Early-career artists selected for Film London's FLAMIN Fellowship 2023-24 Development Scheme

Latest 3 Oct 2023

News Story

Composite of portraits of FLAMIN Fellowship 2023-2024 artists (from top left to bottom right): Akinsola Lawanson, Edd Carr, Anna Engelhardt, River Cao, Saul Pankhurst, Natasha Ruwona

Six early-career artist-filmmakers have been selected for the sixth edition of Film London’s FLAMIN Fellowship scheme, a programme offering mentoring, funding and support to develop a new work.

The FLAMIN Fellowship aims to support the most exciting, innovative and challenging moving image practices from filmmakers at the early stages of their careers. Investing a total of £15,000 in artists' development bursaries, each artist will receive seed finance of £2,500 and participate in a series of monthly workshops, delivered in partnership with moving image artists and a network of film and arts organisations.

The six artists selected for the FLAMIN Fellowship 2023-2024 are:

River Cao
Edd Carr
Anna Engelhardt
Akinsola Lawanson
Saul Pankhurst
Natasha Thembiso Ruwona

From analogue film processed using plants to a CGI reconstruction of Russian air bases developed from satellite imagery, the six artists selected for this year’s FLAMIN Fellowship work across a broad range of experimental and creative approaches to the moving image.

River Cao is a moving image and performance artist based in London. River’s recent work has revolved around practices of mourning and memory, with a particular focus on the figure of the revenant, a reanimated body who returns from the afterlife to haunt the living.

Co-director of The Sustainable Darkroom, an artist-run research and training programme, Edd Carr works with experimental non-toxic alternatives to photographic processing. His meticulous practice involves frame-by-frame animation of hand-processed images to create moving image work that responds to our ecological crisis.

Born in the Russian border city of Rostov-on-Don, Anna Engelhardt is an alias of a research-based media artist and writer. Informed by decolonial approaches, their work interrogates structures and systems of violence in Russia’s imperialist interventions in post-Soviet states.

Akinsola Lawanson’s work is inspired by the alt-Nollywood movement, which borrows narrative, stylistic and visual conventions of Nollywood to politically subversive ends. His recent moving image work has explored West African Ifá divination, the history of the Non-Aligned Movement and Nigerian folklore.

Committed to an experimental approach to nonfiction filmmaking, Saul Pankhurst’s recent films have made use of pinhole cameras, solargraphs and camera-less animation. His current project looks at the threatened survival of manual letterpress printing to consider our relationship with language in the digital age.

Scottish-Zimbabwean artist Natasha Thembiso Ruwona’s practice combines lyrical essays with filmed footage and digitally rendered scenes. Informed by Black feminist geographies, her practice investigates how Black identities have been shaped by spaces and places in order to find methods of healing through new relationships with our environment.

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “Now in its sixth edition, The FLAMIN Fellowship is widely known for spotlighting new and exciting artists’ moving image talent. In recent years we have seen our Fellows grow in recognition with screenings in the UK and internationally and it is vital that we continue to support and nurture artistic exploration. I am thrilled to welcome this year’s cohort and look forward to seeing the work they produce. I would also like to extend my thanks to Arts Council England for their invaluable support of The Fellowship.”

Moving image work developed through the FLAMIN Fellowship has been screened at major galleries, museums and festivals in the UK and internationally. In 2023, Onyeka Igwe’s Specialised Technique featured as part of a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1 in New York, Holly Márie Parnell’s Cabbage premiered at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, and Chris Zhongtian Yuan’s All Trace is Gone, No Clamour for a Kiss screened as part of a solo exhibition at V.O Curations in London. A multimedia live performance by Sweatmother will be presented at the ICA in London in November, while solo exhibitions by former FLAMIN Fellows Hazel Brill and Seema Mattu open in September at Workplace Foundation in Newcastle and QUAD, Derby respectively.

Previous invited speakers on The FLAMIN Fellowship workshop programme include artists Larry Achiampong, Esther Johnson, Noor Afshan Mirza&Brad Butler, Hetain Patel, Imran Perretta, Heather Phillipson and Marianna Simnett. Arts organisations including ACME Studios, Arts Council England, Artquest, Auguste Orts, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, BFI, CPH:DOX, DACS, Film and Video Umbrella, Forma, Jerwood Arts, LUX, Tate and Wellcome Trust have all contributed to the professional development arm of the scheme. Each of the FLAMIN Fellows is provided one-to-one mentoring with Pinky Ghundale, who is producer to Turner Prize and Academy Award winner Steve McQueen.

Established in 2017 by Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) and supported by Arts Council England and established with support from The Fenton Arts Trust, the Fellowship builds on FLAMIN’s successful work at the core of the UK’s moving image ecology. With a focus on early-career practitioners, The Fellowship complements FLAMIN’s wide-ranging programme supporting early, mid and later-career artists through FLAMIN Animations, FLAMIN Productions, the Film London Jarman Award and a range of significant development opportunities.