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Fact/Fiction: A Workshop on the Essay Film

Thursday 13 May 2021, 5.00PM

  • Dr Michael Temple, Director of Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and Essay Film Festival 
  • Dr Erica Sheen, Senior Lecturer in Film and Literature, University of York 
  • Sam Kaufman, Doctoral Candidate, Visible Institute at Kingston School of Art 
What happens when the essay moves on screen? How do its formal tensions translate into a visual syntax? Moving between documentary, photography, archive, home movie, performance art, the essay film interrogates the parameters of cinema. As Emily Apter writes, the essay film is a kind of 'filmed philosophy' that 'moves freely from fiction to nonfiction, a neutralizing zone where fiction is unfictionalized.' But what does this do to our understanding of filmic form and to our experience as viewers? How does the essay film assimilate the formal play of the literary essay? Is this an imported form or one native to cinema, with its origins in the early silent film of the 1910 and 1920s? In this roundtable we'll discuss the formal, structural and (inter)national dynamics of the essay film. 
Each panelist will give a brief 10 minute paper, followed by a discussion and open Q&A. Before the roundtable please browse the Essay Film Festival website including its March 2021 programme.  
This research seminar is part of the CModS research strand 'The Contemporary Essay'
Please register your attendance via this link.

Location: Online via Zoom