NEWS: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Hello Dankness

Believing that the moving image can transport a viewer from the increasingly fractured and perplexing world we live in to countless otherworldly realms, and offering a chance to gain a deeper insight and understanding of humanity itself, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival finally makes its in-person return from Friday 3rd-Sunday 5th March, with a weekend of screenings and exhibitions which push the boundaries of genre, form and convention.

From the wildest jungles and the deepest oceans, to celebrations of queer communities, political portraits, cinematic protest, contemporary dance, indigenous stories and humanity on the brink; the programme is wide ranging and highly worthy of a weekend in the lovely walled town.

The line-up of films and exhibitions is extensive and eclectic, with highlights too many to list here. A snapshot of the delights on offer include the opening night UK premiere screening of Anerca, Breath of Life by Finnish father and son filmmakers Markku and Johannes Lehmuskallio, whose investigation into the lives of indigenous communities living in the Arctic Circle promises to be educational and enlightening.

The festival will host premieres aplenty, including world premiere outings for Egyptian artist Basim Magdy’s hallucinatory audio-visual dreamscape FEARDEATHLOVEDEATH, which reminisces on the absurdity of death; Éiméar and Cat McClay’s A Mother’s Love For Her Baby, which uses 3D animation and experimental prose to explore corruption and the Catholic mother and baby homes in Ireland; plus the European premiere of Angelo Madsen Minax’s Bigger On The Inside, a cosmic essay film and a deeply moving work of trans embodiment.

the moving image can transport a viewer from the increasingly fractured and perplexing world we live in to countless otherworldly realms

Further festival premieres include Ungentle, a reflection on the complexity of relationships between British espionage and male homosexuality; part political satire, part zombie stoner flick, Hello Dankness comprises pirated film samples to produce a warped suburban musical; Meriem Bennani’s sci-fi trilogy Life On The CAPS mixes live action and day-glo animation to explore immigration and state control; while Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel explores class, labour and gender violence in short film Maid.

Elsewhere, stories of under the radar communities include Nedarma, which focuses on the nomadic Nenet tribe of Siberia; Let Us Flow looks at the importance of ritual and community in the isolated mountainous region of Tusheti, North East Georgia; The Blue Mammy is a portrait of a deaf painter living in Lapland; Walter Saxer’s rarely seen 1987 documentary Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles shines a spotlight on experimental open-air penal colony in the Peruvian Amazon nicknamed by inmates as the ‘green hell’; Wolf And Dog is a luminous ode to queer communities in the Azores; cine-poem Maputo Nakuzandza is a polyphonic portrait of Mozambique’s capital city; and closing film Arnold Is A Model Student features absurdist humour amid educational rebellion in Thailand.

Also in the programme you’ll find explorations into modern science fiction, cult classics of punk culture, utopian lifestyles, alien-infused colonial horror, lockdown-inspired musings, social media nightmares, joyous drama, dire environmental warnings and liberating comedy.

Add to all this celebrations of new cinema, essential retrospectives, a varied programme of exhibitions across the town, as well as filmmaking and programming for young people, and you have an exhaustive and unmissable weekend which celebrates the joy of cinema.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival takes place at various venues in the town from Friday 3rd-Sunday 5th March.

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