‘Trailers’ in Cork Film Festival


Rouzbeh Rashidi’s latest feature film Trailers has been selected to screen in the 61st International Cork Film Festival and will have its premiere on Sunday November 13th 201620:15 at Triskel Christchurch Cinema, Cork Ireland.

Book tickets HERE

Trailers unites the most personal and experimental aspects of underground filmmaking with a scope that is as cosmically vast as a science fiction epic. Rashidi’s ongoing exploration into the nature of cinema sees a group of characters adrift in space, each locked into their own sexual rituals while a cataclysm of universal proportions unfolds. Humanity has become a mysterious burlesque show for alien eyes: the gaze of the film camera. This visionary spectacle uses multiple formats and visual textures in weaving an erotic anti-narrative suspended in its own space and time.

Featuring: Vicky Langan, Maximilian Le Cain, Anja Mahler, Jann Clavadetscher, Dean Kavanagh, Cillian Roche, Julia Gelezova, Jennifer Sharpe, Alicja Ayres, Eadaoin O’Donoghue, George Hanover, Klara McDonnell, Martin Berridge.

An Experimental Film Society production, Trailers was shot over one year with the support of an Arts Council of Ireland Project Award.

Trailers (180 Minutes, DSLR, Stereo, Colour, Ireland, 2016)

Book your ticket HERE

-13 November 2016 @ Cork Film Festival (Premiere – Ireland)
-16 November 2016 @ Film Panic @ Maus Hábitos (Portugal)
-10 December 2016 @ The Reading Room Bangkok (Thailand)
-14 December 2016 @ Lichtblick-Kino Berlin (Germany)

More info:
Film’s Blog



Ten Years in the Sun – Review of Irish Film at Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015


Cathy Butler gets her sunscreen out for Rouzbeh Rashidi’s Ten Years in the Sun, which screened as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.


Rouzbeh Rashidi’s Ten Years in the Sun, which had its premiere at this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, describes itself as an experimental film. While it is a bit of a catch-all term, it does signal to any potential audiences that this may be a film with a non-linear narrative, and an intent to challenge and provoke a response from the audience in various ways and to varying levels.


This is true of Ten Years in the Sun, which defies the usual summarisation that a film review might prompt. Its opening sequence bombards the viewer with flashing lights and a wall of sound, making for a visual experience that borders on the physically unpleasant. This sets the bar for the rest of the film, which is composed of images of varying tone and content; there is a vaguely film noir-esque feel to the scenes of two men discussing villains named Scorpio and Boris, who grow increasingly confused as their conversation continues; the various inserts of outer space imagery add a sci-fi slant; additionally, multiple sequences featuring naked or partially clothed women veer somewhat oddly into the realm of pornography.


This varying tone is clarified by the director’s comments in the subsequent Q and A that the subject of his work tends to be film itself, and a comment on the nature of cinema. This sampling of common tropes of cinema, and their combination in an abstract form with an often disconcerting or distorted audio track, delivers to the audience an assault on the senses that differs wildly from the more traditional forms of storytelling employed in filmmaking.


There is fine framing and composition throughout, and great use of a variety of different locations and lighting set-ups. There are moments of humour as well as moments of foreboding, providing for quite a wide scope of evocative visuals.


Again, it would be simplistic and also inaccurate to say that Ten Years in the Sun is an ‘enjoyable’ film. It is a film that demands much from its audience, and challenges the viewer to draw its own conclusions as regards any resulting message. It is a multi-sensory experience, having effects both physical and psychological, which is a powerful effect for any visual medium to have.


Ten Years in the Sun screened on Friday, 27th March 2015 at the Light House Cinema as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.






‘Ten Years in the Sun’


Dublin-based experimental filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi is one of the most radical and independent talents in contemporary underground cinema. Here Rouzbeh tells Film Ireland about his latest film, Ten Years in the Sun, which screens at this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Plus filmmaker and critic Maximilian Le Cain gives his reflections on the film.

My new experimental feature Ten Years in the Sun will receive its premiere at this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. It was one year in production and throughout the course of shooting and editing it drastically mutated and deviated in various ways from its initial idea. In this film, I have taken elements from such genres as science fiction, horror and erotic drama and given them a radically minimalist treatment. My aim was to attain what could be described as a ‘ground zero of drama’ through the systematic removal and breaking down of any narrative structures.

On this project I have intentionally worked with a wide range of collaborators and actors, and without their tremendous support this film would have been impossible to make. One of them was filmmaker and critic Maximilian Le Cain. These highlights from his personal reflections on the film might offer some insight into it:

“It has been building up through a number of his recent films – Terrors Of The Mind, Forbidden Symmetries, Investigating The Murder Case Of Ms. XY – and now it has erupted with full force: a sense of vast cosmic chaos, randomness and terror. The result is a sensory onslaught that destroys any sense of narrative development, that allows for a dizzyingly reckless catalogue of dead ends and invasions by footage and techniques that can seem utterly alien to one another… And yet a very human sense of wistfulness also emerges that prevents this experience from becoming cold or detached…

“A two-and-a-half hour running time, spectacle galore, numerous sinister characters and plots portentously introduced but left unresolved… …the incoherence and oddness of this sense of non-completion is not plastered over but cranked up to the highest degree of fragmentation…

“The crust of an external objective reality is no more. There is only tormented interiority and distant annihilating vastness. And the carriers of these symptoms are precisely presented modes of (mainly moving) imagery and its attendant technology. A very 21st century hell…”


Ten Years in the Sun screens at the Light House Cinema on Friday, 27th March 2015 at 8PM as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Book tickets here




Irish Experimental Film


Rouzbeh Rashidi & Maximillian Le Cain: Weird Weird Movie Kids Do Not Watch The Movie


Alan Lambert explores the current climate in Irish Experimental Film.


Experimental filmmaking in Ireland has grown rapidly over the past decade. There are many production platforms emerging for artists and filmmakers working on non-commercial formats, the first edition of the PLASTIK Festival of Artists’ Moving Image is currently under way and the Experimental Film Club still runs every month in the IFI for its fifth year.


Last summer Film Ireland suggested to me to write an article about the current state of experimental film in Ireland. The idea was to give a kind of a who’s who of contemporary players, rather than a potted history. At the time I had just co-curated a show for the Solus Collective, in the Loft Project Etaghi gallery in Saint Petersburg. As I had drawn from many of the above groups in my selection I felt that the show was a good representation of current Irish experimental and artist films and I decided to shape this article around that programme. The Loft Project Etaghi show, curated with Russian filmmaker Masha Godovannaya, contained work by Moira Tierney, Maximillian Le Cain, Vicky Langan, Dean Kavanagh, Anthony Kelly & David Stalling, Michael Higgins, Esperanza Collado, Aoife Desmond, Rouzbeh Rashidi and myself.



Hanging the Solus show in Loft Project Etaghi in Saint Petersburg with Masha Godovannaya, summer 2014


But before I proceed, perhaps I should furnish the reader with a potted history of some sort, as the Irish experimental and avant-garde film world has been sporadic in its development to say the least – at times discussions have even arisen about whether it exists at all. Esperanza Collado, a Spanish artist that has had a strong and continuing presence in the Irish scene and one of the founders of the Experimental Film Club, playfully described it as ‘being defined by what it lacks’ … namely ‘industry’, ‘common thematic concerns’ and ‘Irishness’. There were independent film clubs as early as the 1930s, like the Dublin Film Society, which tried to import Russian avant-garde films of the day. There was an earlier incarnation of an experimental film club in the form of the ‘Project Cinema Club’ in the late ’70s and before that filmmakers like Bob Quinn, Cathal Black, Joe Comerford, Pat Murphy and Thaddeus O’Sullivan were forming collectives like the AIP (Association of Independent Producers) – more broadly encompassed in the ‘First Wave’. Concurrently there was also a strong Irish contingency in the New York scene, most notably in the work of Vivienne Dick, and later with collaborators like Paddy Jolley and Reynolds Reynolds in the ’90s. Vivienne Dick now contributes to programming with the Experimental Film Club in Dublin.


But for more detailed histories of Irish Experimental Film in general and more specifically the Experimental Film Club (EFC) itself you could refer to the following 2 items –


An upcoming article on the history of the EFC written by Alice Butler for the March edition of VAN, the Visual Artist’s Newsletter, and an essay on the history of Irish Experimental Cinema, which the EFC wrote for the IFI international commissioned programme, which started touring last year; Absences and (im)possibilities: traces of an experimental cinema in Ireland.



Esperanza Collado: The Illuminating Gas


So, let’s talk to some of the filmmakers about their own motivation in entering the field. I asked several people for their memories of their first experience of an experimental film.


Fergus Daly, who set up the Different Directions Experimental Film Festival with Tom Flanagan in 2008, begins by rightly addressing the very fluid boundaries of what is determined to be ‘experimental’:


“It depends on where the line is drawn between commercial and non-commercial or experimental and non-experimental filmmaking. In which camp does someone like Eisenstein belong? He would’ve been one of the first filmmakers I saw projected when I became obsessed with the history of film as a young teenager in the late ’70s. In Cork there was a film club in the Cameo cinema that showed the kind of films that cropped up on Best Films Ever polls in Sight & Sound (besides Eisenstein you had the likes of Bunuel, Cocteau etc). Then there was the UCC film society which, believe it or not (given what they show nowadays in similar societies) screened all the latest Fassbinder, Herzog, Tarkovsky and so on. If we’re speaking about experimental film ‘proper’ then I would’ve only seen the odd thing at the Cork Film Festival or in the Triskel or the Art School in Cork until Channel 4 started in ’82 and the floodgates opened.”


Maximillian Le Cain, Cork based filmmaker and editor of the indispensable journal Experimental Conversations (unfortunately now defunct), reflects on a more domestic introduction;


“As I remember, a screening of Un Chien Andalou on British TV when I was about eight years old. I’d seen stills of the famous eye-slitting, so I approached it as a horror movie – but was also somehow savvy enough to realize it had enough cultural respectability that my parents might allow me to watch it!”



Maximillian Le Cain. JR: Dream This In Remembrance Of Me.


Moira Tierney, Irish filmmaker based in New York, with whom I set up the Solus Collective in 1998, remembers a trip to the RDS;


“They were screening a programme of experimental shorts from the Film Board of Canada and my mother took me to see them; I can’t remember how old I was or what the programme was, but I remember drawings on sand on a beach… My exposure to experimental film was limited from that point on, until I fell in the doors of Anthology (Film Archives in New York) in 1995 and soaked up their Essential Cinema series, which includes everything from the Lumière and Méliès, the Russian films from the ’20s (Vertov, Dovzhenko, Eisenstein et al), the Surrealists and early European experiments, a lavish helping of Bunuel and the American avant-garde of the ’60s and ’70s (Sharits, Mekas, Kuchar bros, Conrad, Noren …)”


The absence of dedicated platforms for experimental film can be reflected in these oblique and varied inroads. Similar to Maximillian Le Cain, my own first memory of viewing something that was not like anything I had seen before was a late night RTÉ screening of George MélièsThe Man With The India Rubber Head from 1901. I caught it just before the news sometime in the early 80s. Although not experimental in form, and dating from a period before anything was really determined to be non-commercial or otherwise, it still urged me to get a Super-8mm camera and start rewinding and double exposing film for myself.


Ireland was not a great place for non-commercial equipment and facilities and filmmakers had to really do their own research and development and work with limited means.


Maximillian continues; “I started shooting stuff around ’93 or ’94 and that was on Hi-8 tape. That was the only format I had access to for about five years after that.”


Moira Tierney, like myself, began on Super-8mm; “I got my first camera in a flea market in 1991 or thereabouts; that was my primary medium until Masha Godovannaya procured a K3 (Krasnogorsk) 16mm camera for me in St Petersburg; from that point on I’ve alternated between the two, depending on the circumstances. I’ve shot one project only on DV, due to a lack of lighting at the location – most of the action took place at night and as it was a documentary project, it would have been very intrusive to add the light necessary to work on DV.”



Moira Tierney: Train Station, St. Petersburg


Vivienne Dick began on Super-8mm in the late ’70s. Michael Higgins began on a number of formats – Hi-8 Video, Mini-DV, Super-8mm – as did Dennis Kenny. Dennis is one of the longest standing supporters and practitioners in any of the Lo-Fi or non-commercial formats, having helped me to cut my first film on VHS in 1998, and regularly acting as projectionist at events like last year’s Super8 Festival screenings. Fergus Daly began on Digibeta.


Masha Godovannaya, Moira Tierney and I all connected through Anthology Film Archives, a pivotal venue for Filmmakers in New York. Throughout the ’90s Irish connections were made in the foyer and on the steps of Anthology’s old courtroom building, linking with other Irish led initiatives, like Dónal Ó’Céilleachair’s ‘Ocularis’ experimental screening programmes.


Dónal recalls the development of Ocularis: “ In 1995 I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn which was a hive of alternative art activity throughout the 1990s and founded a cinema-screening and filmmaking collective called Ocularis based at the Galapagos Art space in 1997. Galapagos was a multi-disciplinary space so we found ourselves working alongside, and then inevitably with musicians, theatre-makers and artists working in a multiplicity of styles, genres and mediums.”


“Interestingly the majority of work shown at Ocularis in its early years was on 16mm film, while the majority of work shown in its latter years was all digital; mirroring the shift that was taking place in non-commercial audio-visual work and experimental ‘film’-making.”


Behind the history of the Anthology events that had been providing such platforms for filmmakers and artists since the ’60s, was the grand old master himself, Lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas. When the Solus Collective collaborated with the Dublin Film Festival to bring Mekas to Dublin in 2008 he took part in a panel discussion with Maeve Connolly, Aoife Desmond, Moira Tierney and Pip Chodorov. This took place in the Ha’penny Bridge Inn, which spawned the idea of resurrecting the film club that ran there in the early ’80s.


New York has always had a strong influence on the Irish scene, but one of the most active groups in Ireland in recent years, the Experimental Film Society (EFS), has its origins in Tehran. Four of Ireland’s most prolific filmmakers, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Dean Kavanagh, Maximillian Le Cain and Michael Higgins, all frequently work under the umbrella of the EFS, a society established by Rouzbeh in Iran in 2000.



Rouzbeh Rashidi: Home Sapiens Project 150


Rouzbeh reflects, in statements on the EFS website and in Experimental Conversations; “I happened to start making films at the beginning of the millennium, in the year 2000. From the very first day, I thought of only one concept and that was the discovery of what cinema is in this new era. This question has pushed me to continuously experiment and investigate in the laboratory of my filmmaking. The films one makes are nothing but the haunting shadows and light of the films that one has seen in the past. There is no original film, except for the very first ones by the medium’s pioneers.”


The production parameters that Rashidi describes can be almost universally applied to all the filmmakers we’re discussing, myself included; “ The equipment used tends to be basic and inexpensive: web-cameras, mobile phone cameras, MiniDV, Super8mm and, more recently, DSLR. Most of the films are shot using available light. Film lighting is rare. Most of the cast and crew are non-professionals. Depending on the situation and circumstances, anyone can participate in a film.”


Another strong presence in the group that stemmed from Anthology, Lithuanian filmmaker Julius Ziz, who lived and worked in the West of Ireland for many years before moving to France, expresses simply and poetically; “ I enter filmmaking from the street.”



Dean Kavanagh: Late Hours Of The Night


The number of filmmakers in Ireland working in this way has increased almost exponentially since I first started counting heads in 1998, and the motivation always comes back to the same principle of artistic freedom – “ anyone can participate in a film”


But equally importantly, anyone should be able to view an experimental film, which is where the collaboration with galleries and institutes is crucial. In contrast to the late ’90s, there are now actually places in Ireland to not only view such films, but to also shoot and process them. Block T run courses in hand processing Super8m.


All the independent activity of these artists and filmmakers over the previous decades is recognized within the Irish arts industries. The Temple Bar Galleries and the IFI are both involved in the Plastik Festival’s film programme, which culminates this weekend in Dublin. If you peruse the full programme you will find filmmakers also in the curatorial role, most notably in the case of Aoife Desmond’s ‘Phenomenal Love’, the Cork programme that ran last weekend. Aoife originally assembled the Experimental Film Club in 2008, which became a definite turning point in the recent surge of experimental film activity in Ireland.



Aoife Desmond: Paris Dreaming, Paris Burning


The original EFC team, Aoife Desmond, Esperanza Collado, Donal Foreman and myself are all still actively involved in filmmaking. Donal Foreman is now based in New York but frequently screens and hosts discussions in Ireland in relation to his recent feature Out Of Here, and Daniel Fitzpatrick has recently joined the EFC curatorial team. Daniel is also one of the curators of the Plastik Festival.


As I personally know all these people and their work I can safely say that there is now no question that an Irish Experimental Film culture does exist. I hope that in this article I have given you a palatable overview of it. Thanks for reading.


Alan Lambert is a freelance artist and filmmaker based in Dublin. He co-manages the Solus Collective and the Experimental Film Club.


IFI International is supported by Culture Ireland. Solus Film Collective is supported by Culture Ireland.




A Double Bill of New Irish Experimental Feature Films



World Premiere of Rouzbeh Rashidi & Maximilian Le Cain’s
Weird Weird Movie Kids Do Not Watch The Movie

Alan Lambert’s The End Of The Earth Is My Home
presented for the first time with a live score by European Sensoria Band

Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Wednesday August 7th, 7pm, €7

Weird Weird Movie Kids Do Not Watch The Movie is the latest collaboration between Rouzbeh Rashidi and Maximilian Le Cain. This hypnotic, visually and sonically immersive exploration of a haunted space unfolds in two parts. In the first, a woman (Eadaoin O’Donoghue) dissolves her identity into the ghostly resonances she finds in the rooms and corridors of a sprawling, atmospheric seaside basement property. In the second, a man (Rashidi), existing in a parallel dimension of the same space, pursues a bizarre and perverse amorous obsession.


Set in a futuristic Asia of the mind, The End Of The Earth Is My Home is a trippy, visually audacious modern fantasy that takes inspiration from the Asian Monkey King stories and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as the writer/director’s own travel experiences. Although rooted in a sci-fi thriller premise, TEOTEIMH is more a sensory experience than a narrative. This special presentation of the film with live accompaniment by European Sensoria Band is therefore an ideal way of experiencing Lambert’s pulsing kaleidoscsope of shifting visual and sonic rhythms, one of the few films to explore the visionary potential of science fiction beyond the boundaries of traditional storytelling. Its international cast is headed by Junshi Murakami, Dominique Monot and Mona Gamil.


This mind-warping programme is compelling evidence of a strain of visionary experimental filmmaking currently thriving beneath the surface of contemporary Irish cinema.


For more information on the directors:


Rouzebh Rashidi- rouzbehrashidi.com


Maximilian Le Cain- maximilianlecain.com


Alan Lambert- metaldragon.net

Homo Sapiens Project By Rouzbeh Rashidi at the Chester Beatty Library

Experimental Film Society in association with the Chester Beatty Library presents a programme of Homo Sapiens Project by Rouzbeh Rashidi on Saturday 27 October 2012 1-3pm.

Address: Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.


Homo Sapines Project are highly experimental, part cryptic film diaries and part impressionistic portraits of places and people, and often suffused with an eerie sense of mystery reminiscent of horror cinema. From highly composed and distantly framed meditations to frenetically flickering plunges into the textural substance of moving images, the restless creativity of this vision of life as a cinematic laboratory is never short of surprising. Encompassing everything from documentary monologues to found footage, Rashidi constantly strives to expand his filmmaking palette while putting his unmistakable stamp on whatever footage passes through his hands.

More info: homosapiensproject.tumblr.com


Featuring instalments: 10, 39, 81, 93, 96, 102


Total Duration: 80 Minutes


The programme contains the presence of flashing light and other strobing content.