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Discover the incredible diversity of artists’ filmmaking in the UK, with a presentation of work from the shortlist of this year’s Film London Jarman Award, Ayo Akingbade, Andrew Black, Julianknxx, Sophie Koko Gate, Karen Russo and Rehana Zaman.
From surreal animated worlds to filmic explorations of landscape and community, the 2023 Film London Jarman Award showcases the urgency, creativity, and humour of exciting new approaches to the moving image. Launched in 2008 and inspired by visionary filmmaker Derek Jarman, the Film London Jarman Award is a £10,000 prize which recognises and supports artists working with moving image and celebrates the spirit of experimentation, imagination and innovation in the work of artist filmmakers in the UK.
Films in this year’s programme use animation, analogue film, poetry and choral song to explore narratives around air pollution and inequality, cryptocurrency, the queering of the British countryside and gentrification.
The six films will be screened continuously throughout 25 & 26 Nov, a unique opportunity to experience these exceptional artists’ films.
The winner of the Film London Jarman Award is announced on the 21 November at the Barbican Centre. The award is presented in partnership with the Whitechapel Gallery and Barbican.
Ayo Akingbade, The Fist (2022), 24 mins
The Fist studies the first Guinness brewery built outside of the UK and Ireland, located on the edge of Lagos. Completed in 1962 after Nigeria’s independence from Britain, the brewery is a place where histories of industrialisation and labour collide. Shot using a 35mm camera, the film follows workers managing the assembly and packing lines, while drawing attention to the deep-rooted politics distilled within Guinness’ production.
Andrew Black, Revenge Fantasy (2019), 13 mins
Revenge Fantasy was filmed around Coulport and the Sound of Raasay, two locations on the West Coast of Scotland where the UK’s Trident nuclear programme is housed. Narrated by dancer/ choreographer Malik Nashad Sharpe (marikiscrycrycry), the film explores exhibitionism, secrecy and shame through a series of abject bodily interactions with the landscape. Travelling through chasms, sinkholes and precipices, animal bodies feature in the film as figures for queer states of excess and duress. Responding to a paranoid anxiety around privacy and surveillance in the specific context of this militarised landscape, the film confronts the dark underbelly of subterfuge and violence explicit in the names of the submarines hidden in the landscape: Revenge, Repulse, Vanguard and Vengeance.
Sophie Koko Gate, Hotel Kalura (2021), 5 mins
An older woman vacations alone on the romantic island of Sicily. She walks into a hotel bar, waiting to be lit. A holiday love story made in the dark hours of lockdown, Hotel Kalura weaves a fantasy romance of cosmic proportions, offering an escape from the banal disappointments of everyday life. Merging the tropes of classic cinema with Koko Gate’s trademark dayglo surrealism, the film sees isolation and longing give way to an ecstatic experience of (n)ever-lasting love.
Julianknxx, Black Corporeal (Breathing By Numbers) (2022), 16 mins
Black Corporeal (Breathing by Numbers) layers poetry, essay, documentary and music to expose the multiple realities of Black life in London and our relationships with the built environment. The film is anchored by the voice of Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who advocated to have air pollution listed as a cause of death of her nine-year-old daughter, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah – the first officially acknowledged case in UK history. While honouring a culture of resilience and perseverance, the film highlights the realities of social and environmental poverty in inner cities, which has a disproportionate impact on melanated bodies and working class communities.
Karen Russo, Junkerhaus (2021), 7 mins
Junkerhaus is shot in the former residence of architect Karl Junker (1850-1912) who dedicated his life to building his house in Lemgo, Germany. Junker made his house his life’s work, cocooning himself within a maze of elaborate wood carvings which extended over all floors, furniture and into all corners like a spider’s web. Conjuring a mirage of imagined forms with the physical space, the film plays with reflected and projected light to animate, warp and dissolve the heavy wooden surfaces and structures, to produce a fluid environment that offers a new appreciation of Junker’s architecture as mystical and visionary experience.
Rehana Zaman, Alternative Economies (2021), 28 mins
Made in conversation with herbalist Rasheeqa Ahmad and financial services regulator Rachel Bardiger, Alternative Economies reads the imperialist exploits of the Disney character Scrooge McDuck alongside the apparently radical yet deeply compromised promises of cryptocurrency. Between these strands, the practice of foraging and the production of herbal medicine reveal possibilities for an alternative network of exchange and subsistence. Combining observational documentary footage, fragments from ‘DuckTales: The Land of Trala La’ (1987) and direct animation (created by painting on celluloid), the film draws together an unlikely constellation of processes and ideas to find new ways of thinking through our relationship to finite resources.
Ayo Akingbade is an artist, writer and director. She works predominantly with film and installation addressing themes of power, urbanism and stance. Her work has been shown at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; ICA, London and Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. Recent screenings include; New Directors/New Films; MoMA and Directors’ Fortnight; Cannes Film Festival. Her first major solo institutional exhibition, ‘Show Me The World Mister’, opened at Chisenhale Gallery in November 2022 and is touring until 2024, venues include Spike Island, Bristol and BALTIC, Centre for Contemporary Art
Andrew Black is an artist and filmmaker. He studied at Leeds College of Art and the Glasgow School of Art. His films are portraits of places to which he has a biographical attachment and look at how capitalism, militarism and nationalist ideologies intrude into and shape the land and its inhabitants and how communities imagine themselves in relation or opposition to this. He was the 2021 recipient of the Margaret Tait Award, and his commissioned film On Clogger Lane premiered at Glasgow Film Theatre in February 2023, and will show at Lux, London in 2024. His work has shown at CCA Glasgow, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Centre Clark, Montreal.
Julianknxx’s practice merges his poetic work with performance, film and music, seeking to express the ineffable realities of human experiences while examining the structures through which we live. Julianknxx draws on West African oral traditions to reframe how we construct both local and global perspectives. Julianknxx has exhibited and performed in the UK and internationally at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Gulbenkian, Lisbon and Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands. Upcoming exhibitions and performances will take place at Art Basel, Basel, (2023); Barbican Centre, London (2023) and Tate Modern, London (2023), with more to be announced.
Sophie Koko Gate studied at Central St Martins and the RCA, London. She is an artist and filmmaker who specialises in experimental narrative. She hosts her ideas through a recurring set of characters in a parallel universe that runs alongside our own. Her films have been screened at Tate Modern, London; Edinburgh Film Festival; Sundance Film Festival, Utah, USA; BFI London Film Festival; Tel Aviv Festival, Israel; Sydney Film Festival; London International Animation Festival and SXSW Austin Texas, USA. She has won awards at Ottawa Animation Festival, SXSW, GLAS Animation Festival and Indie Lisboa.
Karen Russo’s work uses documentary and narrative in an exploration of how knowledge, perception, and culture intertwine the rational with the obscure. She has exhibited widely including Barbican Centre; Hayward Gallery Project Space; Tate Modern; Delfina; Towner, Eastbourne; Athens Biennial; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and CCA Tel-Aviv. Her films have been screened in international film festivals such as Oberhausen, EMAF, Kasseler Dokfest and Alchemy Film Festival, and her work is included in collections such as the Arts Council and the Tel-Aviv Museum. Recent awards include Swedenborg Festival (2021) and Special Mention Award, Oberhausen Film Festival (2020).
Rehana Zaman is an whose work speaks to notions of kinship and sociality, seeking out possibilities of intimacy and transgression within hostile contexts. Conversation and cooperative methods sit at the heart of her films which extend into texts, performances and group work. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. Recent presentations include Serpentine Projects, London (forthcoming); Tromsø Kunstforening; BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts; British Art Show 9 (touring); ICA Miami; Trinity Square Video, Toronto; Hammer Museum, LA; Borås International Sculpture Biennial, Sweden and Artist Film International Whitechapel (worldwide touring).