Two brand new commissions premiering at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2013 & deadline for submissions imminent


Wednesday 25th – Sunday 29th September 2013 will see the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed transform into one big cinema screen for the 9th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival through newly commissioned and imaginatively curated films, installations and events. With three months to go until the Festival and a few days until opportunities for submissions closes, today organisers are delighted to announce details of two major new projects and the first of the Jury members who have come on board!

Following a successful call for proposals from Norwegian artists, in partnership with NABROAD / Norwegian Collaborative Organisation for Contemporary Art Abroad, Sidsel Christensen has been commissioned to create a new moving image work in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Sidsel Christensen - Study for Composition X

Study for Composition X will be created on location in Berwick in August, capturing the geological qualities of the landscape and coastal line using the human form; the artist’s body as an interactive framing devise. This work is a development of a previous intervention in the landscape on the west coast of Norway, building on a series of video paintings commissioned by Open Gallery in London.

The piece specifically deals with how we see, and how we are placed, in the spaces that surround us, and how that has affected the history of landscape portraiture in art.

The work will be installed on two opposing screens: one presenting the original videos created on the Norwegian coast, in which the artist faces across the North Sea to the UK, and the other presenting the new work, to be filmed in Berwick, in which the artist will return her gaze over the water. Responding to the Festival’s theme, North by Northeast, the work will connect the two coastal locations.

Sidsel Christensen said today: “If you draw a line between Berwick and Norway on a map, the shortest, most direct line is hitting exactly the space in southwest of Norway, Ogna, where the my previous video was filmed. I am really happy for the opportunity this commission has given me, to be able to stretch the line of the gaze that far, in a way that seems both very physical and very conceptual at the same time."

Study for Composition X is being commissioned with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Arts Council England, in partnership with the NABROAD/ Norwegian Collaborative Organisation for Contemporary Art Abroad and Open Gallery.

The Festival is also excited to be able to give details about a second commission - a new, musical response by Field Music to the seminal silent documentary, Drifters (1929).

Field Music – Drifters

Drifters was directed by John Grierson – a pioneering Scottish filmmaker known for coining the term ‘documentary.’ The film follows the working day of a herring fishing fleet as they set sail from the Shetland Islands to battle the elements of the North Sea fishing grounds.

The newly-composed, cinematic score will be performed live at the Festival by Field Music, the Mercury Prize-shortlisted band led by Sunderland brothers Peter and David Brewis. Over the last ten years, Field Music have released four full-length albums and toured around the world as one of the most critically acclaimed bands to come out of the North East. This commission sees the original line-up of Peter, David and Andrew Moore reunite for the first time since 2007.

David Brewis said of the commission: "It's incredibly exciting to be working with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival to create something quite unique, and it's especially exciting that we're going to do it with Andy back in the fold. We intended to take a breather from regular band activities this year after a fairly hectic schedule touring for the last two Field Music records and this is exactly the kind of project we wanted to make time for; something which forces us to think and work in a different way and which will hopefully spur us to make something different and inspiring."

Drifters – which originally premiered in 1929 alongside Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin – will be presented for the first time with its new soundtrack in Berwick as part of the Festival before going on to tour to other cinemas and events across the UK. The live event responds to the Festival’s theme this year, North by Northeast, which explores the region’s connections to the North Sea. This new commission has been supported by PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England, and will be performed on Friday 27th September at The Maltings Theatre & Cinema.

Cecilia Stenbom was announced as Berwick Visual Arts’ artist in residence at the start of this year, developing a script using actual recorded conversations with residents of the town throughout spring.

Cecilia Stenbom – The Case

Now in post-production The Case – a short film shot on location in Berwick-upon-Tweed just last month and inspired by ‘Nordic Noir’ and popular British TV crime drama - brings together extracted scenarios from a fictitious police investigation with views on crime told through a combination of characters and haunting voiceovers.

Commissioned by Berwick Visual Arts in partnership with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, and supported by Arts Council England, The Case will be completed for its world premiere in time for the Festival. Also screening will be the UK premiere of Cecilia’s most recent work, How to Choose – a short, humorous ‘instruction film’ about small seemingly insignificant every day choices - which was produced by Third Films for Northern Film & Media and Channel 4.

The Festival is announcing the first of their Jury members to be confirmed – Nick James – in advance of the closing of submissions on 28th June.

Artists and filmmakers with short moving image works under 16 minutes in length will be automatically be eligible for selection for the Festival’s inaugural Best Short Film Award, sponsored by Inntravel, with the chance of being awarded a £500 cash prize at the screening event on Saturday 28th September. Nick James, the Editor of the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound magazine is the first jury member to be announced – with a moving image artist and curator to join Nick and to be announced shortly.

Look out in the press or subscribe to the website as the full jury is confirmed, and the festival line-up announced – including film premieres and the promenade of artists’ video projections. Tickets will go on sale for Drifters and all other ticketed events from mid-August.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival returns 25th – 29th September 2013. For further information or to sign up for our regular newsletters, please go to

With last year’s Festival resulting in Berwick’s B&B’s “selling out,” Festival organisers recommend visitors to book early. Please go to for information on local accommodation, or call Berwick Tourist Information Centre on +44 (0)1289 301 780.


Media contact:
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Nicky Harrison, White Hot Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 191 280 8020 / +44 (0) 7824 390826

Images can be downloaded from the Festival website: 

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