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Swedenborg Film Festival 2023 

About the festival

The Swedenborg Film Festival is an annual festival that invites entries of new films of 20 minutes or less from emerging and established independent filmmakers. Now a landmark event in the UK film calendar, the SFF has received a huge response from thousands of filmmakers around the world and has gained a reputation for the quality and diversity of its programming. 

The SFF supports all genres and encourages submissions that draw upon the diverse and radical traditions influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). Artists, writers and filmmakers influenced by Swedenborg include William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, Hilma af Klint, Jorge Luis Borges, Ingmar Bergman and many others. Films featured previously in the SFF have explored ideas of transcendence and symbolism, and themes have ranged from social reform to psychogeography.

Shortlisted films are screened on 2 December during a live event in the Society’s atmospheric neo-classical Hall where winners will be selected and announced by our guest judges. In addition to this the films are available to watch online and open to a public vote. Shortlisted films will be shown alongside invited screenings from established filmmakers.

Former judges

2022: Keith Sargent and Lindsay Seers
2021: Samson Kambalu

2020: Melanie Manchot and John Smith
2019: Chloe Aridjis
2018: Susan Hiller
2017: Ali Smith
2016: Andrew Kötting
2015: Bridget Smith
2014: Peter Fillingham, Nora Foster and Sukhdev Sandhu
2013: Lech Majewski
2012: Gareth Evans and Jeremy Millar
2011: Rosie Cooper and Ian Hunt
2010: Nora Foster and Stephen McNeilly

Awards & Prizes

Selected films are screened online, and live-screened at Swedenborg House. Winners are selected by a guest judge and receive a distinctive prize related to the festival. Online shortlisted films are open to a public vote and prize.

Previous prize winners:

2022: Joshua Alexander (public vote); Parlour Collective, Cecilia Araneda (joint winners)
2021: Alexander Fingrutd (best film); Karen Russo (public vote)

2020: Shirley Snow (best film); Matt Hulse & Sami Fitz (public vote)
2019: Hope Tucker (best film)
2018: Oona Grimes; Andrew Kötting; Alcaeus Spyrou (joint winners: best film)
2017: Fenglin Chen (best film)
2016: Harold Charre; Toby Tatum (joint winners: best film)
2015: Daphne Rosenthal; Toby Tatum (joint winners: best film)
2014: Ezra Wube (best film)
2013: Nick Jordan (best film)
2012: Oliver Pietsch (best film)
2011: Ezra Wube (best film)
2010: Dave Griffiths (best film); Rebecca Siddall (best first film); Chiara Ambrosio & Yaron Bar (joint best animation); Toby Tatum (best sound); Katherine Tulloh (best experimental); Gerard Freixes Ribera (best comedy).

Festival organizers

Festival Curators: Dave Griffiths & Sally O’Reilly
Festival Director: Stephen McNeilly
Director of Technical Operations: Alex Murray
Festival Social Media: Rebekka Cartwright
Festival Coordinator: Simran Hussain
Festival Assistant: Anya Reeve

Swedenborg House

Swedenborg House is a fully inclusive not-for-profit publishing house, museum and cultural venue based in Bloomsbury, London. It hosts a diverse and lively programme of events. Featured speakers and artists have included Simon Armitage, A S Byatt, Brian Catling, Jeremy Deller, Deborah Levy, Iain Sinclair, Marina Warner and many others.

“. . . a centre for the discussion of ideas, particularly the interface between the arts, philosophy and ethics – all trying to get to the heart of the human condition, and our place in the world.” Ken Worpole, writer and social historian on Swedenborg House, 2021.