Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) has announced the full programmeline-up for the 18th edition of the festival which will take place on the 3 – 5 March 2023.

Across its programme the festival champions films and filmmakers who push the boundaries of genre, form and convention to surprise expectations and enliven audience relationships with cinema. The festival continues to explore what moving images can be and what they can do to help us navigate the increasingly fractured and perplexing world we all live in. With new funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) to reach more audiences, as well as renewed funding from partners including Arts Council England, BFI Audience Fund (awarding funds from the National Lottery) and Northumberland County Council, the festival has created a fully in-person programme of screening events and exhibitions taking place across the
town.

View of Berwick Upon Tweed from the river. The skyline features a church and several buildings behind the sea wall

Berwick Upon Tweed

This year’s Opening Night gala will be the UK premiere of Anerca, Breath of Life (2022) by Finnish father and son filmmaking team Markku Lehmuskallio & Johannes Lehmuskallio which documents the singing, dancing, and forms of contemporary living amongst indigenous peoples living in the Arctic Circle. ‘Anerca’ means soul, or the breath of life that binds individuals and communities.

This year’s Closing Night film is the UK premiere of the smart, funny and razor-sharp satire Arnold is a Model Student (2022). Inspired by the Bad Student movement calling for educational reform in Thailand, the film follows the titular protagonist as he joins forces with an underground syndicate of misfits helping students cheat on their exams. This subversive debut feature from Sorayos Prapapan moves deftly between moments of absurdist humour and heartfelt, urgent gestures of cinematic protest.

Young woman wearing sunglasses, silhouetted by blue sky is standing at the top of what appears ot be a flight of stairs. She is reading a festival programme.

Highlights from this year’s programme include:

A premiere UK screening of Walter Saxer’s little-seen, incendiary documentary Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles (1987) about an experimental and controversial open-air penal colony in the Peruvian Amazon echoes the work of frequent-collaborator, Werner Herzog.

John le Carré meets Derek Jarman in the UK festival premiere of Ungentle (2022), a subtle reflection on the complex relationships between the development of British espionage and male homosexuality. The film is based on extensive research and is voiced by actor Ben Whishaw.

Part political satire, part zombie stoner film and informed by contemporary internet culture, renegade remixologists Soda Jerk return with the UK premiere of Hello Dankness (2022), a bent suburban musical comprised entirely of pirated film samples that bears witness to the psychotropic cultural spectacle of the period 2016 to 2021.

Individual tickets go on sale in early February and weekend passes are available now.  More information can be found here.