Steve Presence introduces the Bristol Radical Film Festival, on from 7-9 October.
The Bristol Radical Film Festival returns this October for its fifth year celebrating political, activist and experimental filmmaking. This season’s programme promises an exciting blend of some of the newest and provocative features, including the winners of our international short film competition, alongside a number of rarely screened classics.
There is a timely showing of A VERY BRITISH COUP, the 1980s made-for-TV drama about the obstacles facing a newly elected left wing labour government, and rare screenings of BLACK IS… BLACK AIN'T and SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM by the legendary US filmmakers, Marlon Riggs and William Greaves. Two outstanding contemporary feature films: SLEAFORD MODS - INVISIBLE BRITAIN, about the radical anti-austerity, post-punk band Sleaford Mods; and LIGHT YEARS, the acclaimed first feature from Bristol-based director Esther May Campbell, offer current explorations on life in contemporary Britain.
Bristol Radical Film Festival was set-up in 2011 to provide a platform for politically-engaged, aesthetically innovative cinema, and is now part of The Radical Film Network, an international network of similar organisations involved in progressive, alternative film culture.
Venue: The Jam Jar Collective, 4a The Old Malt House, Little Ann Street, BS2 9EB
Festival Pass: £30 | All individual screenings: £6/4
Before the festival is our INSIGHT/INCITE SEASON, a collaboration between Bristol Radical Film and black cinema collective Come the Revolution. A triple bill of screenings, the first two of which are Thursday 8th and Friday 9th October at Trinity: 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
A Very British Coup 7.30pm - 10.30pm
[Mick Jackson, 1988, 2hr 28m]
A Jeremy Corbyn special! Based on the 1982 novel by Chris Mullin, this political thriller stars Ray McAnally as Harry Perkins, a newly-elected socialist prime minister. As he sets about pursuing policies of open government, nuclear disarmament and the breakup of press monopolies, the Establishment deploy all means at their disposal to bring him down in… a very British coup. Given recent events in the real Labour Party, this film is no longer just a fascinating political fantasy: it’s training.
Black Is… Black Ain’t - 1.00pm - 3.00pm (£6/4)
[Marlon Riggs, 1995, 1hr 27m]
The final film from the legendary US filmmaker, poet and gay rights activist, Marlon Riggs, Black Is… Black Ain’t is a powerful critique of sexism, patriarchy, homophobia and cultural nationalism in American society. Blending performance and poetry with commentary by noted cultural critics Angela Davis, bell hooks, Cornel West and Michele Wallace, Black Is...Black Ain't is a rich tapestry of personal testimony, music and history that rejoices in black culture, diversity and creativity.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm and discussion feat. BEEF - 4.00pm - 6.30pm
[William Graves, 1991, 1hr 15m]
Made in 1971 but unreleased until 1991, director William Greaves' weird and unexpected masterpiece is a film about a couple in crisis. But - it's also a documentary about making that film, then again punctured by secret recordings by the crew about the director's method. The original intimacy of the film transforms over and over to encompass the wider world of politics and art. This 'meta' film, which the New Yorker calls "one of the greatest movies about filmmaking ever made" is not the clumsy theoretical art piece it might sound like, but a genuine hidden gem from the underground. The discussion will be led by the Bristol Expanded and Experimental Film (BEEF) collective.
Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain with Director Q&A - 8.00pm-10.00pm
[Nathan Hannawin and Paul Sng, 2015, 1hr 26min]
This documentary depicts the most relevant and uncompromising British band in years sticking two fingers up to the zeitgeist and articulating the rage and desperation of those without a voice in austerity Britain. Part band doc, part look at the state of the nation, Invisible Britain follows Sleaford Mods on a UK tour prior to the 2015 General Election, visiting the neglected, broken-down and boarded-up parts of the country that many would prefer to ignore.
As Maxine Peake put it: “If you're angry about the bullying ruling bastards and you give even half a toss, you have to watch this film”.
(Suggested donation £4)
As Victorian anarchist legend Emma Goldman may or may not have said: “if I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution.” Join BRFF DJs DJ Dad, Screwface and Mo as we turn our screening space at the Old Malt House into a dance floor for the evening, playing everything good from funk and soul to lairy bass music. Til late, no fighting.
Short films - 2.00pm - 4.00pm
[~various artists~, 90mins]
This is the cream of the crop from the 2000+ submissions to our annual short film competition. From radical filmmakers all over the world, these contemporary short films have been selected to showcase the extraordinary range and creativity deployed by filmmakers seeking to engage the myriad environmental, social and political issues in the 21st century.
BRFF: In Conversation - 5.00pm - 6.30pm
For the first time, the Bristol Radical Film Festival team are extending an open invitation to our audiences to discuss the workings of the festival, how we operate without funding, what we are aiming to do, and how we can develop in the coming years. We want to discuss the whats, whys and hows of our festival, to answer (and ask) questions about BRFF and what it might become. We hope that you will all join us for the penultimate event of BRFF 2016, an exciting chance to inform our activities and our ability to contribute to the radical development of the city of Bristol.
Light Years - 7.30pm -9.30pm
[Esther May Campbell, 2016, 1hr 30m]
LIGHT YEARS is the debut feature from BAFTA winning, Bristol-based filmmaker Esther May Campbell. Featuring the acting debut of singer/songwriter Beth Orton alongside Muhammet Uzuner and a cast of young newcomers, the film is a poetic, ambient and startling story of loss, hope and the deepest of human connections, that follows a family through a quiet crisis. We’re delighted to have this aesthetically radical, locally-produced, and affective work to close this year’s festival.
For more information see brff.co.uk @bristolfilmfest facebook.com/radicalfilmfestival