The Swedenborg Short Film Festival Competition

The Swedenborg Short Film Festival Competition

guest judge Ali Smith

18 November 2017 | 6.30 pm for a 7.00 pm start | Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH | Free admission (but book in advance)


Featuring new films of 20 minutes or less and co-curated by Gareth Evans (Whitechapel Gallery) and Nora Foster (Frieze), the 2017 Swedenborg Film Festival invites entries from the latest emerging and established talent of experimental and artist film, exploring the theme of 'dreams'. Spanning screenings in Swedenborg Hall and installations throughout grade-II-listed Swedenborg House.

This year's featured artists:

Chiara Ambrosio | Louis Benassi | Michelle Brand | Fenglin Chen | Charles-André Coderre | Atobe Hiroshi | Richard Hunter | Esther Johnson | Chay Milne | Julian Olariu | Edward Ramsay-Morin | Stanley Schtinter | Michael Trigilio | Murat Sayginer | and Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

At the close of the festival, guest judge Ali Smith will announce the winner.

Programme of screenings (running times approximate)

Installation (Wynter Room, second floor) 6.00 - 9.00 pm

Retreating the Line Esther Johnson (17 mins, invited screening)

Installations (Gardiner Room, basement) 6.00 - 9.00 pm

Hotel Bardo (Fragments from 6. How Long Must I Dream?) Stanley Schtinter (3 mins, invited screening)

Granular Film—Beirut Charles-André Coderre (7 mins)

Pre-Programme Screening (Hall) 6.00 - 7.00 pm

Light’s Memory Julian Olariu (8 mins)

Introduction and Welcome to SFF 2017 (Hall) 7.00 - 7.10 pm

by curators Gareth Evans and Nora Foster

First Session (Hall) competition shorts 7.10 - 7.55 pm

Delicatessen Fenglin Chen (5 mins)

C-5-11 Edward Ramsay-Morin (3 mins)

Twelve Transmissions from the Occupied States Orbiting the Sun Michael Trigilio (3 mins)

Purple Dreams Murat Sayginer (2 mins)

Drops and Stardust Atobe Hiroshi (11 mins)

Frequency Richard Hunter (4 mins)

Scotch Broth Chay Milne (10 mins)

Not the Same River, Not the Same Man Michelle Brand (5 mins)

Interval 7.55 - 8.10 pm

Second Session (Hall) invited screenings 8.10 - 8.30 pm

Causeway (notes from the) Louis Benassi (10 mins)

Wynken, Blynken & Nod Chiara Ambrosio (3 mins)

Lower Street: A Night Journey Andrea Luka Zimmerman (5 mins)

Award Ceremony 8.40 pm

announcement of winner by Ali Smith

opening of next competition, details announced by Gareth Evans & Nora Foster

Close 9.00 pm

about the guest judge

The Swedenborg Short Film Festival is curated by Gareth Evans (Whitechapel Gallery) and Nora Foster (Frieze). 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. For the 2017 edition, filmmakers were invited to explore the concept of 'dreams' – a theme encountered in the work of scientist, philosopher, theologian and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), as well as those he influenced, from William Blake to Jorge Luis Borges. Artists including Bridget Smith, Andrew Kötting, Jeremy Millar and Lech Majewski have shown work at or judged the SFF.

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She is the author of Free Love and Other Stories; Like; Other Stories and Other Stories; Hotel World; The Whole Story and Other Stories; The Accidental; Girl Meets Boy; The First Person and Other Stories; There but for the; Artful; How to be both; and Public Library and Other Stories. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Baileys Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Folio Prize. Ali Smith lives in Cambridge. Her recent novel Autumn (2016), the first in a four-part series, is short-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.

about the shortlisted filmmakers

MICHELLE BRAND, Not The Same River. Not The Same Man (4.5 mins)

A fisherman takes his boat out on the river. Created with acrylic paints, this animation explores the idea of time and movement in animation.

Born in 1994 in Cologne, Michelle Brand lives and works in London. She is a freelance 2D animator. Brand moved to England to study Animation at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham (2014-17) and is currently studying for an Animation MA at the Royal College of Arts (London). Her films have been shown at the London International Animation Festival, Anifilm, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Athens Animfest. She has won awards including the 'German Multimedia Award' in 2012 and 2016, and was nominated for 'Best Animation' and 'Best Script' by the Canterbury University Film Festival. 

FENGLIN CHEN, Delicatessen (4 mins 40) 

A supermarket love story that plays with food as a metaphor for sensual desire. In this surreal animation, passions turn food alive into uncanny composites of limbs, organs and transcendent possibility. 

Fenglin Chen: Born in 1992, Fenglin Chen lives and works in Macau and Nanjing. She is a recent graduate from the Art Institute of Chicago, who spends most of her time drawing creatures frame by frame. She transferred from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China to the Art Institute of Chicago as a painter and photographer, but after three and a half years of learning and experimenting her major focuses right now are 2D experimental animation and comics. In her work one finds a mixture of social realism, theatrical fiction and aesthetic surrealism. Fenglin Chen on

CHARLES-ANDRÉ CODERRE, Granular Film - Beirut 

Reminiscences of a trip in Beirut.The sea, the palm trees, the buildings melt when my eyelids began to close... My memories now have a separate life of their own.

Charles-André Coderrewas born in 1989 in Montreal, where he still lives and works. He completed a Masters in contemporary experimental cinema at Université de Montréal and is a regular contributor to the film magazine 24images. Dedicated to working with analogue techniques, he is a member of the Montreal collective of experimental cinema Double Negative. He also is in the audiovisual project Jerusalem In My Heart (Constellation Records) alongside Radwan Ghazi Moumneh. Charles-André just completed his first feature film, Desert Cry(Déserts). 

ATOBE HIROSHIDrops and Stardust (1 min 25)

Waterdrops turn into the starry night.

Born in1985 in Nagano, Japan, Atobe Hiroshi is a graduate from Seian University of Art and Design. Atobe Hiroshi is an experimental film maker mainly interested in the kinetic behaviour of household commodities and electrical products. Screenings and exhibitions include ‘Water : Take’ 1, California, USA (2016), Moving-Image-Arts International Short Film Festival, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada (2017), ‘Best Experimental Short Award’ at The Buddha International Film Festival, Pune, India (2017), and So Limitless And Free Film Festival, Beaubien Theatre, Montreal, Canada (2017).  

RICHARD HUNTERFrequency (4 mins 28)

Frequency explores themes of unseen logistics, hidden lives and large-scale invisibility through environmental conflicts. The flow of data and information is considered against the aviation industry and its tension with nature.

Richard Hunter’s filmmaking explores the physical way we interact with our memories, history and moving forward, our obsessions. His process begins with the often simultaneous gathering of audio and image sources through travel (local and international). The combination of material is considered as contemporary collage that questions the fragments, ephemera and details of remaining visual and audible transient memories. 

CHAY MILNEScotch Broth (10 mins 35)

Stovies, pints and hallucinogenic oil. A psychedelic multimedia short set in a lovely wee pub in Aberdeen.

Chay Milne was born in Shetland in 1993 and lives and works in Aberdeen. He is an independent filmmaker with a penchant for vivid animation and growling voices. A graduate of Newport Film School, he enjoys exploring unconventional desire, outdated technology and story telling in pubs. Raised on highland football cinematography and surreal wee towns, he strives to uncover sublimity hidden in regional crevices. His graduate short Papa’s Portable Crematorium(2014) was screened across Brighton and Scottish Kids are Haunted(2016) in Aberdeen Film Festival. 

JULIAN OLARIULight's Memory 

A light bar is floating in space. Are the recorded images and fragments of life playing inside sent from Earth or are they just the product of energy particles? Could this be Earth’s memory card?

Julian Olariu (born 1962) lives and works in Paris, France. His film works have been selected  for The Artist Forum of The Moving Image, New York, NY, USA, 10-13 October 2017; Barcelona International Short Film & Video, Barcelona, Spain, 1-2 October 2017; Defy Film Festival Nashville, Tennessee, USA, 17-18 August 2017. Also working across painting, drawing, sculpture and installations, Olariu has exhibited at Paris White Night, installation, Cloitre des Billettes, Paris (2015), 

Phaedra § Ellipse, Cloitre des Billettes Paris (2014) and Galerie P.M.Vitoux, Paris (1992-2006), Romanian Pavilion of the Universal Exhibition of Seville (1990) and Galateea Gallery, Bucharest (1988). 

EDWARD RAMSAY-MORINC-5-11 (2 mins 46)

An animation bringing together matter and energy, mind and spirit, science and magic.

Edward Ramsay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In the past five years, his films have been screened at festivals and galleries in more than 50 events in 11 countries. Ramsay received an MFA from Syracuse University, and a BFA from the University of North Texas. He currently lives in Huntsville, Texas with his wife and daughter, both of whom are his favourite artists. 

MICHAEL TRIGILIO12 Transmissions from the Occupied States Orbiting the Sun (3 mins 15)

Made from scratch with Photoshop and After Effects, this experiment in sci-fi abstraction wrestles with the visual language of unknown millennia. Questions of occupation, communication, and ‘which sun?’ rise from the grainy visions of other worlds.

Michael Trigiliois a multimedia artist living in San Diego, born in 1975 in San Antonio, Texas. He was a lay-ordained priest in the Zen Buddhist Tiep Hien Order (Order of Interbeing) from 1997 to 2012. His works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Anthology Film Archives in New York, among others. Michael's collaborative public-media project Neighborhood Public Radio was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles (2011). In 2013 he developed Project Planetaria with astrophysicist Adam Burgasser and artist Tara Knight focusing on interpreting stellar-data through performance, sound, and media-work.

MURAT SAYGINERPurple Dreams (2 mins 14)

A short animated film about the transition from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius.

Born in Prague in 1989, Murat Saygıner studied in Paris during his childhood and graduated from Lycee Charles De Gaulle high school in Ankara. Also known as a filmmaker and composer, Murat Saygıner is a self-taught artist who works in the fields of photography and digital art.. He became involved with photography in 2007 and won several international awards. In 2008 his works were selected for '’IPA BEST OF SHOW'’ exhibition in New York. In 2010 he was awarded Emerging Talent of the Year in the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards. He has written, directed and produced several animated short films since 2013.

About the invited filmmakers

CHIARA AMBROSIO, Wynken, Blynken & Nod (4 mins 19) 

Combining analogue, handmade animation techniques- drawing, cut-out, stop-motion, and life-size painting, Wynken, Blynken and Nod escape the pages of the book that contains them and become the surreal and bizarre embodiment of a child on an intimate quest to conquer his own vision.

Chiara Ambrosio is a filmmaker and visual artist working with animation, documentary, sound and the printed matter. She is also the founder and curator of The Light & Shadow Salon at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury. 

LOUIS BENASSICauseway (notes from the)(10 mins)

A ‘Dream-film’, a kind of Aesopian sound and image drift. An Irish politician quotes James Connolly while articulating some basic truths about democracy and the water charge, a Frenchman tells Marie-Ann ‘the ground is difficult’. The causeway is invisible but it’s evidently keeping the somnambulist from drowning….

Louis Benassi began making experimental films in the early 90s. While simultaneously making his own films he went on to programme and curate artist films for several international film festivals He was the founder of the short lived but critically acclaimed ‘Spool Pool’ and ‘Arc-lite’ events which were open public forums for experimental writing and moving image, a visiting tutor at The Chelsea school of Art and The Royal College of Art he is currently Filmmaker in residence at East London University and is working on an a feature length 16mm experimental documentary “London’s Burning 1936-1976” a portrait of London on Fire. Louis Benassi on

ESTHER JOHNSONRetreating the Line 

Retreating the Lineis the sequel toHinterland(2002) shot in Skipsea, on the cliff edge of Holderness, East Yorkshire – home to Europe’s fastest eroding coastline. The film documents the changes to the landscape, moving from the land to the sea edge and beyond. 

Esther Johnson (MA Royal College of Art) is an artist and filmmaker working with moving image, audio and photography. In 2012 she won the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Performing and Visual Arts for young scholars.

Screenings and exhibitions includes BFI London Film Festival; CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; ICA, London; Hull 2017; International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam; Istanbul Biennial; Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Germany; Landscape Institute; NASA, California; Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London. She is Professor of Film and Media Arts in the Art and Design Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. 


A screening of a fragment of work in progress of Schtinter’sHotelBardo: towards an endless work for Brion Gysin.

Stanley Schtinter is chief curator of the Museo de la Bomba, and founder of the death cult, @lonely6438. 

ANDREA LUKA ZIMMERMANLower Street: A Night Journey (5 mins 10)

A film about life in the shadows, survival, the gentle in a gesture that could turn to danger in a beat, but also a critique of simplistic characterisation. Ella, the former (actual) stray, with whom we travel along the Essex Road, shows us the night creatures (human and otherwise) in unexpected ways. 

Andrea Luka Zimmermanis an award-winning filmmaker, founding member of Fugitive Films and cultural activist. Zimmerman's work has been nominated and shortlisted for the Grierson Award, the Aesthetica Art Prize, the Golden Orange and the Jarman Award, among other prizes. She received the Artangel Open Award for her collaborative feature drama Cycle (2014) with Adrian Jackson (Cardboard Citizens). Her forthcoming film Erase and Forget (2017) premiered at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Glashutte most original documentary award. Her first UK solo exhibition Common Ground was at Spike Island, Bristol (2017).