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 'Correspondences' – symbols, metaphor, hidden meanings.

Selected films will be screened in November 2018 at Swedenborg Hall, ‘one of London’s most atmospheric venues’ (The Guardian).

The artist Susan Hiller will choose and announce the winner at the close of the festival, as well as present a curated programme exploring the theme of 'Correspondences'. Artists and writers including Ali Smith, Bridget Smith, Andrew Kötting, Jeremy Millar and Lech Majewski have judged and shown work at SFF.

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

The only film festival in the world inspired by the work of a single philosopher, the SFF has received a huge response from thousands of filmmakers around the world since its launch in 2010. 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.

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.

The 2015/16 programme celebrated the award-winning Triptych of the great Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski alongside remarkable shorts by Richard Ashrowan; followed by a dynmaic programme of short films on 24 March, judged by the artist Bridget Smith. In November 2016, a second round of shortlisted films were screened alongside features by John Rogers and guest judge Andrew Kötting. The 2016 winners were Harold Charre, Toby Tatum and Daphne Rosenthal.

Filmmakers worldwide are invited to submit films of 20 minutes or less, which have been made between 1 June 2017 and 30 June 2018. For further information, please visit swedenborg.org.uk/events/swedenborg_film_festival

With a multimedia practice extending over 40 years, Susan Hiller is one of the most influential artists of her generation. Since first making innovative use of audio and visual technology in the early 1980s, her groundbreaking installations, multi-screen videos and audio works have achieved international recognition. Each of Hiller’s works is based on specific cultural artefacts from our society, which she uses as basic materials. Many pieces explore the liminality of certain phenomena including the practice of automatic writing (Sisters of Menon, 1972/79), near death experiences (Channels, 2013), and collective experiences of unconscious, subconscious and paranormal activity (Belshazzar’s Feast, 1983-4; Psi Girls, 1999; Witness, 2000). Hiller’s powerful and resonant films range from the J Street Project (2002-05), a chillingly extensive search for every street sign in Germany bearing the word Juden (Jew), to The Last Silent Movie (2007), which also documents disappearance and absence, although this time through speech recordings of dying or extinct languages. Her psychologically charged and thematically varied practice amounts to an impassioned plea for the joys and mysteries associated with irrationality.

Susan Hiller was born in 1940 in Tallahasse, Florida, and has been based mainly in London since the early 1960s. After studying film and photography at The Cooper Union and archaeology and linguistics at Hunter College in New York, Hiller went on to a National Science Foundation fellowship in anthropology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her work features in numerous international private and public collections including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London and the Centro de Arte Contemporanea Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil. Her career has been recognised by survey exhibitions at the ICA, London (1986); ICA, Philadelphia (1998); Museu Serralves, Porto (2004); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2006); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2007) and, most recently by, a major retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain (2011).

Selected films will be screened on 24 November 2018, to a public audience at Swedenborg Hall, ‘one of London’s most atmospheric venues’ (The Guardian). 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 2017 and 30 June 2018.

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 2018. 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
  • A fantastic all around film festival! I’m very honored to have been a part of it this year.

    December 2018
  • My Film Selected in "Special Mention".
    The good taste festival, exchange is so good.

    November 2017
  • Julian Olariu

    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 Betschart

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

    May 2016