Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) is an international celebration of the art of film. The inaugural Festival took place in September 2005, with a vision to enrich lives through the experience of film. Spanning 12 locations in North East England’s walled border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, the 12th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival takes place this year from Wednesday 21st to Sunday 25th September 2016.

BFMAF is serious about cinema in its fullest of senses. Profiling passionate, joyful, genre-busting independent cinema and creating a forum for independent filmmakers and artists is at the heart of the Festival. The theme for BFMAF 2016 is 'X'. The 24th letter in the Latin alphabet, X is at once loaded with meaning and on the other hand vacant for possibility. It’s a marker for place but also an independent and indefinable variable. It's the unknown quantity in risk and great art. Though sometimes a marker for censorship or exclusion, X is also film’s potential to express complex subjects in open and ambitious ways.

Key to BFMAF is presenting vigorous cinema that truly interrogates the medium to its core. This is where the dividing line between artist and filmmaker ceases being a question. The Festival as a whole - and the Berwick New Cinema programme in particular - offers a forum to explore these potentials. X undoubtedly plays a role: it’s the unknown quantity in risk, experiment and innovation, asking difficult questions of ourselves and being open to where that process might take us.

The 2015 programme saw the launch of Berwick New Cinema and an accompanying seminar featuring films ‘transgressing restraints of genre, capital and expectation’. Titles included the UK Premieres of ‘Mercuriales’ by Virgil Vernier, ‘A Distant Episode’ by Ben Rivers and ‘Limbo’ by Anna Sofie Hartmann, plus archive 35mm screenings of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s ‘Salam Cinema’ and Pere Portabella’s ‘Vampir - Cuadecuc’. Canadian artists Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson were the recipients of BFMAF's International Short Film Award.

BFMAF’s 2015 exhibition programme included Artists in Focus, Deimantas Narkevičius and 2015 Jarman Award winner Seamus Harahan alongside Festival commissions from Harahan, Paul Rooney, Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky plus new works from Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Grace Schwindt, Peter Burr and Pacho Velez. Giff-Gaff, a performance programme was curated by CIRCA Projects for the Festival.

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