FEC students Sonja Baksa and Jennie Shearman (2016) have been working with artist Isabella Rocamora as she prepares her upcoming exhibition. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for them to get to grips with the level of detail, focus and energy needed for such complex and intriguing work. It opens next week and we look forward to it very much. IMAGING FAITH



26 May – 13 July 2016
Tue – Sun 11.00 – 18.00
Private View: 25 May (19.00 – 21.00)
1, Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL

“A uniquely profound and moving comment on timely aspects of the human condition… Mesmerizing” Now Magazine, Toronto

Imaging Faith centres on Faith, a film triptych which intimately observes the act of worship of the three monotheistic religions in Jerusalem. Set in the wilderness of the Holy Land – the historically significant landscapes of the Judean desert, far from the built and contested territories – an Orthodox Jew (Cohen descent), a Greek Orthodox Christian (Father, Church of Nativity) and a Sunni Muslim (Quran reader, Al Aqsa Mosque) perform their morning prayers. In time, their synchronous action reveals an uncanny similarity of inner state and gestural intention. Questioning segregation while celebrating difference, Faith contemplates issues of human belief, inviting reflection on one of the most tragic, world resonating conflicts that persist in this new century.unnamed-2

In the adjoining gallery a series of still images depict Rocamora’s experience of Jerusalem, culturally and politically contextualising the film triptych. A dedicated reading room provides a contemplative space in which contemporary thinkers (historians, theologians and philosophers, including Gil Anidjar, Mark Cauchi, Victoria Rocamora and Simon Critchley) have been invited to curate passages from seminal texts in response to the themes of the exhibition.

Isabel Rocamora is a British-Spanish artist whose films have been widely awarded and exhibited internationally. Recent shows include the Koffler Gallery, Toronto (solo); CCC Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen and the Bologna Museum of Modern Art. Imaging Faith presents the UK premiere of this new body of work by the Edinburgh-based artist as well as the first exhibition of her work in Scotland.

Curated by Holly Knox Yeoman. 

Alumni News

Hidden doorBecky Padley (2015) is organising and programming films for the Hidden Door Festival this year and doing stellar work. Not only does the festival look utterly brilliant but she’s created the opportunity for a number of current FEC students to curate and deliver events. Good on ya Becky. I’m so looking forward to it.

Billie Phipps Tyndall (2015) having moved Bangkok is now involved in the Bankok Edge BillieFestival and plans to help organise a short film competition for the next edition, whilst teaching primary school. Congratulations Billie! We can’t wait to hear more about it.



Also, Mengchen Wen is in Cannes working at the  China Film Foundation Pavilion – International Village, Pantiero side n° 216.Visit them from May 11th to 22th. She has asked Mengchencurrent FEC student Fan Yije to help her out. How exciting and we look forward to the reports on Fan’s return.

Jane Sillars on NFT screening of Antonia Bird doc

jane_sillars_100x130Jane Sillars, programme director of Film, Exhibition & Curation (Job-share with Susan Kemp) blogs about Antonia Bird screening.

So, just back from London Town to see the documentary on Antonia Bird premiere at the National Film Theatre.

The culmination of two year’s intensive research and filming, the documentary charts the development of Bird’s career; her moves from theatre to television and to film in the UK and in Hollywood; her politically motivated approach to film-making and to storytelling; her gifts in working with performers; and her particular blend of highly emotive and engaged social critique. The documentary represents an astonishing achievement not least as, at the time of Bird’s death three years ago, there was almost nothing about her work in the public domain, and what little there was incomplete and often wrong.

Susan Kemp’s film forms part of a broader project she’s been involved in with film maker Mark Cousins (a close friend and collaborator of Bird’s) and producers Mary Bell and Adam Dawtrey, aiming to document Bird’s legacy and find the space her work deserves with audiences and within our understanding of British film and of the contribution of often neglected women authors. The screening launched a season of Bird’s films ‘The Woman Who Kicked Down Doors’ curated by the BFI which recognises her as a trailblazing artist. The BBC who funded much of Bird’s work will also screen Susan’s film on May 22nd.

Given how little material there has been available on Bird and her work, one of the most notable elements of the film is its success in uncovering, analysing and opening up her motivations, her aesthetics, and her career trajectory – a career path that, as the film, shows was diverse, divergent and seldom straightforward.

IMG_20160512_200000623In the panel discussion afterwards Susan talked about the importance of the flexibility brought as a solo film-maker. This enabled her to spend an extended research and development period tracking down sources and potential interviewees as well as immersing herself in Bird’s work and archive. Light weight film equipment and Susan’s skills in self-shooting meant that she was able to record material across the duration of this process. (I say light-weight but I well remember the many Wednesday afternoons where Susan would shoulder a massive rucksack, pick up her tripod, and stride womanfully off to Waverley for her second shift.) In an audience at the South Bank largely made of film-makers there was both appreciation and awe of the scale of this endeavour. (Appreciation is very much due too to Lauren Clarke, FEC graduate who worked across the project with Susan. It was great to see Lauren and family at the screening – enjoying the first onscreen credit for Lauren but I suspect very much not the last.)

The benefits of this openness of approach can be seen on screen. Susan’s interviews captures both spontaneity and immediacy from her respondents, rather than replicating the sometimes slightly laboured feel we’ve all picked up from reminiscences shared first with researchers and producers, then reproduced on cue for camera. It also powerfully catches at the sense of loss felt by the many people who worked with Antonia; the loss of an individual loved by many and also the loss of a distinctive and penetrating voice.

The admiration Bird evoked in her collaborators is clear in the documentary and was also much in evidence in the attendance on Thursday. In the green room beforehand the warmth and affection felt for Antonia was palpable. As well as enjoying earwigging in to the stories and memories exchanged between actors, composers, producers and writers there, for the first time I had a proper sense of the various kinds of responsibility attaching to a film like this. Throughout the project Susan has been determined to do proper justice to Antonia Bird’s life and work as well as facing head on some of the really complex questions as to why in her career Bird did not always manage to make the work she wanted to, and why the work she did make has been so neglected. With so many key players crammed into a small, hot space (the NFT green room has a freaky mirrored ceiling like something out of dodgy 70s ‘arthouse’ erotica)  I got a real feel for what a tough audience this might prove to be. Susan says that when, early on in the documentary, cheers and applause greeted the cleverly sourced archive of a young and bushy brown bearded Jeremy Corbyn she knew she was going to be alright.

And she and her film were a lot more than alright. One highlight for me was Anita Dobson (the legendary Angie in EastEnders) commenting from the platform “I don’t think I’ve been so moved by a documentary about someone’s work ever”. This was followed by responses from the floor hailing the film as ‘profound’, ‘necessary’ and ‘important’. The look of the film was much admired with one or two smarty pants picking up the way its form draws on Bird’s preference for the big close up and the drama of the human face in action.

Speakers were especially taken with how effectively the film addresses the thorny question of the under-representation of women directors, a debate coming to boiling point in Hollywood and in relation to UK film just last week with the Directors UK report

There were also moving stories from the floor of the unrecorded contributions Bird made to the work of many others, actors turned directors, and younger women directors, reinforcing two key strands within Susan’s film – film authorship as something that is always collaborative, often provisional, and made up of visible and invisible elements; and also demonstrating how Bird’s politics of engagement and solidarity found many expressions. All in all it was a very uplifting evening, celebrating an extraordinary woman and her body of work, and showing the capacity of documentary film at its best to work as archive, as analyst, and as catalyst.

And we can all get a chance to see it soon – TX BBC Four Sunday 22nd May 2100.

Congratulations FEC Team 2

Present Love
Learning about LGBT representation in China. 

A fantastic programme of shorts intercut with interviews at the Filmhouse on Friday and Saturday. FECers 2016 are totally making the most of their opportunities.Thanks so much to Filmhouse and Nigel Chipps for giving them this chance. Great audiences and we hope it will do more. More pics PRESENT LOVE

Kubrick and Alumni

KStanley-Kubrickatherine Irving, a graduate of Film Studies at UoE, is currently working for the FIlm Exhibitions Department for the  Boston Museum of Fine Arts (go Katherine!) She invited some colleagues from FS and FEC (Film, Exhibition & Curation) to contribute essays to the online Film Notes Archive on Kubrick – they are a great read and well done all. Rebecca Raab writes, ‘It was really fun to join up with the others again for this project and to see that we’re all on board!’

You can read their work here.

Alumni News

Rebecca PdleyWe’re very excited that Rebecca Padley (2015) was invited to join the wonderful Hidden Door festival as programme coordinator before she’d even graduated. She will have a big curatorial responsibility for the film strand and we wish her all the best for the festival. We know her FEC chums will be standing with her all through.

Charlotte micklewrightCharlotte Micklewright (2015) continues her fantastic work with artistic director, Peter Taylor, at the Berwick Film Festival and we know her incredible hard work, diplomacy and brilliant mind are fully appreciated.

Lauren Clarke


Lauren Clarke (2015) continues to dig into the archives with enthusiasm as researcher on a documentary for BBC Four about Antonia Bird, where her ability to grasp the rich, complex, little known but very important story of Bird’s career is much appreciated.

And exciting news from previous years’ students.

HaraHara Vlahou has recently joined the staff of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and we look forward to hearing more about her work there.

PaulinaPaulina Kowalczyk is coordinating film/exhibition projects at the CCA Ujazdowski Castle. Currently she’s working on a show with Kuba Bakowski.

A gang of FECers at Berwick Film Festival

Charlotte Micklewright (FEC 2014/15) has been working with the Berwick Festival for some months and has recently been joined by fellow FECers. She describes the experience below. It looks like it’s going to be a great festival.

It has been a great opportunity to be so involved with the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival. I started off as an intern managing submissions as I was really interested in the festival’s curatorial process for my own research. I then took on the role of Programme Coordinator and am now liaising with artists, filmmakers, distributors, projectionists and technicians to bring the festival together!

This is a very unique festival nestled in the wee town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It promotes a fluid relationship between artists’ film and cinema. The theme this year is ‘Fact or Fiction’ and there are some wonderful pieces which blur the boundaries between fiction and documentary, such as Mohsen Mahkmalbaf’s Salam Cinema and Peter Watkins’ The War Game. There will be some fabulous installations dotted around the local historical sites too, like a opera broadcast from a lighthouse in the Shetlands to a medieval tower in Berwick…

Some of my fellow FEC student-collegues are also involved in the festival, working across different departments including volunteer coordination and marketing. What’s great about the FEC cohort is that by working on applied projects together during our studies, we know we can rely on each other for efficient and imaginative collaboration outside the classroom. We are also developing a recognisable FEC brand through our collective experiences and contacts, which is really helpful when networking.
Saturday 26th is going to be a particularly full and busy day. Salomé Lamas is doing a seminar on ‘parafiction’ her term for artists films which combine fact and fiction storytelling, Abdul & Hamza is a documentary by a Serbian film student about refugees’ journeys, there’s the 50th anniversary screening of Peter Watkins’ The War Game which looks really good and bloody eerie, then an award ceremony, music and installations all around town. The are day passes are £8 for students.

Alumni News

The Film, Exhibition & Curation (formerly FiPS) programme proved to be the perfect launchpad for an exciting career in film, technology, and education, writes Corey Boling. Upon graduating in 2011, I’ve since spent my days interning at the Guggenheim Museum, working at the Tribeca Film Institute, and I even founding my very own international nonprofit film organization called FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS. These days, I spend my time traveling around the world teaching filmmaking and media literacy to underserved students in places like Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Peru, Tanzania, and Thailand. Whether helping youth create their own short film and multimedia projects or producing community screenings of student work across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, it’s clear to me that my time in Edinburgh was a dynamic and formative chapter that continues to inform every aspect of my daily life!

Safe screening

SAFE INTRO KATEReally fantastic screening of Antonia Bird’s ‘Safe’ last night. Emotional honest storytelling with powerful performances from all especially Kate Hardie and Aiden Gillen. Kate presented the film as part of a series she’s programmed with the gorgeous Arthouse Cinema in Crouchend about women and film. Kate’s intro was superb — raised the house with thunderous applause. Here’s a couple of pics and if you want to see the Bird clipreel we made to show last night you’ll find it at

Thanks to Fec’ers who came to help out last night – you were fab and thanks to all who helped with clip choices for reel. Much appreciated!

Acknowledged Legislators: ‘Lived experience’ in Scottish Poetry Films

Acknowledged Legislators: ‘Lived experience’ in Scottish Poetry Films

Richie McCaffery, University of Glasgow, and Stefanie Van de Peer, University of Stirling

This excellent and much needed consideration of film and poetry in Scotland is deeply interesting on many levels. It’s also fantastic for Nort Atlantik Drift: A Portrait of Robert Alan Jamieson to be included in such company. Blown away….






Alumni News

Tina Chan, graduate of MSc Film, Exhibition and Curation 2011/13 writes to tell of her very exciting career since completing the course. We’re so proud of her:

I always remember you and Jane and what I learned in your classes. Those days in Edinburgh always come to my mind. It’s been fantastic to turn knowledge gained in school into real event practice. Normally my work is helping promote films made in Taiwan especially those shot in Taipei, and so I have had the chance to come into contact with Taiwanese film makers,critics,reporters and to know more about this field. I feel lucky and honored to have met and to hold events for three honorable directors so far since I got back to Taiwan and started my current job,They were Ang Lee, Luc Besson and Martin Scorsese.

Alumni News

lanquing graduation Lanqing (2013/14) writes to tell us the great news that she has been employed by Beijing United Entertainment Partner Culture & Media Co as Operation Assistant in the International Operation Department of UEP, a film distribution company base in Beijing, China. UEP is the first company that cooperates with Hollywood studios (Sony/Columbia pictures) to do the job of marketing in China.  UEP has become a strategic partner with many famous film and media companies. It also has close cooperation with many well-known film production teams from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao. UEP has been distributing films like The amazing Spider Man 2, The Smurfs 2 and Grace of Monaco, etc. in China.
Last year UEP set their branch company in LA and Australia, and they plan to set one in London and another on in Paris this year. The job I’m doing now is writing a UK film market report, which is one of the preparatory tasks for supporting the setting of the new company in London. Lanqing’s department, she explains, is like the bridge between the head office in China and the branch companies abroad. Besides doing various job for support the oversea companies, her department also sells Chinese films to the international market and brings overseas products to China.Lanquing card

Anatomy of a Short Film Programme

SCHOOL PORTRAIT masterMSc Film, Exhibition & Curation students of 2014/15 were invited to create a programme of shorts for the Glasgow Short Film Festival that somehow analysed and made visible the curatorial process. After a number of weeks thinking, experimenting and planning the students created a feature length film essay which contained a short film programme. It went down very well with audiences at the festival and the students thoroughly enjoyed hearing the guests on the panel discussion (as part of the short film symposium) refer and discuss the ideas in the essay film.

Here is a link to the film: Anatomy of a Short Film Programme

Alumni News

150323_RaabFEC graduate Rebecca Raab  (2013/14) writes with exciting news about the development of her career in film exhibition.

After having graduated from the MSc programme in Film, Exhibition and Curation I started a traineeship with the South West German Film Fund in Stuttgart in March 2015. I really enjoy my first job and feel there’s a lot to benefit from previous internships with international film festivals and my degree in Edinburgh. I especially enjoy working at the intersection between the mechanisms of cultural policies and the film industry. As a trainee with the event management and communication department I get an interesting insight in the different dynamics of film development, production and distribution against the background of a regional film fund which is, in turn, embedded into the federal system of German film funding. I’m enthusiastic about assisting the team with the organization of award ceremonies with international film festivals and local film premiers as well as dessigning regular networking events for producers and script writers. Moreover I am also in charge of the film fund’s print media and online communication plattforms. I am curios about the experiences this year of training on the job will come with and the films I will come across!
Here’s the link of the film fund’s website I keep up to date (unfortunately it’s only in German)

FEC event goes down a storm at Glasgow Film Festival 2015

16427243328_5d053b5e1b_kFilm, Exhibition & Curation students (FEC) created and hosted a sell-out, day-long event at the Glasgow Film Festival 2015. It takes a lot of planning, teamwork, imagination and enthusiasm to bring film and people together in such a way. The success of Power Suit Yourself showcased beautifully that the FEC students have what it takes with knobs on (or, to be more accurate in this case: shoulder-pads on).

Well done all for a fantastic day and night of film and fun.

15992257144_9e3d073f61_nThe GFF photographer caught the party mood. More photos here

safe_imageLast year two former FEC students Theo and Hara (2011-12) worked for a festival in Syros Island, Greece. From that start they write to tell us of the development of the festival and to say thanks. We are immensely proud of their achievements and are chuffed to bits that Theo took the time to write and say thanks. Keep up the good work!
” Truth is we [Theo & Hara] pretty much took it over (animasyros International Animation Festival), along with a very energetic group of youngsters handling the media. And we nailed it. Big time. Like POW. Like Tommy Lee in his honeymoon. We’re talking gargantuan measures of success. And for us to nail it, it took a hefty amount of information from my not-that-old FEC [formerly FiPS]  notes. I read through the lines and extracted some Gaelic spells of YOU witches [Susan & Jane]; although we were pretty pragmatic, they all worked in perfect harmony with the founders’ demands, surpassing by far their expectations. Thus, I’d like to thank you both for providing me/us this precious info. It was really great to see many of the ideas initially conceived during our FEC sessions, materialized by the festival’s team with such results. Sas efharisto. Tapadh leibh.”

Congratulations to former FEC student Sarah Rice

Sarah Rice Final Project 2013For her final project, Sarah Rice (2012-13) investigated archive and newsreels from the second world war. She created a live event which used the archive in an innovative, creative way mixing a scripted live performance with an installation of pre-edited archive and sound. She managed to perform this as part of the Edinburgh Fringe (only a couple of weeks before hand-in day) but having done such excellent work in advance of the performance the reflection on this particularly adventurous engagement with audiences served the whole submission very well. The great news is that the short film, subsequently produced, has been selected for the Imperial War Museum Film Festival. That’s just brilliant. Well done Sarah. She took the time to write to us to thank us for our help and the opportunities offered over the year and we are chuffed to bits:

‘I’m really excited and happy to see that it was able to have a little life after graduation and in such a fitting environment as a war museum!  I just wanted to thank you guys for that amazing year I had in Edinburgh and for helping out so much with your direction on my dissertation.  I feel like my strange little idea found a home for itself and I’m hoping to be able to travel over for the awards ceremony in December.  If so, I will definitely be swinging by Edinburgh to stop by the ol’ stomping grounds!’

Here’s a wee image I (Susan) took at the event – very short and nothing like the film itself.

Former FEC student’s non-profit, Filmmakers Without Borders, kickstarting…

Former FEC student Corey Boling (2010/11) has set up a remarkable organisation called Filmmakers Without Borders which sends educators abroad to teach filmmaking to underserved youth in Bhutan, Cambodia, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, & Sierra Leone. They have just launched their first kickstarter campaign to build on the initial seed money which they began with. We look forward to hearing all about the projects. Perhaps future FEC students might be interested in collaborating on an exhibition of the work made!

What a treat. FEC students create Hello Comrades!

hello comradesWhat a treat the Hello Comrades! exhibition is. Two FEC students, Mengchen and Anastasia, have used the ‘red’ connection between their two countries (China and Russia, incase you hadn’t worked it out) to work collaboratively on a three-day event which launched today and continues tomorrow and Saturday. Room E24 in the Art College has been transformed into a sitting room all decorated with red memorabilia from China and the former Soviet Union. Anastasia explained she’d had to use a small statue of Stalin as a hammer during the get-in which seemed entirely appropriate. Thus the atmosphere and tone is successfully set. There is a great sense of fun in their approach which is refreshing and engaging. An extremely clever means of drawing folk in and creating a relationship of trust with the audience.

The layout of the exhibition is brilliantly imaginative and builds on the sense of fun and takes it into more complex territory. A waste bin in the centre is stuffed with the debris of Western living and a discarded screen shows the work, ‘Recycled’ by Thomas Sauvin (Sound Art by Zafka), China & France. The images in the film were sourced over a number of years from a recycling zone in the outskirts of Beijing. Lei Lei and Thomas scanned more than half a million 35mm color film negatives. Those negatives build up a portrait of the capital city and the life of her inhabitants over the last thirty years. Here, they selected 3000 photos to create the animation you can see in the bin. The film itself is also on vimeo but I recommend you go and see if first as displayed by the FEC students.waste bin

Above my head was another artwork, cleverly projected on the ceiling. The Collection of Photographies “Mirage” by Photographer Hui Yao won the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2012. Hui Yao’s boyhood years were… “spent during the early stages of China’s rapid economic development. I grew up in a small, under-developed and oppressive town near Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province in northwest China. These years were consumed by puzzlement. In China, every school child must be a member of the Young Pioneers of China. We were expected to accept a lofty communist education – “Always be prepared, to struggle for the cause of Communism!”I wore the red scarf with pride. The series “Mirage” is about re-exploring my boyhood years from the perspective of living in the West, with the aim of creating a brand new experience located somewhere between reality and fantasy. Recollecting the passing away of my boyhood and making up for all of my fantasies from that period of time. The reason for projecting.” The placing of this work on the ceiling may have been a ‘needs-must’ consideration but is quite brilliant when considering the whole.

Showing on a loop on the wall are two rather brilliant short films from China, neither which I’ve seen before and thoroughly recommend. The contrast between the two films makes the viewing experience all the more engaging and I am very impressed at how Mengchen and Anastasia have considered their audience. The drew me in and kept me amused, engaged and thinking. The two films are ‘Killing a Pig Without Mao’ by Zhen Qian Huang. A surreal experimental short film portrait of a young Chinese woman called Meiling, an activist of the Red Guards of Mao Zedong, who works in a slaughterhouse. And ‘Double Act,’ (Animation, 2013, Ding Shiwei, 4min37, China) described in the blurb as a fantastical space fully coloured with ideology, the gorgeous outerwear of modern industry shimmers, while society sleeps under a hypnotic utopian ideal. The hidden rules of politics keep disparate communities in isolation, and public indifference smothers burgeoning literary resistance.’ It’s rhythmic soundtrack beats out an industrial pace to the beautiful animation.

I sat on the comfy leather sofa after that, to relax and and enjoy one of the loveliest animations I’ve ever seen. Full of hope, simple joy andwatching animation sensible humanity from a bygone age it tells a very different story of the former Soviet Union than using a Stalin statue as a hammer might suggest. The film is called ‘Three from Prostokvashino’ (Animation, 1978, Vladimir Popov, Soyuzmultfilm, 18.48, Soviet union). Based on the children’s book Uncle Fyodor, His Dog and His Cat (Дядя Фёдор, Пёс и Кот) by Eduard Uspensky,this animation tells the story about a six-year-old boy who is called Uncle Fyodor, because he is very serious. After his parents don’t let him keep Matroskin ,a talking cat, Uncle Fyodor leaves his home. With the dog, the three set up a home in the country, a village called “Buttermilk”.

The selection of material in the exhibition as a whole is intelligently and creatively considered and I recommend a visit.. I look forward to watching the remaining animations when I return but congratulations to team Hello Comrades! to a most excellent beginning.

There’s more information at

FEC Awards

FEC AWARDS 1The first ever FEC awards at EIFF 2014 went off extremely well thanks to our colleagues at Napier, in particular Shian Holt, who organised the do, provided drink and space and created the perfect surroundings for some award giving. FEC students voted for their favourite film in each of the three programmes plus an overall winner. The awards went to:


Overall winning film: Miss Todd.

Winner Programme 1: Bear With Me

Winner Programme 2: Pink Out

Winner Programme 3: Lethe

Congratulations to all students, filmmakers and curators alike, for what has been a very successful collaboration. FEC AWARDS 2

fc5 fec44 fec7 fec6 fec 3