Open City Documentary Festival

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On Film Writing: Forms and Histories

Convened by Erika Balsom and Elena Gorfinkel, this day-long event will focus on the practice of writing about cinema, particularly as it takes shape on the margins of mainstream film criticism and academic publishing. Bringing together a group of contributors for a series of presentations, readings, and conversations, it will explore the role of small film publications in the past and present, consider matters of editorial practice, examine how criticism intersects with filmmaking and creative writing, and excavate the history of heterodox forms of writing about cinema.

This is a full day event from 10:00-17:30

Panels and discussions featuring: Erika Balsom, Gareth Evans, Simon Field, Elena Gorfinkel, Juliet Jacques, Giovanni Marchini Camia, Mandy Merck, Daniella Shreir, Shola von Reinhold, Georgie Carr, amongst others.

Remote readings by: Fabio Andrade, Nicole Brenez, Terri Francis, James Lattimer, Dennis Lim, Adrian Martin, Laura Mulvey, Julian Ross, Ellen Scott and Mike Sperlinger.

The structure of the day will be as follows:

10 – Introduction and welcome

10:20 – 11:45 – Panel discussion on feminist film criticism with Georgie Carr, Juliet Jacques, Mandy Merck, Daniella Shreir

12:00 – 13:45 – Panel discussion on little magazines with Gareth Evans, Simon Field, Giovanni Marchini Camia

Break for lunch

14:45 – 15:30 – Shola von Reinhold reading

15:45 – 17:00 – Conversation, “Film Writing: Forms and Histories” with Erika Balsom and Elena Gorfinkel

Erika Balsom is a scholar and critic based in London, working on cinema, art, and their intersection. She is Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London and holds a PhD in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University.

Elena Gorfinkel is a film scholar and critic. She writes about independent, underground, experimental film, contemporary global cinema and artist’s films, and women’s film histories. She is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London.

Gareth Evans is a writer, editor, film / event producer and Whitechapel Gallery’s Adjunct Moving Image Curator. He commissioned and co-produced the essay films Patience (After Sebald) by Grant Gee (Artevents, 2011), Things (Ben Rivers, FVU, 2014) and World Without End (Jem Cohen, Estuary, 2016). He has programmed major retrospectives of the films of Jem Cohen, Mike Dibb, Xiaolu Guo, Alexander Kluge, Chris Marker, Jonathan Meades and Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen, alongside numerous film / event seasons and festivals across the UK.

Between 1970 and 1988 Simon Field was a freelance writer and programmer.  In 1970 he founded and co-edited the film journal Afterimage devoted to independent film. 13 special issues were published including ones on Third World Cinema, English Independent Cinema, Derek Jarman, Animating the Fantastic and Michael Snow. He went on to be director of cinema at the ICA, then director of the Rotterdam Film Festival. In 2005 joined Illuminations Films as a producer working mainly with Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Juliet Jacques is a writer and filmmaker based in London. Her books include Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015) and her short story collection Variations (Influx Press, 2021). Her essays, journalism and short fiction have been published in numerous publications; her short films have screened in galleries and festivals worldwide. She co-hosts Suite (212) on Resonance 104.4fm, which looks at the arts in their social, cultural, political and historical contexts, and teaches at the Royal College of Art and elsewhere.

Giovanni Marchini Camia is a Berlin-based writer, editor and programmer. He is the co-founder of Fireflies Press and a member of the Locarno Film Festival’s selection committee for feature films. His writing has appeared in Sight & Sound, Film Comment and Cinema Scope, among others.

Mandy Merck is Professor Emerita of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. She has edited the film and television journal Screen and the Channel 4 television series Out on Tuesday. Her books include Perversions: Deviant Readings, In Your Face: Nine Sexual Studies, The Art of Tracey Emin (co-edited with Chris Townsend), Hollywood’s American Tragedies and The British Monarchy on Screen.

Daniella Shreir is the founder and co-editor of Another Gaze journal and founding programmer of Another Screen. She is also a translator from the French. In 2019, her translation of Chantal Akerman’s My Mother Laughs won a PEN award.

Shola von Reinhold is a Scottish writer. Shola has been published in the Cambridge Literary Review, The Stockholm Review, was Cove Park’s Scottish Emerging Writer 2018 and recently won a Dewar Award for Literature. Her debut novel, LOTE, is out now.

Georgie Carr is a CHASE funded doctoral student at the University of Sussex, researching the relationships between policing, film and the UK built environment. She is a staff writer for Another Gaze and writes long-form criticism for a range of publications.

“Convened by Erika Balsom and Elena Gorfinkel, this day-long event will focus on the practice of writing about cinema, particularly as it takes shape on the margins of mainstream film criticism and academic publishing.”