21 Dec 2016

EFS Season’s Greetings

In 2011, Experimental Film Society began organising screenings and related events featuring its own members and, increasingly, guest artists. Since then we have organised more than seventy screenings, performances, talks and exhibitions. Our profile and visibility continue to grow rapidly both in Ireland and abroad. 2016 proved to be an especially fruitful and prolific year. It has also been an exceptionally challenging one, perhaps the most challenging of the past five years. As it draws to a close, it seems clear that the limits of a certain way of operating have been reached, and that new strategies and priorities are required to effectively move forward.

So far, the organisation, administration, promotion, and most of the technical resourcing of EFS and its events have been carried out on an almost entirely voluntary basis. As the director and curator of EFS, the responsibility for managing and presenting these programmes begins, ends and largely rests with me. The sheer amount of work involved and the intensity of many of the events have been extremely demanding, especially given that EFS is currently unfunded as an organisation. Some individual venues have been able to offer small fees for single events, but the large majority of programmes were curated, executed and promoted on zero budget.

EFS has now reached a level where proceeding on this basis is untenable. The seriousness and professionalism of the organisation is well proven, as is its importance to artists worldwide and to Irish alternative cinema in particular. But to keep this work going and to keep raising the bar, the current situation has to improve.

I’m grateful for the lessons in ingenuity and endurance that working for so long in an underground, DIY fashion has taught me. But the time has come to insist on better conditions for EFS artists and the presentation of their work. My experiences have led me to formulate a list of simple strategies that we will start implementing in the New Year:

  • EFS will not be accepting any new members in the foreseeable future in order to better focus on promoting existing members. Collaborations with a select number of likeminded artists, filmmakers and organisations will, however, continue.
  • EFS will not participate in any projects or events that do not offer either financial remuneration or significant in-kind benefit.
  • EFS will present fewer events in 2017 to better focus on the technical quality and venue suitability of its screenings and performances.
  • EFS will prioritise sourcing funding to cover its costs as an organisation.
  • EFS will launch an ongoing funding campaign on Patreon. This platform will allow fans to become patrons of EFS either on a recurring basis or for individual projects. Funders will be granted exclusive access to EFS material online as well as receiving other perks.

I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to all the EFS members, artists, filmmakers, curators, venues and cinema who collaborated with us throughout 2016, and most of all to the extraordinary audiences who attended our events. Without their tremendous support none of this would have been possible. It’s been a great year – thanks for being part of it. Onwards! –Rouzbeh Rashidi

Some EFS highlights of 2016

-December 2016: There was a strong Experimental Film Society presence in the first edition of the Berlin Experimental Film Festival (December 17-18). The official selection featured films by Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Maximilian Le Cain, Michael Higgins, Jann Clavadetscher and Rouzbeh Rashidi as well as a live performance by Vicky Langan.

-December 2016: Rouzbeh Rashidi’s feature TRAILERS played at Lichtblick-Kino, Berlin.

-November 2016: A programme of EFS works and TRAILERS played at Maus Hábitos – Espaço de Intervenção Cultural, Porto. These screenings were programmed by FILM PANIC.

-November 2016: TRAILERS was selected for the 61st International Cork Film Festival.

-November 2016: Maximilian Le Cain‘s feature Cloud of Skin (2015) screened at South Texas Underground Film Festival.

-October 2016: EFS presented Refining the Senses, a moving image/live sound performance by Atoosa Pour Hosseini and Suzanne Walsh at Filmbase, Dublin.

-May 2016: A programme of EFS shorts curated by aemi (artists’ and experimental moving image) and Cloud of Skin both screened at the Irish Film Institute, Dublin.

-May 2016: Rouzbeh Rashidi’s Ten Years In The Sun (2015) screened at Bogotá Experimental Film Festival / CineAutopsia, Bogotá, Colombia.

-April/May 2016: A six-week EFS exhibition curated by Maximilian Le Cain took place at Triskel Project Space, Cork, accompanied by three live screening/performance events.

-March 2016: A programme of EFS films was screened at the Cinemateca Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

-February 2016: Rouzbeh Rashidi’s Ten Years In The Sun screened at Victoria Film Festival, Canada.

-2015/’16: A partnership with Filmbase, Dublin, consisting of an ongoing series of EFS events started with an expanded cinema performance by Open Night Cinema (Michael Higgins & Cillian Roche) in November 2015 and continued with seven further events throughout 2016.

Last but not least, the most comprehensive Experimental Film Society statement was completed in 2016. Read HERE