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(1 –23 August)

After Edinburgh and London, Portobello must be the third biggest Film Festival in UK. Some 8500 people attended this year (it would have been more but it rained during our three days in the park). We screened 502 new films at 7 different venues (Westbourne Studios, Emslie Horniman’s Park megascreen, Inn On The Green, The Electric, Cobden Club, Muse Gallery and The Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green). There were 18 days of continuous screenings with two venues operating every night running from 6pm – 11pm and 2pm – 11pm over three weekends. All events were free and open to everyone, apart from launch parties at The Cobden Club and the Muse Gallery, and the Award Ceremony at The Electric.

We also expanded into Art this year with two week exhibitions at both Westbourne Studios and The Muse, and a 3 day live graffiti event with DJs under the Westway covered market.


Seminars & Talks
The Festival kicked off with a special preview of clips from the then unreleased Dear Wendy (written by Lars Von Trier) introduced on a specially recorded video by director Thomas Vinterberg and featuring a Q&A from the editor Mads Jorgensen, and a seminar on marketing from Tom Grievson of Metrodome.
Particularly lively was the Black Eye satirical magazine night, which featured, amongst a whole evening of bad taste films, a short about a black man telling racial jokes. This was followed by an improvised and heated debate about taste and race chaired by Black Eye’s Bobby Joseph, who also writes scripts for Lenny Henry.

Similarly stimulating was the Filmmakers Against The War evening featuring a panel discussion about the boundaries between politics and art, and Jo Wilding’s Letter To The Prime Minister from the front line in Iraq.
Collective Vision hosted a whole evening of their work including music videos with Benjamin Zephaniah, attended by Alison Steadman, and talked about low and no budget moviemaking.

Terence Davies recorded a specially commissioned interview for us about his famous Liverpudlian gay working class trilogy, which was followed by a screening of these ground breaking and rarely seen films: Children, Madonna & Child, and Death And Transfiguration.
Dave Knight from Promo magazine presented an evening on the future of the music video with top director Dougal Watson, and festival founder Barney Platts-Mills introduced his classic Private Road, attended by one of the stars Susan Penhaligon.
Many of the films were introduced by the makers: James Goldcrown and his moving African AIDS documentary To Die No More, Ash Malmood and Swimmer, Susan Sheridan and Edible Snow Beasts, Rudy Fieldgrass and Love Struck, Arno Coenen (from Holland) and VIP Holland Experience. Most screenings were attended by the directors and crews.

Top video artists Chris Cunningham and Al & Al also gave talks - see below in Rock Art section.

The Westbourne courtyard outside the cinema became our delegate centre and was the scene of much networking and “partying”. We projected the visuals from the cinema onto the courtyard wall.
Whatever their age or background Portobello Film Festival audiences are looking for exciting new developments in a medium that has somewhat stagnated in the mainstream. Much bigger audience numbers this year indicated that this alternative movie culture that Portobello presents is beginning to break through at last. Indeed it was the first year that crowd control became an issue with more people turning up than there were seats available at both Westbourne Studios and The Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green

Different Themes And Countries

The screenings were broken down into different themes every night. Themes were very varied and attracted completely different audiences from right across age, race and economic spectrums.
As usual there were a number of dedicated International nights which included focuses on Ireland (from the Cork Film Festival), Holland (from Holland Film), Spain (from the Audio Visual School of Madrid) and Canada. Other international contributions came from as far afield as Armenia (a mystical version of Hamlet), Nepal, Japan, Iran, China (the brave and moving lesbian love story Butterfly), Russia (Serious Fitness about the hothouse passions of an adolescent girl in a gym), Israel, and Cuba.
Especially popular were the Documentary night which was of an exceptionally high standard, the American Beats Night featuring filmed interviews and work from Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson, and local author Tom Vague’s Hollwood W11selection, with psychgeographical subtitles, of films either made in or about Portobello Road/Notting Hill especially put together for the Portobello Film Festival.
We also screened a number of films by local community groups including films by local kids, and provided a limited Bring Your Own Film facility at the Inn On The Green.
Programme distribution was very efficient and, having closely studied it, most of the audience knew exactly which films they wanted to see, and as the auditorium emptied for one film it would quickly fill up again for the next.
At Westbourne Studios the Cinema was full by 7pm most nights and would stay that way through to 11.

The Inn On The Green & The Paradise By Way Of Kensal Road

This was our first year at The Inn On The Green, previously The Portobello Green Fitness Centre Bar, like Westbourne Studios under the Westway itself. The Inn On The Green screened the above mentioned Hollywood W11, American Beats and local kids community films as well as providing the BYO facility (somewhat limited this year due to the vast number of programmed films). Other well appreciated work at The Inn included an evening of Political Documentaries including one from Baghdad and three evenings of work from the Italian video artist Flavio Sciole.
Portobello Film Festival will start it’s weekly Video Cafes every Wednesday at The Inn (3 – 5 Thorpe Close, W10) from 19 October (full programme on Video Café page of website). The Inn is also presenting Comedy nights hosted by Tony Allen and starring the likes of Ken Campbell on Thursdays, rock and roll evenings including Alabama 3 on Saturdays, and happenings from previous Festival collaborators Grant Showbiz and Dom Spiral on the last Sundays of every month. Portobello at last has a regular alternative arts centre.

Over the weekend with the megascreen in Emslie Horniman’s Park (12 – 14 August), The Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green, on the other side of the Harrow Road, played host to a very popular Spanish evening and two equally popular nights dedicated to London filmmakers. People were sitting on the stage, such was the demand for space.

Emslie Horniman’s Park

The highlight of the Portobello Film Festival is traditionally the weekend with the megascreen in Emslie Horniman’s Park, Kensal Road, W10. Portobello is the only Festival to use the megascreen, a big video screen normally seen at sports and music events, which shows digital pictures clearly even in brightest sunlight. In Summer it does not get dark till late which makes 35mm projection problematic and the big screen technology is conveniently contained in one unit – no need for inflatable screens or large projectors and scaffolding towers. Emslie Horniman’s is in Golbourne Ward, W10, one of the 10% poorest wards in UK, and the event is hugely looked forward to by local people as their own bit of technological bling.
Accordingly this year we programmed a special family programme with Shrek 2, Monsters Inc, Looney Tunes, Spiderman 2 and X Men 2. What better way of spending a sunny Summer afternoon and evening than in a local park watching mass appeal movies?

Unfortunately, for the first time in five years of megascreen movies it chucked it down with rain. A few hundred brave souls endured the weather, some even brought along tents, but there is no denying the disappointment.
Luckily things had cleared up a bit by the Sunday evening when we presented our VJ Convention with work from Gorillaz and Addictive TV, and live VJ sets from Hexstatic, Red Dog and Exceeda.


Supported by Arts Council England and Film London’s Artists Moving Image Network, Portobello Film Festival this year expanded into presenting cutting edge fine art – painting, sculpture, photography, installation and moving image – to compliment the film programme.

Why Rock Art? Well, Rock music was always better than pop music…it promised more integrity and was less of a mouthpiece for establishment values. All of these artists have worked with musicians on live concerts or videos or album covers. The lines are blurring between the different mediums as we enter a multimedia century.

Also working in an Underground context our Rock Art strand aimed to bring art to the attention of the public in demystifying environments like Parks, bars and cafes. As the film festival draws attention to films that might not otherwise be screened or appreciated by a very mediocre mainstream, so we hope to give the public exposure to funky new artworks that take much of their inspiration from the streets.


Local graffiti artist Alex Martinez, responsible for many shopfronts in Portobello Road and pioneer of the growing legal graffiti movement – painting on designated sites (like The Hall Of Fame in Wornington Road) and taking commissions from businesses who are beginning to recognise the mass popular appeal of the genre and – organised a three day live painting event with DJs under the Westway covered market with top painters Stateofart, Snug, Pulse, and Busk 1. Sprayed on wood, the works were then cut to shape and assembled into a 3D virtual reality urban landscape installation at The Muse Gallery, 269 Portobello Road, called Palookaville, which ran for the length of the Festival. Alex also produced a special Portobello Film Festival piece featuring Jimi Hendrix juggling reels of film.

At The Muse, too, Ken Macdonald of Golbourne SRB’s Golbourne Life magazine exhibited a poignant, elegiac collection of photos of disappearing Portobello Road (as it sinks below tide of coffee chains, theme bars, overpriced restaurants, and venal estate agents) called Portobello Love Letter. The exhibition was complimented by a DVD of the photos set to the song “On The Street Where You Live”.

The Muse exhibition was reviewed in Time Out which said it was “very loud” and stimulated much discussion.


Les Freres Ripoulin are a group of Parisian painters who are masters of the art of affichage or postering. This involves painting enormous pictures, often with household paint on white lining wallpaper or brown wrapping paper, and then pasting them up on billboards. It is not an art form commonly practised in UK, although Bansksy has memorably experimented with the medium on the Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Road railway bridges. Agnes B. herself was once a patron of the Ripoulins and in the late 80s the Town Hall of Paris was so impressed by their work they offered them a large number of billboards and they invited over the likes of Keith Haring from USA to help them cover the city in specially commissioned posters.

Celebrating their 20th Anniversary the Ripoulins created 13 new site specific bespoke works for the large double sided display panels in the Courtyard exhibition space at Westbourne Studios.

Collectively the paintings recalled Picasso’s Guernica or James Rosenquist’s F111 in scale, originality, and thrilling dynamism. Individually, Bla Bla Bla’s Matisse-style graffiti comic cuts, Ox’s pop art abstractions, Manhu’s sinewy trompe l’oeils, 3 Carre’s crossword/surreal riddles and Nina Childress’s computer screen minimalism engaged in a dancing dialogue that breezily dominated the giant, sub-Westway space of the Westbourne atrium.

The Ripoulins’ work uniformly performs the magic trick of hidden shapes, formulas, and forms contained within unexpectedly revealing themselves.

The Object Orchestra Of Leipzig

Another Continental contribution was "The Object Orchestra". Four years ago at the Portobello Film Festival an artists collective from Germany, Terminal, had contributed a group exhibition, and from their ranks has been born "The Object Orchestra". The Object Orchestra record natural sounds – chairs being moved, doors opening, glasses placed on a table, table football machines - from a room, in this case the Westbourne Studios atrium, and place small speakers by the source of the sounds and then replay the sounds from a central control desk comprising 2 G4 laptops. The sampled sounds create weird rhythms within the room and the public is unaware of what is natural and what is recorded. Because the orchestra is in full control of the sounds many moods from restful to funky can be created. Sound sculpture at it’s most satisfying.

Joe Rush & The Mutoid Waste Company

West London artist Joe Rush makes giant metal sculptures out of scrap motor parts. The founder of the Mutoid Waste Company, who have been creating deliriant site specific environments all over Europe for the past 20 years, Joe is currently collaborating with Damien Hirst on bronze casts of his work. For the Portobello Film Festival he produced two large female figures and a huge black centaur made up from motor cycle parts never exhibited before, sited harmoniously beside the Ripoulin pieces in the Westbourne exhibition space. Joe’s influences range from 2000AD comic to Mad Max and from Transformers to heavy metal, but his forms are remarkably graceful and recall a more elegant age before the hysteria of Conceptualism and disposable Brit Art.

Gordon McHarg

Another West London artist, Gordon McHarg, presented his life size Charles Saatchi waxwork, Him, which vastly amused and entertained the Westbourne audience. So lifelike indeed was the sculpture that many people thought it was a real person performing a static mime. Gordon also brought along one of his giant inflatable gonchons: a large blue amorphous comic figure with a gormless smile that particularly appealed to very young children.
Joe and Gordon had previously been working on both the Glastonbury and the Japanese Fuji Festival and afterwards contributed to Gaz Mayall’s Globe Café Stage at the Notting Hill Carnival.

Robert Crumb

Knockabout Comics are based a few doors down from Westbourne Studios under the Westway and exhibited a collection of images from Robert Crumb’s My Problems With Women, satirically chronicling the artists troubled adolescence, subsequent fame and anxieties and sexual fantasies, from a book that was once prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act (found not guilty). This is one of Crumb’s most hilarious works, confirming him as a modern day Hogarth or Chaucer.

Chris Cunningham

Moving effortlessly between the worlds of fine art, rock and roll, questionable taste, sublime beauty, and astonishing craftsmanship is the work of Chris Cunningham: music video director, star of the Royal Academy Apocalypse exhibition, and favourite of both Advertising creatives and avante garde filmmakers. Chris has only given one public talk before in his whole career before. He screened a special cut of Rubber Johnny and some new work and undertook a lengthy and good humoured Q&A with the audience as part of Portobello Film Festival 2005. Covering many bases from technical to historical to aesthetic he also revealed his current feature film projects…one a children’s film!
The occasion was heavily over-attended and queues snaked all the way around the Westbourne Studios Courtyard with the audience waiting patiently to be let in, bearing witness to the increasing public popularity of leftfield work.
Chris’ participation was complimented by a programme of films from his distributors, Warp Films And Records (including a showing of Shane Meadows’ wonderful Dead Man’s Shoes and Chris Morris’ My Wrongs), and a mesmerising Final Cut Pro- computer editing system - Demonstration by senior technical consultant at Apple Europe, Byron Wijawardena.

Al & Al

Maggie Ellis from Film London hosted a Q&A and screening of up and coming video artists Al & Al. Al & Al work from a blue screen studio in the East End creating visceral and amazingly beautiful and complex virtual reality worlds including the latest video for Andy Bell. Combining the sci fi special FX of Star Wars with psychedelia and a nightclub sensibility, Al & Al are clearly set to be the Gilbert & George of the new multimedia millennium.

Video Art inc. RCA & BowieArt

A large amount of video art was screened at the Festival 2005. The last Saturday was non stop artists work in the moving image from 2pm to 11pm including European work from Holland’s Arno Coenen, who came over to introduce it, and Sweden’s Lena Mattson. Other highlights included this year’s RCA Design Graduates show introduced by the students themselves and an hour of BowieArt. is David Bowie’s on line gallery for young British artists working in the moving image and features pieces from many Goldsmiths and St Martins students covering a wide and wild spectrum of styles.
It is sometimes difficult to draw a line between contemporary animation/music videos/computer graphics and fine art, so the Festival screens it all anyway. Particularly impressive this year were contributions from Addictive TV, Ninja Tunes (who give directors small budgets but complete artistic control) and refugees from Lucasfilms (Oedipus performed by kitchen vegetables and Revelations- a Star Wars spin off).
A special new prize sponsored by Apple, a copy of Final Cut Pro HD, was awarded to Best Artists Work In Moving Image at The Elecric Cinema on August 23 and went to Chi Yu for Supervixens 2 which contained elements of Russ Meyer, Hong Kong Kung Fu, Clockwork Orange and Carmina Burana in a disturbing but exciting visceral way that recalled Chris Cunningham and Francis Bacon.

Jamie Hewlett & Gorillaz

Other paintings on display at Westbourne included Op Art from Colette Moray De Morand, felt pen on cardboard Egyptian spoof by our skull logo designer Mark Jackson, and Jamie Hewlett’s giant Zombie Flesh Eaters mural on the first floor.
Jamie is the genius behind Tank Girl and the Gorillaz cartoon band. Despite a busy schedule (the Festival coincided with the release of the new Gorillaz album Dark Days, upon which the financial survival of EMI no less depended). Jamie also designed this year’s PortobelloFilm Festival programme cover – featuring Gorillaz in the mist in an alley behind Westbourne Studios with Trellick Tower in the background, and provided us with the Complete Gorillaz video selection– including a lot of unreleased footage - to show on the Megascreen in the park as part of our special Sunday VJ Convention on 14 August.

VJ Convention w/ Hexstatic, Exceeda & Red Dog

VJs, or video jockeys, are artists wh o mix moving images, usually as a backdrop to bands at big festivals or at nightclubs. The Portobello Film Festival gave them a 20 ft megascreen to perform their work live in Emslie Horniman’s Park W10 – where the steel band competition happens at Carnival. In addition to the Gorillaz oeuvre, the Festival also screened DVDs from Addictive TV featuring Giles Thacker’s Mellowtrones and Hexstatic’s 3D Masterview (complete with 3D spex) before a live set co-ordinated by Ben Mason, Red Dog. Ben is currently being sponsored by Pioneer to demonstrate their new VJ decks that allow VJs to mix and scratch DVDs in the same way DJs mix and scratch vinyl.
Stuart from Hexstatic (Exact Shit) kicked off the live sets with a mad mix of mostly 70s pop videos downloaded from the internet: Olivia Newton John collided with Earth Wind & Fire, the Police collided with Dire Straights, Toni Basil collided with Diana Ross. After a couple of wet days in the park, Stuart got the audience up and dancing to this special “party mix”.
Next up was Exceeda, dressed for the part in Guantanamo Bay style boiler suits and goggles, with their unique found image and computer generated hypnotic mash ups, and the VJ Convention was rounded off with a sublime set from Red Dog himself who proved images can be sensitive and seductive as well as robotic and even occasionally political.
This is surely an art form for the future and Portobello Film Festival was honoured to provide a launching pad.

The Festival reached it’s climax at The Electric Cinema on 23 August with the Awards Ceremony held before a specially invited audience of filmmakers, supporters, sponsors, press and subscribers. JVC presented a brand new digital hard drive camera to Best Film Director Rudi Fieldgrass for Love Struck, a

gritty, witty, streetwise look at love and kickboxing. JVC also presented VHS/DVD combis to Best Director, Best Comedy, and Best Documentary. Best Director was Max Day for his astonishing adaption of Shakespeare’s Richard 111, set in a druggy sink Brighton Housing Estate. Best Comedy went to Ann Cattrall for Face Ache about a man whose facial spots help him solve crimes. Best Documentary was awarded to James Goldcrown for To Die No More, a very moving look at the wonderful people who look after abandoned AIDS babies in South Africa without any government or charity funding.
Guesthouse West presented Jason Wishnow from Long Beach California with a luxury weekend for 2 with meal at their chic boutique hotel on Westbourne Grove for Best Animation-Oedipus performed by kitchen vegetables.
Apple Europe presented the latest Final Cut Editing software to Karan Kandhari for Best Cinematography, Bye Bye Miss Goodnight, filmed with a digital camera on the nighttime streets of Bombay, and Best Artists Work In Moving Image to Chi Yu for Victim 2: Supervixens. Chi Yu is the first person to win two Awards in the 10 years of the Portobello Film Festival.


Jonathan Barnett – Director
Leona Flude – Coordinator
Raymond Myndiuk – Programmer
Geoff Mann – Subscriptions
Andy McCafferty – Photography
Thomas Szabo - Website
Paolo Piselli - Troubleshooter
Kathryn Halstead - Assistant Coordinator
Edwin John -Industry Outreach
Michael Vassell - IT
Dave Pitts – Electrics
Carol St John – Market Research
Phil Underwood (Positive) - Design


Arts Council England, Campden Charities, Film London, UK Film Council, Royal Borough Kensington And Chelsea, Golbourne United SRB, Sure Start Golbourne, Westbourne Studios, Workspace Group, Apple Europe, Time Out, JVC, Cobra Beer, Electric House, Paradise Bar, Inn On The Green, Cobden Club, Guesthouse West, Westway Development Trust, Kensington & Chelsea Community History Group and ACAVA


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