Tuesday 12th December  2023, Reference Point, London, 19:00 - 23:00

Triumph (2022) dir. Kaveh Abbasian is an essay film about the state-sanctioned narratives of Iran's 1979 Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) as propagated by the Islamic filmmaker Morteza Avini (1947-1993), in comparison with the narratives of the survivors of the 1980s repression and massacre of the opposition under the Islamic Republic of Iran. The film is mostly comprised of found footage which are accompanied by recently shot interviews with three survivors who now live in political exile.

Triumph is a result of five years of research as part of the director's practice-based PhD project in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton, London. The footage used in the film has been chosen from among more than a hundred hours of archive footage and is mostly from Morteza Avini's television war documentary series Chronicle of Triumph (1986-1988).

Screening with Sanaz Sohrabi’s short film Notes on Seeing Double (2018). Notes on Seeing Double takes the figure of speech of “Temsaal | تمثال” in Farsi as its point of departure to unpack the anatomy of a revolution. Through a rare juxtaposition of a documentary photograph taken in the February of 1979 in Tehran and a painting drawn by Rembrandt depicting the famous anatomy theatre of Amsterdam in 1632, Notes on Seeing Double analyses the conditions of visuality within different systems of knowledge production.

Followed by Q&A with Dr Kaveh Abbasian moderated by artist, writer and filmmaker Bahar Noorizadeh.

With sonic offerings by Bint Mbareh and Only Voice Remains. Only Voice Remains will present a sonic offering comprising of voice notes, poetry, music, readings, reflections, protest sounds and speeches that sets out to amplify the radical narratives of the current moment and seek collective strategies of resistance. 

Dr Kaveh Abbasian  is a scholar, filmmaker, and Lecturer in Film and Media Practice at the University of Kent. After arriving in the UK in 2008 as a political refugee from Iran, he achieved his MA in Documentary Practices from the University of Roehampton in 2009. It was at the same institution, where in 2019 he completed his practice-based PhD in Film and Television Studies on a project titled Chronicle of Triumph: Iranian National Identity and Revolutionary Shi'ism in Morteza Avini's Sacred Defence Documentaries. Kaveh’s research is mainly concerned with refugee and exilic filmmaking, Kurdish cinema, and Iranian sacred defence and propaganda films. He is also the former director of programming for the London Kurdish Film Festival.

In Iran Kaveh was a student activist and a founding member of Students for Freedom and Equality. In 2008 and during the countrywide crackdown on the organisation, Kaveh had to flee the country and reside in the UK. In two of his previous films, The Exile (2009) and Last Summer in Europe (2011) he has reflected on his experience as a political refugee. He continues to live and work in the UK.

Sanaz Sohrabi is a researcher of visual culture and artist-filmmaker. Sohrabi works with essay film and installation as her means of research to explore the shifting and migratory paths between still and moving images, situating a singular image in a continuum of historical relations and archival temporalities. Sohrabi’s work engages with the politics of recovery in photographic archives and the role of photography and film as technologies of public-making and subject positioning. Since 2017, Sohrabi has done extensive archival research at the British Petroleum archives to engage with the history of photography and film practices of the British controlled oil operations in Iran, conducting a visual ethnography of resource extraction in relation to the media infrastructures of BP. Sohrabi received her BFA from Uni­ver­sity of Tehran College of Fine Arts (2011) and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a merit scholarship (2014). Currently a doctoral candidate and supported by Fonds de Recherche du Québec Société et Culture at Concordia University, Montréal, Sohrabi’s doctoral project explores the contested historical role that visual representations of oil have played in shaping postcolonial sovereignty and resource nationalism in Iran.

Bahar Noorizadeh looks at the relationship between art and capitalism. In her practice as an artist, writer and filmmaker, she examines the conflictual and contradictory notions of imagination and speculation as they suffuse one another. Her research investigates the histories of economics, cybernetic socialism, and activist strategies against the financialization of life and the living space, asking what redistributive historical justice might look like for the present. Noorizadeh is the founder of Weird Economies, a co-authored and socially-connected project that traces economic imaginaries extraordinary to financial arrangements of our time. Her work has appeared at the German Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennial 2021, Taipei Biennial 2023, Tate Modern Artists’ Cinema Program, Transmediale Festival, DIS Art platform, Berlinale Forum Expanded, and Geneva Biennale of Moving Images among others. Noorizadeh has contributed essays to e-flux Architecture, Journal of Visual Culture, and Sternberg Press; and forthcoming anthologies from Duke University Press and MIT Press. She completed a PhD in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London where she held a SSHRC doctoral fellowship.

Bint Mbareh works with all formats of sound (radio, live, installation and many others) and is driven by the superpowers of communal singing human and more than human. She conducted research initially to combat the myth of water scarcity pushed by Israeli settler colonialism. the songs that she learned helped communities summon rain,  and at their core helped people build a relationship with their environment, decide what time of year it is, communally determine how to share resources, mainly the resource of time, fairly. Bint Mbareh makes music and sound today because she believes these uses can still be evoked, rather than remembered. She now studies death and rebirth as analogies for necessary communal upheavals, still looking for these significations in Palestinian landscape, now in the shrine of Nabi-Musa (AS), the prophet Moses. She has been a practicing artist since 2018.

Only Voice Remains is an Iranian collective operating with transnational, queer and feminist values. They came together in response to the current revolution taking place in Iran and Kurdistan against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their most recent project gathers materials from an open call and online research to form a sound piece. Only Voice Remains hopes to use their sonic projects as an archive as well as a starting point for workshops and collective reflections.

Tickets available here

Year of the 

Saturday 20th May 2023, The Electric Cinema, Birmingham, 13:00 - 15:10

The Year of the Beaver (1985) dir. Dave Fox, Steve Sprung, Sylvia Stevens charts how the workforce of a film processing laboratory in Willesden formed of predominately Asian women, most of whom had only recently arrived in the UK as a result of being expelled from East Africa, were led by their former colleague, Jayaben Desai to take strike action. 

The Grunwick dispute has been positioned as a landmark event for non-white representation in the labour movement. This event aims to address this version of history, contextualising Grunwick within a long history of South Asian activism in the UK, and acknowledging the many ways in which the union failed to provide support for the striking workers. 

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Taj Ali, industrial correspondent at Tribune magazine covering trade unionism, work and industrial disputes. This will present an opportunity to discuss the idea of a unified class struggle, the union as a framework for social change, and and the resurgence of the labour movement in Britain. 

As part of this programme we are presenting a specially published risograph zine of texts considering the ways the strike has been mis-remembered. With constributions from Dr Sundari Anitha, Professor of Gender, Violence and Work at the University of Lincoln, Professor Ruth Pearson, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at the University of Leeds, and Amrit Wilson, a writer, journalist and activist focusing on issues of race and gender in Britain and South Asian politics. 

Link to Tickets 

for a Palestinian

Saturday 13th - Sunday 21st May 2023, Brixton Community Cinema Screening Room

During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the Israeli military destroyed the Palestinian Film Unit's archive and confiscated its materials. The Israeli military still controls access to the archive and it remains unavailable to Palestinians for viewing.

Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image (2004) directed by founder of The Void Project Azza El-Hassan tracks her search through Syria, Jordan and Lebanon for the lost films of the Palestinian Film Unit. Positioning the films as archaeological artefacts, the documentary considers their significance in terms of cultural property and the collective memory.

Palestine in the Eye (1977) was directed by Mustafa Abu Ali, produced by the Palestinian Film Institute and has been recently restored by Azza El-Hassan. It chronicles the profound impact of the death of Hani Jawharieh, one of the founders of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Film Unit who was named a cinema martyr after he was killed while filming combat in Ain Toura, Lebanon in 1976.

Co-curated with Abiba Coulibaly, founder of Brixton Community Cinema.

Link to tickets