PASSENGERFILMS News – Autumn 2014

13 Oct

Award Detail

Hello friends! It’s all been a bit quiet here over the summer as we regroup, but just a few exciting bits of news as we head into the Autumn…

1. We’re thrilled to say that we earned a distinction at Cinema For All’s Film Society of the Year Awards this year in the “Best Film Education Programme” category. Congrats to all the winners, and thanks again to Cinema For All for recognising and promoting the fantastic work being done by film societies all across the country.

2. If you’re looking for good cultural geography-relevant film screenings…our friends in the music department at Royal Holloway have organised a free screening of ‘An Inconsolable Memory’, a beautiful and evocative meditation on (cultural) memory which speaks to themes including ethnography, the archive, race, identity, the politics of place and land distribution, and displacement. The screening is on Thursday the 23rd October at the Screening Room, Somerset House, and again on 23rd November if you can’t make the October date, this time at the Lexi Cinema, Kensal Rise – both events free, but booking essential – click here for more details and to book for October, and here for more details and to book for November.

Tuesday 27th May (new date!): THROUGH THE LENS – sights and sites of war

22 Apr

Diry Wars RESCHEDUELD2 copy

**PLEASE NOTE: this event was originally planned for Tuesday 6 May. Due to a planned tube strike on that date we have RESCHEDULED for Tuesday 27 May so that it’s easier to attend!**

Join us on Tuesday the 27th of May at 6pm for a FREE evening of film and discussion presented in conjunction with students and staff from the MSc in Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London, featuring a screening of the award-winning documentary Dirty Wars (2013, 87 mins) - winner of the Sundance award for cinematography in 2013.

In and through film, war is observed, interpreted and constructed to invoke a visceral audience response. Dirty Wars and several contrasting short films will provide an avenue to deconstructing how the lenses of the journalist’s eye, the film editor’s art, and the film’s representation of place combine to provoke that response.

The film will be contextualized with talks and clips of short films, and a post-screening discussion will be chaired by Dr. Alasdair Pinkerton from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr. Pinkerton will be joined by director and editor Ben Campbell and journalist and documentary filmmaker Sean Langan as we attempt to situate war from both sides of the lens.

About the panelists:

Alasdair PinkertonModerator: Dr. Alasdair Pinkerton, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography (RHUL)

Dr. Alasdair Pinkerton is a Lecturer in political geography and geopolitics, with particular interests in issues related to critical geopolitics, the media, and the ‘international relations’ of public diplomacy. He has regional specialisms in the South Atlantic (Falkland Islands, Argentina and Chile) and South Asia (India, Pakistan and Afghanistan), as well as working extensively in the US, Canada and the UK. Recent papers can be found in Political Geography, the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Twentieth Century British History, the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, and Progress in Human Geography. His first book, “Radio”, will be published by Reaktion (and the Science Museum) in 2014. In 2013, Dr. Pinkerton served as an accredited observer of the Falkland Islands referendum. He appears frequently in the UK and international media on issues related to global geopolitics, including the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and the UK’s Overseas Territories.

Ben CampbellPanelist: Ben Campbell, Director and Editor, Rampage Studio

Ben brings a TV & film editor and director’s voice and eye to the mix. He is a TV geek – because he’s passionate about making it. He’s pretty good at it too. The first half of Ben’s (almost) 20-year career was darkened rooms in Soho editing the likes of Stressed Eric for the BBC, Peppa Pig for Channel 5 and Charlie and Lola for Tiger Aspect. Ben emerged from the edit suite and naturally found himself in the director’s chair, taking the lead on Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece for SBS ONE Australia, James and Thom’s Pizza Pilgrimage for Food Network and Roller Derby Till I Die for Extreme Sports Channel.

Sean LanganPanelist: Sean LanganJournalist and Filmmaker

Sean Langan is a British journalist and documentary filmmaker who works in dangerous and volatile situations; environments noted for war, conflict and civil unrest, from Latin America to Iraq to Zimbabwe, and most recently from Afghanistan where he made the award winning films ‘Fighting the Taliban’ and ‘Meeting the Taliban’ in 2007. In March 2008, whilst working on a film for Channel 4, Sean Langan was kidnapped in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, by a group associated with the Taliban after trying to make contact with Al-Qaeda’s second in command. He was freed three months later (21st June 2008) after his family had negotiated his release.

It all kicks off at 6pm, Tuesday 27th May, Jetlag Bar, 125 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, W1t 6QB (see map). Entry is free! BUT registration is required – click here to secure your place. Drinks and snacks will be available to purchase at the bar.

Monday 24th February: ALICE IN WONDERLAND – the making of worlds and mapping children’s literature (FREE screening!)

19 Feb

Alice 2
Please join us this coming Monday the 24th of February for a very special Passengerfilms event, curated by the Cultural Geography MA students at Royal Holloway, University of London…

We’ll be exploring the making of worlds and mapping in children’s literature through film and discussion. Our speakers include Caroline Lawrence (author of the very popular Roman Mysteries series), Dr Owain Jones (CCRI Senior Research Fellow and UWE) and Richard Lawrence (illustrator and designer). The program will include a series of shorts and ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ (1951).

6pm, Monday the 24th February, Student Union Building, Royal Holloway Campus, Egham (see map). To confirm your attendance and guarantee entry (the event is free but seating is limited!) tickets can be reserved here.

We are very much looking forward to a great evening exploring the worlds of children’s stories and mapping – please do join us!

Thursday 13th March: NINE ELMS – film as spatial critique (FREE event!) – SOLD OUT

12 Feb


Please note this event is now fully booked! Those on the waiting list will be notified on a first-come first-served basis if seats become available. If you have booked a place and can’t make it, please contact to let us know so we can allocate your seat to someone else. Many thanks! 

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce an upcoming event produced in collaboration with the Open University’s OpenSpace Research Centre

Join us in Camden on Thursday the 13th of March for a very special evening of presentation and discussion on the theme of film as spatial critique. The event brings together artist and researcher Matthew Flintham and filmmaker Patrick Keiller, whose separate studies of the landscapes of historic film intersect in the formerly industrial landscape of Nine Elms, the south London waterfront between Vauxhall and Battersea.

Flintham has recently researched Battersea’s appearances in cinema, notably in the 1960s and early 70s. Keiller’s project involved the assembly of a navigable ‘landscape’ of topographic film of the UK in circa 1900, the basis of an exhibition at BFI Southbank in 2007-8.

The two researchers will describe their respective studies, showing footage and other visual material, and will attempt some speculative interpretation of the moving-image landscape…

Matthew Flintham recently concluded the speculative project Cinematic Geographies of Battersea: Urban Interface and Site-Specific Spatial Knowledge, a collaboration between Liverpool, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, and English Heritage. Flintham is currently the Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence in the School of Geography at Newcastle University.

Patrick Keiller’s films include London, Robinson in Space and Robinson in Ruins, the latter followed by an exhibition The Robinson Institute at Tate Britain in 2012. His essay collection The View from the Train is published by Verso.

The event is free, but registration is required – email with the subject line ‘PASSENGERFILMS’ to reserve your place. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be provided.

6.30pm – 8.30pm, Thursday the 13th March, OU Camden, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London, NW1 8NP (see map). Tickets are FREE, but please reserve a place to ensure you get a seat!

Friday 22nd November: Revisiting CHINATOWN – voices in contested water

3 Nov


Passengerfilms is back on Friday the 22nd of November, and we’re thrilled to be at a new venue: the Shoreditch Village Hall, a pop-up events space in Hoxton Square.

Join us to explore filmic voices and bodies contesting that most essential of human needs: water…

We’ll be screening Roman Polanski’s classic Chinatown (1974) – a story of murder, reservoirs, and the birth of Los Angeles – and reframing it with a selection of short films: The British Public Information Film Dark and Lonely Water (1973), Peter Nestler’s innovative early work Am Siel (1962), and Wanuri Kahiu’s dazzling Kenyan sci-fi short Pumzi (2009), which imagines society on a desiccated future earth.

With guest speakers:

Alex Loftus is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography at King’s College London. His research interests speak to the natures of the urban and their politics, and is author of Everyday Environmentalism: Creating an Urban Political Ecology.

Richard Bater is a PhD candidate in Geography at King’s College London. Richard’s research empirically and conceptually examines the government of the present, presently focussing on historical and contemporary approaches to water regulation in Central Asia.

Sophie Mayer is a film journalist, academic, and artist interested in the meeting between arts and social justice. Sophie is author of The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love.

Plus drinks and discussion as usual!

Friday 22nd November, 7pm. Entry £5 on the door. The Village Hall, Shoreditch Works, 33 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN (see map)

Wednesday 23rd October: BLACKFISH – film and the animal spectacle (FREE screening!)

30 Sep


After a summer break (and an award!), Passengerfilms is back with a new season of film screenings, starting on Wednesday the 23rd of October. We’ve teamed up with The Culture Capital Exchange‘s Inside Out Festival to bring you our first event of the season – this time at the Screening Room, Somerset House. This is an exciting opportunity to get a taste of what Passengerfilms does – the event is free (but you must still reserve your place…)

Join us to explore representations of the natural world, human/non-human interactions, and the captive animal on screen through an evening of film and discussion – featuring Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s critically acclaimed documentary Blackfish, “a mesmerizing psychological thriller” that follows the story of Tilikum, a performing whale that killed several people while in captivity, and investigates the ethics behind the multi-billion dollar sea park industry.

With contextual talks by five exciting researchers and theorists from geography, film, and animal studies:

Dr. Christopher Bear is a lecturer in human geography at Cardiff University. His research interests centre on the relationships between humans, animals and technologies. He has pursued these through studies of recreational and commercial fisheries, and of dairy farming. He is one of relatively few human geographers to have a focus on aquatic environments.

Professor Henry Buller is a professor of geography at the University of Exeter. He works principally in the area of non-human geographies, notably animal geographies.

Dr. Michael Lawrence is a Lecturer in film studies at the University of Sussex. His book on the film star Sabu is being published by the British Film Institute in 2014. He is the co-editor, with Laura McMahon, of the forthcoming collection Animal Life and the Moving Image.

Dr. Jamie Lorimer is a lecturer in the geography department at the University of Oxford. His research, teaching and writing explores environmentalism after the Anthropocene. Recent foci include rewilding, the microbiome, elephants and animals on film.

Dr. Anat Pick is a lecturer in film studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interests include ecocinema, animals in film, documentary, and posthuman ethics. She is the author of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film and co-edited the forthcoming book Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human with Guinevere Narraway.

Doors at 6:30 for a 7pm start, Wednesday the 23rd October, The Screening Room, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA (see map). Tickets are FREE, but please reserve your place HERE – seating is limited!

PASSENGERFILMS wins national award (again!)

23 Sep


Very exciting news: PASSENGERFILMS has won its second national award in a row for our work in education and public film curating…

Originally posted on Write off the map:

bffs award 1

passengerfilms bffs award 1

Last night the British Federation of Film Societies held their annual award ceremonies for innovative film exhibition, and I’m excited to say that PASSENGERFILMS – the cultural geography themed cinema which I founded three years ago, and have worked on with a team of other volunteer PhD students since – won the national award for Best Film Education Programme for the second year running. (Above – me on stage at NFT1, accepting the award!) Congratulations to the PASSENGERFILMS committee, Miranda Ward, Mia Hunt, Liz Haines, and Harriet Hawkins. This means our programme of cultural geography themed events over the last twelve months has once again been nationally recognised, thanks in no small part to the fantastic speakers, researchers, and guest curators with whom we’ve been collaborating. Full information on all of our previous screenings is on the blog here, and some photos of recent screenings follow below.

Passengerfilms Images-page-001


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