2020 Theme: Appearances
2020 Judge: TBA

Featuring new films of 20 minutes or less and co-curated by Gareth Evans (Whitechapel Gallery) and Nora Foster (Frieze), the Swedenborg Film Festival invites entries from the latest emerging and established talent of experimental and artist film, exploring the theme of 'Appearances'.

Selected films will be screened online in November–December 2020 and the winner will be chosen by a guest judge (TBA).

The novelist Chloe Aridjis was the guest judge for the 2019 Festival. Artists and writers including Ali Smith, Bridget Smith, Andrew Kötting, Susan Hiller, Jeremy Millar and Lech Majewski have judged and shown work at SFF.

Filmmakers are invited to explore a theme encountered in the work of scientist, philosopher, theologian and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) as well as those he influenced. A foundation of the Romantic, Symbolist and Surrealist artistic traditions, Swedenborg was a seminal influence on generations of radical thinkers.

Since its launch in 2010, the SFF has received a huge response from thousands of filmmakers around the world. The annual festival was re-launched in July 2015 with an expanded framework, a new competition and a fresh commitment to showing the work of international filmmakers who are engaging with themes similar to those that energized Swedenborg.

The 2019 Festival explored the theme of 'Use and Purpose', the Swedenborgian idea that everything has a reason to be, a purpose to fulfil. We screened three visionary feature films by Carlos Reygadas, Jem Cohen and John Burgan, as well as our ten shortlisted short films. The winner of the 2019 Festival was Hope Tucker, with special mentions for Maya Ramsay and Stephanie Barber.

2017 Festival explored the theme of 'dreams', with a season of iconic features and visionary shorts chosen by the writer Ali Smith. An award-winning writer and cultural critic, Smith curated a season of films – from Fellini's classic 'Nights of Cabiria' to iconic short films by Jean Vigo – all questioning boundaries between imagination and reality, performance and identity. The festival concluded with the screening of the 2017 shortlist and Smith's announcement of the 2017 winner: Fenglin Chen, alongside special mentions: Michelle Brand, Atobe Hiroshi and Chay Milne.

Filmmakers worldwide are invited to submit films of 20 minutes or less, which have been made between 1 June 2019 and 30 June 2020. For further information, please visit swedenborg.org.uk/events/swedenborg_film_festival

Selected films will be screened in November–December 2020. Winners will receive distinctive prizes related to the festival.

Guidelines for Submission:

– Films must be 20 minutes or less in length
– Films must have been created between 1 June 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Terms & Conditions:

I confirm that I have obtained all necessary written consents from all persons, companies and organizations involved in the making of the film.

I confirm that I hold the rights in this film or relevant permissions necessary to allow the film to be screened for public exhibition at the Swedenborg Short Film Festival 2019. I am willing to produce evidence of such ownership or permissions if required to do so by the Festival Director, Festival Board or Selection Panel.

I hereby grant the Festival the necessary license to screen the film during the
period of the Festival free of charge.

I understand submission of this completed application form and film file/DVD/web link does not guarantee the film's inclusion in the Festival.

I understand that the decision of the Festival Selection Panel to screen the film or not is entirely at their discretion and any decision is final.

I understand the organizers can accept no responsibility for any loss or damage to the film while it is in their hands.

I confirm that I will indemnify the organizers against any claim against them arising directly from the screening of the film, including but not by way of limitation, legal proceedings for libel or defamation.

Overall Rating
  • martin del carpio

    A fantastic all around film festival! I’m very honored to have been a part of it this year.

    December 2018
  • A really good taste festival, exchange is so good.

    November 2017
  • Great festival !!!!!!! A lot of good film

    November 2017
  • Bernd Lützeler

    My film won the second prize, but unfortunately I could not attend the festival. Therefore, I have to leave some blank categories in the rating. But the communication before and after was nice, friendly and prompt, so my overall experience was great!

    December 2016
  • Ryan + Rachel Betschart-Nakawatase

    A great festival with great taste!! Screened with some big current names from the experimental film circuit

    May 2016