interest, while anchoring his prolific production in an ongoing report on the lives of those closest to him.

His twenty-five-year oeuvre to date has moved from early live-art inflected, often absurdist pieces, ripe with their own internal logics and skewed mythologies, through darkly comic shorts teasing out the melancholy surrealism at the heart of contemporary Englishness to four resolutely independent features that take landscape (rare among contemporary artists, he is most engaged beyond the urban) and journeys as the springboards for visually striking and structurally inventive enquiries into identity, belonging, history and notions of community. Throughout his art works he has also written and performed, created for digital platforms and for the gallery (two- or three-dimensional pieces and installations) and is increasingly working directly with sound and music, in concert and on cd. Such activity reflects both his wide-ranging formal interests but also his refusal to adopt conventional ideas of closure around artworks in any medium. Ideas and images frequently migrate between media, being echoed and amplified in these translations. It is this openness, underpinned by an outlaw intelligence and pranksterish wit that marks out his work as both energising and important. – Gareth Evans - LUX ONLINE - UK

Filmmakers worldwide are invited to submit films of 20 minutes or less, which have been made between 1 July 2015 and 31 July 2016, and can do so through the Film Freway site:


Swedenborg Film Festival is reopen for submissions from 25th March to 30th September 2016.

Awards & Prizes

Selected films will be screened on 23rd and 26th November 2016, to a public audience at Swedenborg Hall, ‘one of London’s most atmospheric venues’ (The Guardian). Works will be shown alongside work by the iconic filmmaker Andrew Kötting, who will also judge the festival; and winners will receive distinctive prizes related to the festival.

Rules & Terms

Guidelines for Submission:

– Films must be 20 minutes or less in length
– Films must have been created between 1 July 2015 and 31 July 2016

Terms & Conditions:

I confirm that I have obtained all necessary written consents from all persons, companies and organizations involved in the making of the film.

I confirm that I hold the rights in this film or relevant permissions necessary to allow the film to be screened for public exhibition at the Swedenborg Short Film Festival 2016. I am willing to produce evidence of such ownership or permissions if required to do so by the Festival Director, Festival Board or Selection Panel.

I hereby grant the Festival the necessary license to screen the film during the
period of the Festival free of charge.

I understand submission of this completed application form and film file/DVD/web link does not guarantee the film's inclusion in the Festival.

I understand that the decision of the Festival Selection Panel to screen the film or not is entirely at their discretion and any decision is final.

I understand the organizers can accept no responsibility for any loss or damage to the film while it is in their hands.

I confirm that I will indemnify the organizers against any claim against them arising directly from the screening of the film, including but not by way of limitation, legal proceedings for libel or defamation.