Experiencing Interruptions?

The Host

A filmmaker turns forensic detective as she pieces together hundreds of photographs in search of what she believes to be a buried history, only to find herself inside the story she is researching. The Host investigates the activities of British Petroleum (BP) in Iran; a tale of power, imperial hubris and catastrophe. While the tectonic plates of geopolitical conspiracy shift in the background, the film asks us to look, and look again, at images produced by the oil company, together with personal photos taken by its British staff in Iran– including the filmmaker’s parents– not for what they show, but for what they betray. The Host is about the stories we tell about ourselves and others, the facts and fictions we live by – and their consequences.

  • Miranda Pennell
  • Miranda Pennell
  • Miranda Pennell
  • John Smith
  • Miranda Pennell & John Smith
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    first-person film, essay-film, experimental documentary
  • Runtime:
    60 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 18, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    archives, digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Punto de Vista Navarra International Film Festival
    March 8, 2017
    Spanish premiere
    Award for Best Film
  • Kasseler DokFest
    November 16, 2016
    German premiere
    Non Competitive
  • Rotterdam IFF
    February 2, 2016
    European premiere
  • Ann Arbor FF
    Ann Arbor
    United States
    March 6, 2016
    North Americian Premiere
  • UK tour regional cinemas
    Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester etc
    United Kingdom
  • London Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    October 24, 2015
    World premiere
  • Rencontres International Paris/Berlin
    March 15, 2017
    French premiere
  • Porto/Post/Doc
    November 28, 2016
    Portuguese premiere
Director Biography - Miranda Pennell

Miranda Pennell first trained in contemporary dance, and later studied visual anthropology. Her video work exploring different forms of collective performance whether dancers, soldiers or fight directors, has been broadcast internationally and widely shown in festival and gallery contexts. Her recent moving-image work uses archival materials as the starting point for a reflection on the colonial imaginary. Her film Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (2010) was awarded best international film at the 2001 Images Festival, Toronto, and Courtisane Festival of Media Art, Ghent, and is published on DVD by Filmarmalade. The Host, Pennell’s first feature length film, is touring UK venues in 2016 courtesy of the Independent Cinema Office.

Selected screenings of Pennell’s work includes ‘Co-op Dialogues 1976-2016: Lis Rhodes & Miranda Pennell’ and ‘Assembly: survey of recent artists’ film and video in Britain 2008–2013’at Tate Britain (2016 and 2015 respectively), ‘Autobiography and the Archive’ at the Zhika auditorium at Whitechapel Gallery (2015), ‘Colonial Spectres’ Museum of Modern Art Vienna (2012), and group exhibitions ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ at Mead Gallery (2013) and ‘Europe – The Future of History’ at Kunsthaus Zurich (2015). Retrospective programs of her work include those at Glasgow Short Film Festival (2011), Oberhausen Short Film Festival (2006), Vienna International Shorts (2011), Tampere Short Film Festival (2009). She is based in London and her work is distributed by LUX.

Filmography: The Host, 2015, 60 minutes; Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed 2010, 28 minutes; Drum Room, 2007, 15 minutes; You made me love you, 2005, 4 minutes; Fisticuffs, 2004, 11 minutes; Magnetic North, 3003, 9 minutes; Human Radio, 2002, 9 minutes; Tattoo, 2001, 9 minutes.

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