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Reporting back on the Open Mouth Film Festival

Photo of people in a cinema setting watch a lit up screen and gold curtinas to the side
Photo of people in a cinema setting watch a lit up screen and gold curtinas to the side
Open Mouth Film Festival 2019
Written by
Post-Grad Community
Published date
05 August 2019

Curated by Lelia Byron - MA Fine Art at Chelsea, Minqi Xu - MFA Fine Art at Wimbledon and Olga Tarasova - MA Art Theory and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins

Funded by the Post-Grad Community Project Fund, the Open Mouth Film Festival was created by three students from the University of the Arts London: Lelia Byron (MA Fine Art Chelsea), Minqi Xu (MFA Fine Art Wimbledon), and Olga Tarasova (MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy Central Saint Martins).

The five-day festival, which took place at multiple locations throughout London from July 6-10, 2019, sought to embrace creative thinking, social activism, and diversity of thought and solution. It also aimed to open discourse in the use of technology as a medium to reflect the current events of the world.

The film festival showcased the work of approximately 150 BA, MA, Graduate Diploma, and PhD students from 11 universities. Over 5 days, the festival screened 76 student films totaling 20.5 hours.

Check out some of the films featured at the festival below:

'No. One, No One.' by Yanming Yang and Cyrus Lo

Cartoon of person in front of a Chinese flag
'No. One, No One.' by Yanming Yang and Cyrus Lo (London College of Communications) Caption

'No. One, No One.' by Yanming Yang and Cyrus Lo (London College of Communications)

"Two competitive primary school students crazily fight for the first position in class ranking list. After the No.1 student is killed by the No.2 student, the abnormally competitive virus infects every other student in class, and the next competitions begin..."  Says Yanming,

"I want my animations to be able to resonate with the audience who have similar feelings and experiences as I do. So I tend to start my project with a concept and things that I care about because only with true feelings can a story affect the audience."

Video above: Open Mouth interview with Yanming Yang

‘The First Saturday of May’ by Ethan McDowell

people sat around a dining table
‘The First Saturday of May’ by Ethan McDowell (London South Bank University) Caption

‘The First Saturday of May’ by Ethan McDowell (London South Bank University)

The First Saturday of May’ is a short film inspired by true events and follows the story of an Irish-Traveller father as he struggles to raise his son to be the man he was destined to be. As a well-respected figure in his community, Paddy yearns for nothing more than to have the perfect family, however, pushing his son to be the next man of the McDonagh family will only drive a bigger wedge between them. You never know what’s happening behind closed doors.

Above video: Open Mouth interview with Ethan McDowell

‘State of Limbo’ by George Turner and Laura Hendry

LIMBO black text on purple background graphic
‘State of Limbo’ by George Turner and Laura Hendry (City, University of London) Caption

‘State of Limbo’ by George Turner and Laura Hendry (City, University of London)

The UK is the only country in Europe with no time limit on immigration detention. For those awaiting decisions on their immigration status from the Home Office, this means life in a precarious state - unable to work or study, never knowing whether you will be detained, if so how long for, and whether the battle to remain will ultimately end in your removal from the UK. Our film follows two individuals with different stories. Luqman is fighting to stay in the UK on medical grounds; Owen is contesting a criminal deportation order. Different circumstances have led them to where we find them, but they are both living in a state of limbo.

‘While Doing What My Mom Told Me To’ by Aikaterini Mimikou

film stills of someone doing house chores - ironing
‘While Doing What My Mom Told Me To’ by Aikaterini Mimikou (Chelsea College of Arts) Caption

‘While Doing What My Mom Told Me To’ by Aikaterini Mimikou (Chelsea College of Arts)

‘Why do I have to put the dirty towel to the laundry? Why do I have to separate the socks to dark and white? Why do I have to select the correct cycle? Why do I have to put the washing powder? Why do I have to put the fabric conditioner? Why do I have to take the clothes out of the washing machine? Why do I have to put the sheets on the drying loft? Why do I have to secure the underwear with pins? Why do I have to collect the shirts when they dry? Why do I have to iron? Why is my brother watching me watching television while I am ironing his pyjamas? Because that’s what my mom told me to do.’

‘A Pointless Film’ by Sihui Kuang

film poster of woman holding a projector above head and pointing it to face
‘A Pointless Film’ by Sihui Kuang (University College London) Caption

‘A Pointless Film’ by Sihui Kuang (University College London)

‘A film student buries herself in cinema to avoid her miserable family, and imagines her family members as characters in a film that she writes and directs. In her film, her father turns into a cactus and her mother no longer has to live in the illusion of having a perfect family. Her seemingly ridiculous imagination is her only escape from her mundane life, until the bubble of fantasy pops.’  Says Sihui, ‘One fascinating part about making a film is that you can be the master of the art project. A film is actually an independent world from the outside and as a scriptwriter and director you can decide what happens in this film, what happens in this road. I think every artist including me has thought about escaping reality by making an artwork.’

Above video: Open Mouth interview Sihui Kuang

Thank you to the the UAL Post-Grad Community Project Fund for supporting the film festival!

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This project was part funded by The Post-Grad Community Project Fund, making funds available to UAL postgraduate students to organise events, projects and cultural interventions that bring together postgraduate students from different disciplines, courses and colleges.