International Artist-Filmmaker Commission: Ben Russell

Internationally renowned US-based media artist and curator Ben Russell has been selected by Northern Film & Media and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival as the winner of a £5,000 commission for a work to be premiered at the 10th Anniversary edition of the Festival in September 2014.

Having had solo exhibitions and screenings all over the world – from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and at film festivals ranging from Berlinale to Venice – Russell will come to North East England in September to present a new documentary work titled ‘The Twilight State’, as an immersive installation.

Responding to the Festival’s theme Border Crossing and set between Swaziland and South Africa, ‘The Twilight State’ will explore culture, nature, society and existence within this unusual landscape. With the borderless Kruger National Park bringing modernity abruptly to the doorstep of the natural world, and in a society still grappling with the after-effects of apartheid, ‘The Twilight State’ documents the lives of the territory’s inhabitants as borders dematerialise, evolve and dissolve.

This new commission follows Northern Film & Media’s successful application for funding to Arts Council England, and comes as the result of an international call for proposals issued by NFM and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival which attracted hundreds of entries from over 30 different countries around the world. Support for the project also comes from The MacDowell Colony, USA and the commissioning process was supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

September also marks the release of Ben Russell’s debut feature ‘A Spell to Ward off the Darkness’ (Soda Pictures), which launches at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on 12 September.

'The Twilight State' will be premiered at the Berwick-upon Tweed Film & Media Arts Festival, which runs from 17th - 21st September 2014.

Ben will take part in an artists' talk chaired by Maggie Ellis, Head of Artists' Moving Image, Film London on Saturday 20th September from 1-2.30pm at The Maltings Theatre & Cinema.

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