This Summer, Major Programme’s Film Feels season sees 27 awarded film festivals, independent venues and event production companies across the UK present CURIOUS special curated events, enhanced film screenings and programmes to audiences.
Following the season launch at Flatpack Festival in May, audiences will get the chance to see a diverse range of curious films across June and July: from a retrospective showcasing the work of British Director Peter Strickland, including in person live Q&As at Riverside Studios in London, to a special screening of Pan Nalin’s The Last Film Show on the isle of Skye, presented by the award-winning Indian director himself.
Cult films will feature prominently: at Portsmouth Film Society’s brand new venue, Southsea Cinema & Art Centre, dedicated fans will introduce iconic titles spanning eras and genres from Ted Browning’s Freaks (1932) to David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1982). At the Genesis Cinema (London), Bar Trash will provide a weekly fanzone for lovers of cult and curious cinema, hosted by queer horror blogger and exploitation cinema enthusiast Token Homo.
In Birmingham Victoria Park Productions and the FILM/GAGE team present: MIDNIGHT PULP which will take audiences on a dark journey into the world of B-movies and VHS, with a programme of hidden titles, lost film experiences and rare showcases, from Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979) to the Brother from Another Planet (John Sayles, 1984). The Forum Cinema (Hexham) will present a mini season on Wuxia, for audiences to rediscover one of the oldest genres in Chinese media, how it inspired innovative filmmaking, meticulous choreography and stunt work, and some of the most memorable fight scenes in film history.
In Chester, Storyhouse programmer Isobel Harrop challenges the notion that cult cinema is all “boyhood nostalgia”, with a showcase of her favourite cult films from the late 90s and early 00s that celebrate female friendship, bizarre fashion, LGBTQ+ representation, and pop music. In Manchester, Live Cinema and Make a Scene will also celebrate underrated 90s gems and female friendship with Death Becomes Her (Robert Zemeckis, 1992) and Muriel’s Wedding (PJ Hogan, 1994) in a drag-show-meets-movie-party-experience.
Birds Eye View’s QUEERIOUS programme will explore a multitude of desires on screen in ways we all too rarely see in cinema. Through stories of sexual (re)awakenings and queer love through a feminist lens, the season aims to help us to question, learn and enjoy our sexual selves. Queerious will tour across the UK (Glasgow Film Theatre, Showroom Cinema Sheffield, Komedia Brighton and Rio London + more Reclaim the Frame venues TBA).
The imagination, creativity and private worlds of women will be at the forefront of Fabrica’s diverse selection of feature and short films, in partnership with Women Over 50 Film Festival and Oska Bright. A pop-up film booth with One Bum Cinema Club will bring audiences to discover and enjoy unexpected film screenings at The Old Market (Hove), The Depot (Lewes) and Attenborough Centre for Contemporary Arts..
At CellB in Blaenau Ffestiniog, the Wicked Wales and Ffilm Ifanc team will take you on a very special visual and psychological trip through Psychedelia on screen. Films will be kept secret till you walk through the door and down the rabbit hole! CellB will also present a programme of science fiction films and audience engagement, to explore the possibilities ahead of us and the moral dilemmas and possibilities of a different kind of future.
Spiritualism, Nuclearism and Futurism will be at the centre of Aya Films’ experiential event at Barras Art and Design, Glasgow. Through film, food, silk rope performance and critical engagement, Dystopian Dreams will take audiences on an immersive journey and exploration of feminism, mythology, mysticism and ecology.
Cinetopia and feminist-surrealist magazine The Debutante, will present the expanded programme Electric Muses, a women-led evening of surrealist film and creative technologically enhanced live music. Germaine Dulac’s The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928) and Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), will be live scored by Bell Lungs and Aurora Engine, with selected short surrealist films, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Newcastle.
In Derby, QUAD will also showcase Deren’s film alongside the surrealist works of Jan Svankmajer, The Quay Brothers, David Lynch and more. Guest speakers and an illustrated talk by QUAD’s resident film historian Darrell Buxton will further audiences' understanding of surrealism in cinema.
London Short Film Festival and Zodiac Film Club will present a series of phantasmagorical films venturing into the furthest reaches of dreams, mystic visions and surreal landscapes. Audiences will have the chance to take part in a lucid dreaming session by practitioner and Death Doula Tree Carr. A feature screening of Jacques Rivette's 1974 Celine and Julie Go Boating will accompany the screenings.
Rivette’s film will also be presented in 35mm as part of Broadways Double Take weekender of films and discussions about doubles, dreams, and identity. Murky and meandering, the line-up features films in which characters journey into and out of themselves, stepping into different realities, from Bi Gan’s A Hard Day’s Journey Into Night (2018) to Robert Altman’s 3 Women (1977).
In Belfast, Queen’s Film Theatre rich programme of curious titles will include a VHS double-bill, short films by artist and filmmaker John Smith, classic whodunnits, David Lynch’s early shorts, and more. A Murder Mystery Night with the Play Dead Murder Mystery Company will take audiences on a journey back in time to 1940s Hollywood.
Cornwall’s way, C Fylm celebrates the stars of a golden age of cinema with Scary Little Girls’ Salon du Cinema, an intimate evening treating audiences to flirtatious cocktails, scene-setting live music and risqué tales of the secret and scandalous…and Cornwall Film Festival will present 3 curious themed outdoor screenings at Kimberly Park in Falmouth, with silent disco headphones deepening and intensifying the audience’s experience.
Ahead of Docs Ireland Festival, a special Fringe Festival, developed in collaboration with young programmers James Hall, Ruairí McCann and Meicheng Zhou, will delve back into the history of documentary filmmaking, what those titles mean to them, and the place of archive within modern film festivals and film curation.
Photography co-operative Magnum Photos and Rio Cinema Dalston will collaborate on a critical exploration of photojournalism through film: topics spanning queer Sandinistas, abandoned colonial archives, gang culture in Detroit, and the Vietnam war, will spark conversations around curiosity, intent, ethics, underrepresentation and positionality behind the lens. Each Magnum film will be screened alongside a film by a filmmaker indigenous to the region depicted, followed by a discussion by leading critical thinkers.
T A P E Collective will look into a different kind of CURIOUS, by looking at source material, unreliable narrators and our fascination for “based on true stories” films, from Hustlers (Lorene Scafaria, 2019) to Zola (Janicza Bravo, 2021). And how, while those films come across as provocative, sexual and suggestive, they, underneath, question a more sinister fight for survival and an uneven playing field.
At the Showroom (Sheffield) a series of family screenings will be accompanied by philosophy workshops facilitated by Thinking Space. The workshops will encourage children and young people to discuss the themes and philosophical concepts in films including The Secret Garden (Marc Munden, 1993), and to have an active, critical and curious approach to film viewing.
Philosophical questions and critical engagement will too be the heart of The Place Bedford and Youtube channel The Cinema Cartography’s collaboration: CC created a video essay exploring the curious thread across titles ranging from Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2009) to Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky, 2000), as well as introductions to the films, to enrich the viewing experience and audiences’ analytical engagement with the medium.
Last but not least, New Media Scotland have set the Ukrainian developers Reface a grand challenge for the Curious season, to replace the faces of extras in a feature film with faces taken from the audience about to watch it, and in real time too! Kyiv’s twin city of Edinburgh will host this world's first, with all proceeds donated to war relief charities.
As you can see, there is something for everyone, everywhere (all at once). So go to filmfeels.co.uk and to the participating venues’ websites for more information and to book tickets!
Film Feels Curious is a summer long, UK-wide film season and A BFI FAN initiative supported through National Lottery funding.
Any questions? Please contact Major Programmes Manager Manon Euler at firstname.lastname@example.org