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Emerging Film Curators Series - Dec 2022 – Mar 2023


  • Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema + spoken word and ScreenTalk – 1 Dec
  • Pink Mirrors: Exploring South Asian Queerness + ScreenTalk – 19 Jan
  • Taste: Hong Kong Identity in Food and Film + ScreenTalk – 28 Jan
  • Black Cyclone: Africa and her Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle + Panel Discussion – 21 Feb
  • Crossing Voices + ScreenTalk – 7 Mar

Barbican Cinema is delighted to announce the Emerging Film Curators Series developed by up-and-coming film curators who took part in the second Emerging Film Curators Lab at the Barbican in June 2022. This five-part series, which explores the notion of ‘community’ across Africa, Asia and Europe through film screenings, spoken word performance and discussions, launches in December and continues through to March 2023, in Barbican Cinemas 2/3.

Kicking off the series is Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creature and Mythology in Global Cinema curated by Charlie Clark and Anna Keeley, which centres the mer-creature to explore the role of myth in shaping collective and political imagination. It looks at themes of Afrofuturism, deep-sea diving, imperial systems of power, storytelling, and gender fluidity. Other programmes taking place between January and March 23 are: Pink Mirrors, Exploring Asian Queerness, curated by Harry Singh, is a vibrant selection of shorts exploring South Asian Queer journeys of self-discovery, desire and protest; Taste: Hong Kong Identity in Food and Film, curated by Philip Ho, Aston Law and Vicgina Law celebrates Hong Kong’s colourful variety of cuisine with a mouth-watering selection of foodie shorts; Black Cyclone: Africa and Her Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle is a programme of short films curated by Ephraim Webber exploring and applauding Black people and their attachment to cycling; and the experimental documentary Crossing Voices (dir Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré) responds to the intersecting crises of urbanisation, migration, and climate, highlighting African agency and perspectives  is curated by Abiba Coulibaly.

The Emerging Film Curators Lab, supported by Arts Council England, is a free career development programme designed to give young people a chance to establish themselves in the UK cinema exhibition sector, and to widen the range of voices and perspectives on screen. The five successful individuals and teams who are now presenting their funded programmes at the Barbican, received training from internal and external experienced film curators to give insight and practical information on how to programme, produce and market a cinema screening.

Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema (15) + spoken word and discussion
Thu 1 Dec 6.20pm, Cinema 2

The first event in the Emerging Film Curators series focuses on mermaids in world cinema to explore themes of Afrofuturism, gender fluidity, deep-sea diving and colonial power through six experimental, documentary and fiction short films from the UK, Philippines, Ghana and Italy.

Rolling In The Deep will include a live poetry performance from multidisciplinary artist and writer Alexandrina Hemsley, followed by the screenings. There will be short breaks in between films for audiences to reflect accompanied by visuals by artist Sophie Mei Birkin. The event concludes with a ScreenTalk with academic Dr Geoffrey Maguire and Alexandrina Hemsley, who will discuss the films and how they resonate with studies of water and mythology in their own work.

This programme expands online with the feature-length documentary The Mermaid’s Kingdom, by Mexican director Luis Rincó. The film will be available online via Barbican’s streaming platform Cinema on Demand from 2nd Dec until 16th Dec 2022.

Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creature and Mythology in Global Cinema is curated by Charlie Clark and Anna Keeley. Charlie is a curator experimenting with different platforms for live art. She is also currently Assistant Producer for art agency, Glimpses. Anna currently works as Assistant to Producer Oliver Kassman at Escape Plan Productions (Saint Maud, The Origin, Love Lies Bleeding) and has produced short film Back Pedal (directed by Avigail Tlalim).

Rolling in the Deep will be live captioned and the films will have audio description.

A portrait of an abandoned public swimming facility in Accra, Ghana set on the Riviera, once a colonial luxury tourist development.

Ghana/US, 2011, Akosua Adoma Owusu, 12min

In His Island
A small fishing community struggles amidst an oil spill. Meanwhile, a joyful young boy battling with his identity finds comfort in his dream of becoming a mermaid.

2017, Philippines, Chan Candelaria, 15min

Artist Agnes Questionmark performs becoming a mermaid in this experimental micro-short, exploring hybrid identities and her own transition.

2022, Italy, Agnes Questionmark, 2min

The Siren of the Deep
A term used by diving communities to describe an overwhelming pull to stay at the bottom of the ocean and never come back up. Cosmonauts and divers recall states of bliss and the pain of their return to Earth in this art exhibition short.

2021, UK, Leah Clements, 14min

An Island of Sirens
Poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan and visual artist Alaa Alsaraji imagine the British state as a sea-monster, whose myths consolidated over centuries disguise the reality of deathly immigration policies towards people seeking asylum.

2020, UK, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan and Alaa Alsaraji, 4min.

Why Drexciya Took Detroit Electro Underwater
90s Detroit. Duo James Stinson and Gerald Donald found a new electronic music movement based on the Afro-Futurist myth of Drexciya. Imagining a new world of Black liberation they create one of the most defining movements in dance music.

2019, UK, Resident Advisor, 12min

The Mermaid’s Kingdom
Cinema on Demand 2-16 Dec

In a Nicaraguan fishing community, divers are getting sick. They descend underwater to look for lobster and return to the surface paralyzed. As the elders of the village attribute the divers’ fate to the “Mermaid” plaguing the village, one man reveals the precarious labour imposed by the fishing companies.

2017, Mexico, Luis Rincón, 75min

Pink Mirrors: Exploring South Asian Queerness (18*) + ScreenTalk
Thu 19 Jan, 6.15pm, Cinema 2

Pink Mirrors: Exploring South Asian Queerness is a vibrant and daring selection of shorts exploring South Asian Queer journeys of self-discovery, desire, protest and the making of community.

Presented through a selection of subterranean shorts, the programme provides an insight into the hidden gay underground of urban India, a humbling solidarity within the transgender community and it also considers how Queer South Asians in London continue to elevate one another in the pursuit of ‘paradise’.

Followed by a ScreenTalk with photographer Sunil Gupta, Bitten Peach performer ShayShay and director Shiva Raichandani hosted by drag icon Mahatma Khandi.

Curator, Harry Singh grew up immersed in cinema – initially (thanks to his Grandfather) Bollywood 1950s classics (Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool and Pyassa), and later 80’s supernatural horrors (HellraiserThe Lost Boys) and queer cinema (My Beautiful Launderette). Lockdown gave Harry the opportunity to explore further and discover new standouts – among many others Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane (1976) and Damien O’Donnell’s East is East (1999), but he wondered why there was a lack of South Asian queer films on his radar… and did they even exist? After some digging, directors like Riyad V Wadia and Sridhar Rangayan started to pop up and Pink Mirrors Exploring South Asian Queerness was born.

From cruising to erotic library Fantasies, Riyad Vinci Wadia’s short provides an explicit look at the gay underground scene of 90s Mumbai.

1996 India Dir Riyad Vinci Wadia 12 min

Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror)
Heart-warming story of two queer performers and their friend as they prepare for a performance. Banned by the film board of India, this film provides a much-needed insight into a community who are both revered and marginalised.

2003 India Dir Sridhar Rangayan 40 min

The Booth
Two women – a mall security guard and a customer – share a moment of intimacy, but can a burgeoning romance survive beyond the kiosk’s curtains?

2019 India Dir Rohin Raveendran 15 min

Peach Paradise
Join ShayShay, co-founder of Pan-Asian drag collective The Bitten Peach, on a journey of empowerment, self-discovery and breaking down barriers.

2022 UK Dir Shiva Raichandani 13 min

Taste: Hong Kong Identity in Food and Film (12A*) + ScreenTalk
Sat 28 Jan, 2pm, Cinema 2

Taste: Hong Kong Identity in Food and Film celebrates Hong Kong cuisine and its people on film with a selection of foodie shorts.

Dim sum, char siu, sweet and sour pork, egg tart, black sesame soup… Hong Kong is known for its colourful variety of cuisine.  This is a programme of animations and live action shorts that tell the stories of the food, culture and the people of Hong Kong.

This screening will be followed by a discussion with food writer, author of TAKEAWAY and editor at REKKI, Angela Hui. Ticket holders will receive a free drink of Hong Kong-style milk tea. This event is supported by CHA DONG.

Taste: Hong Kong Identity in Food and Film is curated by Philip Ho, Aston Law and Vicgina Law, three Hong Kong-born Chinese, who came together in 2022 after moving to London. They crossed paths in search of their Hong Kong heritage and decided to celebrate their homeland with the things they miss the most — food and cinema, which they agree are ideal for opening conversations and bringing strangers together.

Kin's Hair
Kin had suffered hair loss since Pauline left him on the eve of Hong Kong's handover in 1997. What did he miss when he bumped into her after 20 years?

Hong Kong, 2018, Chang See-wan, Chan Kwun-chung, Wong Tsz-yin, 6 min

Winter Solstice
At the annual family dinner, siblings gather to show their care for their mother. All seems well, but simmering tensions overshadow the dining table.

Hong Kong, 2022, Szeto Ka-wing, 30 min

Is there a correct way to hold chopsticks? Two siblings argue about the importance of table manners.

Hong Kong, 2022, Nepoleon Lee, 6 min

3 Generations 3 Days
Ching needs to move her grandmother into a care home in three days. In the time they spend together, Ching learns her grandmother's story and considers how the past has shaped her emotionally distant mother.

Hong Kong, 2019, Chu Hoi-ying, 21 min

Yuen Yeung
A white American woman teaching English is keen to try Hong Kong’s culinary delights. A local economics teacher is her guide. Unspoken feelings and subtleties lost in translation fill their food adventures…

Hong Kong, 2019, Leung Ming-kai, Kate Reilly, 26 min

Black Cyclone: Africa and its Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle (U) + Panel Discussion
Tue 21 Feb, 6.45pm, Cinema 3

Black Cyclone: Africa and its Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle gathers a series of films celebrating black people and their attachment to cycling.

From tales of the Black Foxes, an African-American collective of cyclists meeting for the first time for a ride in the wilds, to Eritrean triumph in the Tour De France, Black Cyclone explores the myriad ways that cyclists of Colour interact with their communities, surroundings and the wider world on two wheels.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by the curator Ephraim Webber.

Black Cyclone: African and its Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle is curated by Ephraim Webber who worked as a bike messenger for over ten years. Since completing the Barbican’s Emerging Film Curators Lab, he has gone on to become the film curator and programmer at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, in Tottenham, North London. Ephraim also hosts and moderates Q&As and panel discussions at the ICA, Genesis cinema, and the Egg nightclub in King’s Cross.  Previously he worked as editor of Bible Graphotism, and as a freelance music, fashion and film writer for style magazines and TV.

The Black Foxes
The Black Foxes is an international collective of unapologetically Black cyclists reclaiming the freedom and joy of the outdoors. On their first anniversary in June 2021, The Black Foxes gathered to celebrate, reflect and envision the road ahead. Due to the state of the world in 2020, for many of them it was the first-time meeting in person.

US 2021, Dir B. Monét, 15 min

In Tandem
There’s no team quite like L39ION of Los Angeles. Borne from a brotherhood intent on shaking up the cycling scene and creating meaningful change, they’re a team packed full of individuality, but united in more ways than one. Founded by Justin and Cory Williams, intent on driving diversity and inclusion in the sport, the team now boasts three sets of siblings, including Skylar and Samantha Schenider, plus Kendall and Alexis Ryan. Featuring some home footage and thoughts on the team’s future, this film is an intimate look into the start of their cycling careers and the unique, unspoken closeness that shared experience brings.

US 2022, US, Dirs Charles Frank, Chrris Lowe, 18 min

 King of the Mountains
On the Horn of Africa, with around 5 million people lies the enigmatic country of Eritrea. How has this small, multi-cultural nation dominated the continent of African cycling … and produced the first Black African cyclists to finish the mighty Tour de France? This is the story of Daniel Teklehaimanot and the giants of Eritrean cycling.

South Africa 2017, Dir James Walsh, 30 min

Crossing Voices + ScreenTalk (12A*) + ScreenTalk
Tue 7 Mar, 7pm, Cinema 2
2022, Mali and France, dirs Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré,123min

Responding to the intersecting crises of urbanisation, migration, and climate,

Crossing Voices directed by Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré highlights African agency and gazes. The event will include an invitation to continue its mission locally.

Crossing Voices follows a group of migrant worker activists in France who decide to return to the banks of the Senegal River, recently decimated by a series of droughts, as Soumankidi Coura, a radical Pan-African agricultural co-operative. Founder and filmmaker Bouba Touré’s archives form the basis of this documentary exploring the intersections of environmental and humanitarian struggles, highlighting the agency of a group that is often underestimated, while documenting abundance and progressiveness in a region frequently portrayed as unproductive.

Crossing Voices is curated by Abiba Coulibaly, a film programmer with a background in critical geography, interested in exploring the intersection between ethics and aesthetics.