Russell’s £5,000 challenge

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Internationally renowned US-based media artist Ben Russell has been awarded a new £5,000 commission to be produced for, and premiered at, the 10th anniversary edition of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in September.

The news was revealed by the festival committee and Northern Film & Media earlier this week with festival director Melanie Iredale saying she was really excited to be bringing someone of Ben’s profile and calibre to Berwick.

Having had solo exhibitions and screenings all over the world – from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and at film festivals ranging from Berlinale to Venice - Russell will come to North East England in September to present a new documentary work titled ‘The Wild State,’ as an immersive installation.

Responding to the Festival’s theme ‘Border Crossing’ and set between Swaziland and South Africa, ‘The Wild State’ will explore culture, nature, society and existence within this unusual landscape.

On learning of his success Ben Russell said: “I am thrilled to have been awarded this generous commission by Northern Film & Media and am terribly excited to present ‘The Wild State’ in the form of a new kinetic film installation at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival this September.”

The new commission comes as the result of an international call for proposals issued by Northern Film & Media and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, with financial support from Arts Council England, which attracted hundreds of entries from over 30 different countries around the world. Support for the project also comes from The MacDowell Colony, USA and the commissioning process was supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

‘The Wild State’ will premiere at this year’s festival, which will run from September 17-21. Early bird Festival passes, granting access to everything for the full five days are now on sale for £25 at