The Experimental Film Society (EFS) is a company specializing in creating and showcasing experimental cinema. Founded and directed by Rouzbeh Rashidi, the company emerged from the former Experimental Film Society collective. EFS focuses on cultivating film projects that embody its unique cinematic perspective, which has been honed over many years as a non-profit collective.
EFS is known for producing films that are highly committed to personal and experimental cinema. These films take a bold and exploratory approach to filmmaking, placing emphasis on mood, atmosphere, visual rhythms, and the captivating interplay between sound and image. EFS filmmakers don’t just experiment with cinema; they allow cinema to experiment on them, resulting in deeply immersive works that navigate a strange and unsettling territory, simultaneously uncannily familiar and utterly alien. Although the filmmakers associated with EFS come from diverse backgrounds, they all share a willingness to embrace the potential for chaos and the unknown. With its rich tapestry of cinematic impulse, EFS weaves a complex narrative that is as sensory as it is thought-provoking. Its productions echo the haunting alchemical qualities of silent cinema, the pioneering spirit of early cinema and the intellectual depth of classic art films. The influence of these genres is evident in the company’s ability to convey profound themes through unsettling yet formally perplexed audio-visual filmmaking. EFS also draws heavily from science fiction and horror, using these genres not merely for their thrill but as a conduit to explore more profound existential questions, often through a dystopian and apocalyptic lens. The cosmos and the occult frequently appear, serving as metaphors for the unknown and the inexplicable. At the same time, experimental music and the avant-garde provide a unique aesthetic that challenges conventional standards. These diverse elements combine to create an ominous and bewitching cinematic universe, pushing the boundaries of what film can achieve as an art form.
By challenging traditional cinema norms, EFS consistently creates films that redefine the possibilities of the medium. Cinema is presented as a diverse and expansive space encompassing all galaxies and life forms, many of which we can perceive but not fully comprehend.
EFS has played a significant role in the creation and support of numerous no-budget or low-budget feature-length films, as well as a large number of short films. In addition, EFS is known for curating experimental film screenings, showcasing the work of filmmakers and artists closely connected to the organization both nationally and internationally. As part of their efforts, EFS has started organizing The Luminous Void Experimental Film Festival, along with performances and talks, which has led to a multitude of events taking place worldwide.
Founded in 2000 by Rouzbeh Rashidi, EFS initially operated in Tehran, Iran, before relocating to Europe in 2004. In order to accommodate its growing portfolio of ambitious and professionally funded projects, as well as its EFS Film School, EFS transitioned into a company limited by guarantee (Ireland) in 2017.
Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society
edited by Rouzbeh Rashidi, Maximilian Le Cain & Atoosa Pour Hosseini
Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society marks the twentieth anniversary of what has been acclaimed as “the most active, prolific and intrepid group of experimental filmmakers working in Ireland today” (aemi).
Experimental Film Society is an Irish-based organisation for the production, archiving and distribution of personal, formally radical cinema. Founded by filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi, it is widely recognised as one of the most distinctive and influential voices in international underground film. EFS films conjure an intimate yet alien vision of the world through an exploratory, experiential approach to filmmaking. In blazing a unique and defiant trail through the landscape of contemporary Irish moving image, EFS has become synonymous with a stubbornly independent way of operating in complete freedom at the margins of film culture and the outer limits of cinematic creativity. EFS filmmakers include Rashidi, Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Vicky Langan, Maximilian Le Cain, Michael Higgins, Jann Clavadetscher, Shelly Kamiel and Chris O’Neill.
Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society celebrates the prolific work and achievements of this unlikely group of creative outsiders who banded together to challenge the norms and limitations of filmmaking in Ireland and beyond. Featuring contributions by noted critics and curators from across the globe, it examines the ideas and impulses that animate EFS as well as the practices of many of the filmmakers associated with it. It includes texts by Adrian Martin, Nadin Mai, Matt Packer, Pluck Projects, Sebastian Wiedemann, Sarah Hayden & Paul Hegarty, Azadeh Jafari, Vahid Mortazavi, Zulfikar Filandra and expert EFS scholar Nikola Gocić. These writings provide a guidebook to the imposingly vast ‘luminous void’ of Experimental Film Society cinema.
*To order Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society, please use the “Buy Now” button below. It is priced €20 + p&p (Europe €7, outside Europe €10).
*An eBook version is also available, priced at €10.
The book Luminous Void: Experimental Film Society Documents is now available! Edited by Rouzbeh Rashidi and Maximilian Le Cain, it chronicles the history of the Experimental Film Society (EFS) by compiling a series of essays, interviews and manifestos that set out and explore the ideas that drive and emerge from EFS filmmaking. It includes new texts by renowned film critic Adrian Martin, and by Alice Butler & Daniel Fitzpatrick, the curatorial team behind aemi (artists and experimental moving image), who describe the book thus: “This is the kind of book which belongs in the homes of artists, filmmakers, critics, programmers, curators and fans, encountered years from now well-thumbed and returned to again and again; as much a source of inspiration or a space for reflection on cinema and its ineffable power as a manual for uncompromised creative practice.” The book, LUMINOUS VOID: EXPERIMENTAL FILM SOCIETY DOCUMENTS is sold out. It is now only available as an eBook version (PDF). Please use the “Buy Now” button below to order an electronic copy. It is priced at €10.
EXPERIMENTAL FILM SOCIETY PROJECTS
- Screenings & Performances
- Video On Demand
- EFS Publications
- Luminous Void Experimental Film Festival
- Cinema Cyanide
- Homo Sapiens Project
To become a patron of EFS, please visit HERE