Judges for 2023: Andrea Luka Zimmerman & Ben Rivers

The Swedenborg Film Festival 2023 (SFF2023) invites entries of new films of 20 minutes or less from emerging and established independent filmmakers. Now a landmark event in the UK film calendar, the SFF has received a huge response from thousands of filmmakers around the world and has gained a reputation for the quality and diversity of its programming.

In an expanded award format, prizes will be presented in several categories. There will also be a special 'public vote' award. Shortlisted films will be shown alongside invited screenings from established filmmakers.

The SFF supports all genres and encourages submissions that draw upon the diverse and radical traditions influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). Artists, writers and filmmakers influenced by Swedenborg include William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, Hilma af Klint, Jorge Luis Borges, Ingmar Bergman and many others. Films featured previously in the SFF have explored ideas of transcendence and symbolism, and themes have ranged from social reform to psychogeography.

Shortlisted films for SFF2023 will be screened during a live event in our atmospheric neo-classical Hall on December 2, where winners will be selected and announced by our guest judges. In addition to this the films will be available to watch online and open to a public vote.

Former judges include:
2022: Keith Sargent and Lindsay Seers
2021: Samson Kambalu
2020: Melanie Manchot and John Smith
2019: Chloe Aridjis
2018: Susan Hiller
2017: Ali Smith
2016: Andrew Kötting
2015: Bridget Smith
2014: Peter Fillingham, Nora Foster and Sukhdev Sandhu
2013: Lech Majewski
2012: Gareth Evans and Jeremy Millar
2011: Rosie Cooper and Ian Hunt
2010: Nora Foster and Stephen McNeilly

Swedenborg House is a fully inclusive not-for-profit publishing house, museum and cultural venue based in Bloomsbury, London. It hosts a diverse and lively programme of events. Featured speakers and artists have included Simon Armitage, A S Byatt, Brian Catling, Jeremy Deller, Deborah Levy, Iain Sinclair, Marina Warner and many others.

“. . . a centre for the discussion of ideas, particularly the interface between the arts, philosophy and ethics - all trying to get to the heart of the human condition, and our place in the world.” Ken Worpole, writer and social historian on Swedenborg House, 2021.

Information about previous film festivals and Emanuel Swedenborg can be found by following the website link above.

Selected films will be screened online, and live screened at Swedenborg House on December 2, 2023. Winners will be selected by a guest judge and will receive a distinctive prize related to the festival. The online shortlisted films will also be open to a public vote and prize.

Previous prize winners:
2022: Joshua Alexander (public vote); Parlour Collective; Cecilia Araneda (joint winners)
2021: Alexander Fingrutd (best film); Karen Russo (public vote)
2020: Shirley Snow (best film); Matt Hulse & Sami Fitz (public vote)
2019: Hope Tucker (best film)
2018: Oona Grimes; Andrew Kötting; Alcaeus Spyrou (joint winners: best film)
2017: Fenglin Chen (best film)
2016: Harold Charre; Toby Tatum (joint winners: best film)
2015: Daphne Rosenthal; Toby Tatum (joint winners: best film)
2014: Ezra Wube (best film)
2013: Nick Jordan (best film)
2012: Oliver Pietsch (best film)
2011: Ezra Wube (best film)
2010: Dave Griffiths (best film); Rebecca Siddall (best first film); Chiara Ambrosio & Yaron Bar (joint best animation); Toby Tatum (best sound); Katherine Tulloh (best experimental); Gerard Freixes Ribera (best comedy)

Guidelines for Submission:

—Films must be 20 minutes or less in length
—Submission deadline: 25 August 2023
—An administration charge applies to each film submitted (£10 standard; £5 student or unwaged)

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 2023. 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
  • Julieta Tetelbaum

    I am super happy to have been part of this film festival. I really enjoyed it! THANKS

    January 2023
  • Tom Bessoir

    A fantastic festival with great communication. Their decision to show my film as a looped installation payed off brilliantly!
    Thanks again.

    December 2021
  • Matt Hulse

    I had a vision; the thin seam between Heaven and Earth opened up and Good Advice was imparted to me by Angels. I certainly did not expect this from a festival, and yet it was in Bloomsbury.

    December 2021
  • Wheeler Winston Dixon

    Excellent festival - honored to be a part of the proceedings - many thanks for such a professional presentation.

    December 2020
  • Marina Landia

    Great experience! Excellent communication and many high quality contributions.

    December 2020