Black Box, EIFF’s dedicated experimental section, will be back on the big screen for the first time since 2019 this festival and I, for one, can't wait! Like many others, I’ve really missed being in the cinema with others, each silently, yet collectively engaging with the images unfolding before us.
The films that Black Box screen exist outside of commercial cinema. They are proudly and resolutely independent works that entangle the personal and the political, and ask crucial questions, whilst igniting our imagination with dazzling imagery. This year, BB incorporates two really exciting elements, a retrospective (Reframing the Gaze: Experiments in Women’s Filmmaking, 1972 to Now) and a programme of brand new short-form works, Echoes in the Landscape. Centralising key themes of connection, community and resistance, Echoes in the Landscape brings together artists from across the globe, reasserting the notion of experimental film as an ecosystem that connects filmmakers and audiences beyond geographical boundaries. There are relatively few avenues for experimental filmmakers to screen their work in cinema spaces (as opposed to online platforms), and at EIFF we’re really proud to do just this, and to have an expert projection team who are adept at handling precious 16mm and 35mm film prints. This means that artists working on photochemical film can be confident that their work will be experienced as they intended, where possible, projected from glorious celluloid! To shoot photochemical film in a climate of digital prevalence, is not only an aesthetic action, but a political one too, and it's incredibly important to me that EIFF are able to offer screening space to artists working in these artisanally-engaged and oppositional ways. Political consciousness is woven through the curation of this year’s programme too. Emerging as we are from the pandemic, I think many of us are reflecting upon and reassessing our relationship with the world around us, and these questions have emerged as strong currents in recent experimental films. Echoes in the Landscape responds to these themes and ideas curatorially, bringing together nine works from the UK, Australia, Austria, USA, Brazil, France. From powerful energies
latent in the landscape, to thoughtful considerations of the ecosystem, anthropocene and and our interconnectedness with the natural environment, there’s so much to dig into and engage with, and we hope that you will join us in these conversations!