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By Otherfield, 28 June 2017
Image: Film still from Punishment Park by Peter Watkins (1971)





This years Otherfield Film Festival will take place at Laughton Lodge near Lewes between 28th and 30th July. Once more, we look forward to providing a refuge from the everyday commercial pressures of filmmaking, to create intimate viewing spaces where we can both celebrate and share our work as well as our insights into the process, difficulties and intensities involved in making independent non-fiction films.  


To this end we have carefully selected a programme of films and workshops that reflect the richness of the documentary form as a vehicle of learning, feeling and experimentation.


We are glad that Avi Mograbi (Between Fences, Z32) will be this year’s special guest and that Polish filmmaker Paweł Łoziński (You Don’t know How Much I Love You) will be with us too. Their work continues to excite and oftentimes defy expectation. Avi has persistently exposed the fault lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Paweł has developed a line in quiet ‘non-action’ films that dissect the vicissitudes of relationships.


There will be a Female Diary Strand that will help us explore the possibilities of subjective filmmaking as these touch upon ‘public intimacy’ and the diary-form. Within this strand we will be screening Belville Baby by Mia Engelberg and Chilean émigré Marilu Mallet’s Unfinished Diary. A screening of the exceptional work of Ann Charlotte Robertson is yet to be confirmed.


This year we have been struck by a strength of filmmaking coming out of the Mashriq and as a taster of such we are excited to be screening Maher Abi Samra’s A Maid for Each and Soudade Kaadan’s Obscure. To coin a phrase from writer Asaf Bayat these films could be said to reveal ‘life as politics’ outside of the beguiling narratives of the Western media.


UK filmmakers will be represented by Carol Salter’s Almost Heaven and by Jason Massot’s Road to Las Vegas. Both of these films, which focus on relocation and work, reveal a sensitivity and patience in their making and both filmmakers are working in a non-spectacular vein that often doesn’t get the exposure it warrants.


This years Lost Gems feature two die-hard independent mavericks who managed to persistently make work outside of the mainstream: Robert Kramer was recommended to us by Avi Mograbi and we will screen his unbelievable Our Nazi and, when thinking of those who trouble the fiction/reality border, we could think of no one else other than Peter Watkins. His Punishment Park, though relatively well known, remains a tour-de-force that carries the spark of revolt!


Workshops on offer this year include forums to be run by our special guests and a second convening of the filmmakers therapeutic group in which we explore the ethical dilemmas we face when making documentaries. New additions to this year’s workshop programme includes a workshop on Advocacy, Curation and Democratic Distribution with Andrea Luka Zimmerman and Gareth Evans who will explore the alternative strategies and routes by which hybrid moving image works can reach diverse audiences. A workshop on the continuing relevance of the themes, ideas and politics of Third Cinema will be convened by Keith Shiri who is currently the programmer of the Durban Film festival. A Radical Education strand, organized by Ludovica Fales will also be on offer. This will figure as a gathering to discuss and challenge the modes and methods of current teaching that can often temper our idiosyncratic instincts. As part of this strand, writer Howard Slater, will run a ‘Wander Lines’ workshop based around a screening of the freeform pedagogic work of Fernand Deligny as captured in Victor Renaud’s documentary, Ce Gamin-Là.


Other highlights will include Student and Emerging films as well as delicious Middle Eastern and Asian vegetarian food and Shadow Theatre and Storytelling around the bonfire. All this is set in the Sussex countryside overlooking the Downs.


Please visit for further programme details, location information and tickets.


A launch event featuring a free screening of Ambulance by Mohamed Jabaly will take place at the Institute of Light on Monday July 3rd. For further details on this please visit


See you there!