Ladies & Gentlemen, Curated & collated & edited by Winstanley Schtinter;
The Liberated Film Club
with Dominic Jaeckle & Jon Auman
You wan’ DVD?
I wan’ liberty!
The Liberated Film Club—running from its birth to its death, 2016 to 2020—would guarantee a wide wing-span for critical conversation. Screening “Liberated film” (a loose category designed to scaffold the show), a guest would be invited to introduce a film; an audience seated to watch it through; but there’d be an interruption to that typical format. Neither the audience nor the guest would have any idea what film would be shown, and this anonymized format would invite broad and antagonistic perambulation on the what, the why and the how of film. An interrogation of what we do when we sit in a cinema; a reckoning with the kind of posture we should assume when we frame a film for further talk. Playing with the various ways we should consider and reproach the institutions built around all of our cultures of making and the manners and methods of all of our cultures of consumption, the Liberated Film Club was a rare reflection on the act of reflection itself.
Starting out as a pirate DVD/USB company, issuing irregular mail-order catalogues of films otherwise unobtainable (an activity which it maintains), the club ran as a regular event series at the Close-Up Film Centre, London, curated by Schtinter. This anthology is a complete and unabridged collation of these introductions.
You know the gig: I really don’t know what the film is, so I’m not sure how what I have to say will help. But it struck me that one possible thing I could do was remind you how in many ways the premise of this event, or these events, is in fact the premise of cinema. The impossible relation implied by the term itself is that you will be in anticipation, waiting for something to come, which despite all pretensions or claims to the contrary . . . will not come. That is the cinema.
Cast, in order of appearance...
Shezad Dawood works across film, painting and sculpture to juxtapose discrete systems of image, language, site and narrative, using the editing process as a method to explore meanings and forms between film and painting. His practice often involves collaboration, working with groups and individuals across different territories to physically and conceptually map far-reaching lines of enquiry. These networks chart different geographic locations and communities and are particularly concerned with acts of translation and re-staging.
Chris Petit is an internationally renowned author and filmmaker once described by Le Monde as the Robespierre of English cinema. His films include the definitive Radio On (1979) and have been the subject of several foreign retrospectives.
Andrea Luka Zimmerman is an artist, filmmaker and cultural activist whose engaged practice calls for a profound re-imagining of the relationship between people, place and ecology. Focusing on marginalised individuals, communities and experience, the practice employs imaginative hybridity and narrative re-framing, alongside reverie and a creative waywardness. Informed by suppressed histories, and alert to sources of radical hope, the work prioritises an enduring and equitable co-existence.
William Fowler is a film historian, writer and musician, and an archive curator at the BFI. His co-authored book The Bodies Beneath: The Flipside of British Film and Television was published by Strange Attractor Press in 2019. blue thirty-three by his band The Begotten is out on Blue Tapes; Wire magazine called it ‘a great noisy slug.’
John Rogers is a writer and film-maker based in London. He is the author of This Other London—Adventures in the Overlooked City (Harper Collins, 2013). He directed the feature documentaries The London Perambulator (2009), featuring Will Self, Iain Sinclair, Russell Brand, and Nick Papadimitriou; Make Your Own Damn Art—the world of Bob and Roberta Smith (2012), London Overground (2016) with Iain Sinclair, and In the Shadow of the Shard (2018). John was psychogeographer-in-residence for Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019. He produces a regular series of videos on his YouTube channel.
Ben Rivers, filmmaker (born 1972 in Somerset), lives and works in London.
Gideon Koppel “Born in London in 1960, and still looking for a place (he’d) like to die...”
Gareth Evans is a London-based writer, curator, producer and presenter
Adam Roberts is filmmaker, writer, curator and co-founder (with Joanna Hogg) of A Nos Amours.
John Akomfrah is an artist and filmmaker, whose works are characterised by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics and often explores the experiences of migrant diasporas globally. Akomfrah was a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, which started in London in 1982 alongside the artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul, who he still collaborates with today. Their first film, Handsworth Songs (1986) explored the events surrounding the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archive footage, still photos and newsreel. The film won several international prizes and established a multi-layered visual style that has become a recognisable motif of Akomfrah’s practice. Other works include The Unfinished Conversation (2012); Peripeteia (2012); Mnemosyne (2010); Vertigo Sea (2015); Purple (2017); Precarity (2017) and Four Nocturnes (2019).
Shama Khanna is a curator, writer and educator based in London. Her long-running platform is Flatness (flatness.eu).
Tony Grisoni worked in many different areas of film making before turning to screenwriting. Queen of Hearts (1989) was his award winning first feature directed by Jon Amiel. He has worked closely with a number of directors including Michael Winterbottom, John Boorman, Sean Durkin and Marc Munden, and has co-written with Terry Gilliam, including Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998); Tideland (2005) and that ship of fools, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018). Other works include In this World (2001); Brothers of the Head (2005); Red Riding (2009); The Unloved (2009); Southcliffe (2013); The Young Pope (2016); Crazy Diamond (2017); and The City and the City (2018).
Damien Sanville is the founder of Close-Up Film Centre.
Mania Akbari is an Iranian filmmaker, actress, artist and writer whose works mostly deal with themes of sexual identity, women, marriage, abortion, infidelity and lesbianism. As an actress, she is probably best known for her role in Abbas Kiarostami's Ten (2002). Her film works include 20 Fingers (2004); One. Two. One (2011); From Tehran to London (2012); and Life May Be (co-directed with Mark Cousins, 2014). Akbari’s work has been the subject of retrospectives at BFI, DFI, Oldenburg International Film Festival, Cyprus Film Festival and Nottingham Contemporary.
Xiaolu Guo is a Chinese/British filmmaker and novelist. She has directed 11 films, including features How Is Your Fish Today (2007) and UFO In Her Eyes (2011). Her fiction She A Chinese received “the Golden Leopard" award at the Locarno Film Festival 2009. She self-produced all her documentaries. Once Upon A Time Proletarian (2011) premiered at the Venice Film Festival. We Went To Wonderland (2008) premiered at the MOMA in New York. Five Men & A Caravaggio (2018) premiered at the BFI London Film Festival. She has had film retrospectives at the Whitechapel Gallery in London (2019); Swiss Cinematheque (2010); and Greek Film Archives (2018). Her memoir Once Upon A Time In The East won the National Book Critics Circle Award, 2017 and A Lover’s Discourse is her most recent novel.
Sean Price Williams is a New York-based cinematographer, known for producing some of the most colourful and thrilling images in independent cinema today. He shoots both film and digital across categories of narrative, documentary, and experimental cinema. Some of Williams’ notable recent credits include Her Smell (2018); Marjorie Prime (2017); and Good Time (2017).
Chloe Aridjis is the author of three novels, Book of Clouds (2009), which won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in France, Asunder (2013), set in London's National Gallery, and Sea Monsters (2019), recently awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Chloe has written for various art journals and was a guest curator at Tate Liverpool. She stars in Josh Appignanesi’s psychodrama Female Human Animal (2018) and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014. Chloe is a member of XR Writers Rebel, a group of writers who focus on addressing the climate emergency, and dreams of a world in which animals cease to be exploited.
Athina Tsangari is a greek director and producer. Her first work in cinema was in a small acting role in Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1991). She went on to produce work by Linklater, as well as that of Yorgos Lanthimos. She is best known for directing the feature films Attenberg (2010); Chevalier (2016); and Benaki Museum (2013).
Juliet Jacques is a writer and filmmaker based in London, UK. Her most recent book, Trans: A Memoir (2015), was published by Verso. Her short fiction, essays and journalism have appeared in numerous publications, and her short films have screened in galleries and festivals worldwide. She hosts the podcast Suite (212), which looks at the arts in their social, cultural, political and historical contexts.
Anna Thew is a painter turned filmmaker, writer and performer. Her work has been screened and celebrated literally everywhere.
Adam Christensen is a London-based artist who makes performance, video, fabric and text works, and performs with the music project Ectopia, which was Wysing Arts Centre’s band-in-residence in 2016. He has previously performed and presented work at Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art; Copenhagen Baltic Triennial; as well as Almanac; David Roberts Art Foundation; Southard Reid; Institute of Contemporary Arts (London); Hollybush Gardens; Goldsmiths CCA (London). He recently returned from Portugal where he recorded his debut album, to be released by purge.xxx in 2020.
Laura Mulvey is Professor of Film at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of Visual and Other Pleasures (Macmillan 1989/2009); Fetishism and Curiosity (British Film Institute 1996/2013); Citizen Kane (BFI Classics series 1992/2012); and Death Twenty-four Times a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (Reaktion Books 2006) as well as three co-edited collections of essays. She made six films in collaboration with Peter Wollen including Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) and Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1980). With artist/filmmaker Mark Lewis, she made Disgraced Monuments (1994) and 23 August 2008 (2013).
She is a Fellow of the British Academy and is an honorary member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She has received five honorary doctorates
Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist. Her films include Zizek! (2005); Examined Life (2008), and What Is Democracy? (2018). Her books include The People’s Platform (2014) and Democracy May Not Exist But We’ll Miss it When It’s Gone (2019) and, as co-editor, Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America (2011). She is a Fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation for her work against predatory debt.
Dennis Cooper is the author of nine novels as well as numerous books of poetry and non-fiction. He has made two feature films in collaboration with artist Zac Farley, Permanent Green Light (2018) and Like Cattle Towards Glow (2015). His most recent publications are a novel, The Marbled Swarm (2011) and four works of fiction composed of animated gifs, most recently the gif novel Zac’s Freight Elevator (2016) and a short gif fiction collection, Zac’s Coral Reef (2018).
He has written the works of French theater director and choreographer Gisele Vienne since 2004. He has recently completed his tenth novel, I Wished, and is currently working on Room Temperature, his third film with Farley. He lives in Paris and Los Angeles. See also, denniscooperblog.com.
Stewart Home, author, is the only person on earth who is visible to the naked eye from outer space. He really does burn that brightly. The London Review of Books has praised Home by saying: “I really don't think anyone who is at all interested in literature has any business not knowing the work of Stewart Home." However, this notorious egg bagel eater prefers to liken himself to “a proletarian comedian with Tourette's spewing obscenities.”
Home much prefers standing on his head and reciting sexually explicit passages from his work at public events to courting the literary establishment, but nonetheless Home has recently published Re-Enter The Dragon: Genre Theory, Brucesploitation & the Sleazy Joys of Lowbrow Cinema (2018); and, previously, Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie (2010); Sixty-Nine Things To Do With A Dead Princess (2002); Slow Death (1996); The Easy Way to Falsify Your Credit Rating (2005), to name but a few.
Dan Fox is a writer, filmmaker and musician living in New York, USA. He is the author of the books Limbo (2018) and Pretentiousness: Why It Matters (2016).
Miranda Pennell originally trained in contemporary dance and later studied visual anthropology. Pennell has produced a body of award-winning film and video work that explores forms of collective performance, whether dancers, soldiers or fight directors. Her most recent moving-image work uses colonial archives as the starting point for investigations into the colonial imaginary. Pennell’s films include You Made Me Love You (2005); Tattoo (2001); Fisticuffs (2004); Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (2010); and The Host (2015).
Elena Gorfinkel is a senior lecturer in film studies at King’s College London and the author of Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s (2017). Her criticism appears in Sight & Sound, Art Monthly, and Cinema Scope, among other publications.
Carol Mavor is a writer who takes creative risks in form (literary and experimental) and political risks in content (sexuality, racial hatred, child-loving and the maternal). She attempts to share this provocative approach with her students as Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. Mavor is the author of six books, all of which have been widely reviewed in the press, including the TLS, Frieze, Village Voice and the Los Angeles Times.
Recent books include Becoming: The Photographs of Clementina, Viscountess, Hawarden (1999); Pleasures Taken: Performances of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs (1995); and Black and Blue: The Bruising Passion of Camera Lucida, La Jetée, Sans soleil and Hiroshima mon amour (2012). Mavor’s Blue Mythologies: A Study of the Colour (2013) ‘coaxes us into having a less complacent attitude … even when it comes to something as apparently innocuous as a color’ (Los Angeles Review of Books). Her Reading Boyishly: Roland Barthes, J. M. Barrie, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Marcel Proust, and D. W. Winnicott (2008) was named by Turner-Prize winner Grayson Perry in The Guardian as his 2008 as 'Book of the Year.' Aurelia: Art and Literature Through the Eyes and Mouth of the Fairy Tale (Reaktion, 2017) is her most recent monograph.
Tai Shani is a Tutor in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art. Shani's multidisciplinary practice, comprising performance, film, photography, and installation, revolves around experimental narrative texts. Shani recently published Our Fatal Magic (2019)—a work of feminist science fiction that anticipates a post-patriarchal future.
Winstanley Schtinter has been described as an ‘artist’ by the Daily Mail and as an ‘exorcist’ by the Daily Star (see schtinter.net; & purge.xxx).