1st Edition

Contemporary Radical Film Culture Networks, Organisations and Activists

Edited By Steve Presence, Mike Wayne, Jack Newsinger Copyright 2021
    272 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Comprising essays from some of the leading scholars and practitioners in the field, this is the first book to investigate twenty-first century radical film practices across production, distribution and exhibition at a global level.

    This book explores global radical film culture in all its geographic, political and aesthetic diversity. It is inspired by the work of the Radical Film Network (RFN), an organisation established in 2013 to support the growth and sustainability of politically engaged film culture around the world. Since then, the RFN has grown rapidly, and now consists of almost 200 organisations across four continents, from artists’ studios and production collectives to archives, distributors and film festivals. With this foundation, the book engages with contemporary radical film cultures in Africa, Asia, China, Europe, the Middle East as well as North and South America, and connects key historical moments and traditions with the present day. Topics covered include artists’ film and video, curation, documentary, feminist and queer film cultures, film festivals and screening practices, network-building, policy interventions and video-activism.

    For students, researchers and practitioners, this fascinating and wide-ranging book sheds new light on the political potential of the moving image and represents the activists and organisations pushing radical film forward in new and exciting directions.

    For more information about the Radical Film Network, visit www.radicalfilmnetwork.com.


    Part I: Issues in Radical Film Culture, Past and Present

    1. ‘"Admin will make or break the rebellion": Building the Radical Film Network’ Steve Presence
    2. ‘Imagining change: A history of radical film in the USA’ Chuck Kleinhans
    3. ‘Feminist documentary: Distribution, exhibition and interactive platforms’ Julia Lesage
    4. ‘Video activism on the social web’ Chris Tedjasukmana and Jens Eder
    5. ‘TV interventions: Artists, activists and alternative media’ Ieuan Franklin
    6. Part II: Interventions in practice and politics

    7. ‘Spaces of the possible: Developing the Radical Film Network in Scotland’ David Archibald
    8. Ciutat Morta / Dead City: agency, ICTs and critical urban documentary in the Spanish context’ Ana Rodriguez Granell
    9. ‘The practice and politics of radical documentary circulation: A case-study of tactical media in India’ Shweta Kishore
    10. ‘Activist filmmaking in Africa, with a focus on Cameroonian Jean-Marie Teno’ Mette Hjort
    11. ‘Radical cinema in Israel and Palestine after Oslo: Unrealistic hopes and unwarranted expectations’ Haim Bresheeth
    12. ‘Scratch video revisited’ Nick Cope
    13. ‘A funny thing happened on the way to utopia - The Workshop Declaration (1982-1989)’ Andy Robson
    14. Part III: Festivals and Exhibition

    15. ‘Film, interrupted: Alternative screening practices for a radical film culture’ Elena Boschi
    16. ‘Re-thinking human rights film festivals: A radical perspective’ Anthony Killick
    17. ‘Frames of counterpower: The politics of film programming’ Ezra Winton
    18. ‘‘‘Communist international of queer films": The radical culture of the Beijing Queer Film Festival’ Hongwei Bao
    19. ‘Star and Shadow Cinema and before: Radical screening culture in Newcastle upon Tyne’ Christo Wallers

    Part IV: Interviews

    18. ‘Artists’ moving image’ Oliver Ressler interviewed by Mike Wayne

    19. ‘European feature docs’ Moviemienta / Aris Chatzistefanou interviewed by Jack Newsinger, Steve Presence and Mike Wayne

    20. ‘Video-activism: Reel News’ An interview with Sean Dey by Eamonn Kelly

    21. ‘Community access’ Echo Park Film Center / Paolo Davanzo and Lisa Marr interviewed by Steve Presence

    22. ‘"We need critical magazine, debates, spaces!" Third cinema in Morocco’ Nadir Boumouch interviewed by Steve Presence


    Steve Presence is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at UWE Bristol, UK. His research spans activist film culture, documentary and the UK film and television industries, and he is currently working on an AHRC-funded study of the UK’s feature documentary film industry. He convened the Radical Film Network in 2013.

    Mike Wayne is Professor in Film and Media Studies at Brunel University, UK. His research covers radical film practices, media and cultural studies, Marxist theory and questions of class inequality and its cultural impacts.

    Jack Newsinger is Assistant Professor in Cultural Industries and Media at the University of Nottingham, UK. He has published widely on cultural and media policy, cultural labour and diversity, and has been involved in the Radical Film Network since 2015.

    A newly, always, and again-relevant corner of contemporary and historic media culture—global radical film culture—is provocatively explored by its theorists and practitioners in Contemporary Radical Film Culture. Contributing to and driving these debates and practices while attending to the affordances of re-emergence through networking and networks, the authors, all members of the Radical Film Network, build new connections and learn from empowering histories because of the crises of our times, and in hopes of informing the future.

    Alexandra Juhasz, Distinguished Professor of Film, Brooklyn College, CUNY


    This first major collection of radical moving-image practices in the 21st century marks an aggressive new phase in the resistance against capitalist commodity culture. Remarkable for its intelligence, originality, accessibility, and especially for its global comprehensiveness, it will be of great value for activists, scholars and teachers, and indeed everyone interested in the struggle for a more equal and less exploitative socialist world.  

    David E. James, Professor, Division of Cinema & Media Studies, University of Southern California


    This timely collection,  impressive in its broad scope,  testifies to the diversity and vitality of radical film culture round the world today.  The articles span a time period from the mid 20th century to the present,  using case histories drawn from five continents and interrogating a range of processes by which films are made, seen and received.   The focus is on politics and practice, a core question being how can image culture help promote a society which is more egalitarian, more sustainable  and more caring than that we currently inhabit?  While the editors and nearly all the contributors have academic posts involving some writing and teaching,  most are practitioners as well and this mix of interests results in a combination of intellectual rigour and practical relevance which makes this an important book both for  academics and media activists.

    Margaret Dickinson, Director, Marker Ltd.