Tag Archives: documentary

film screening

Hi everyone. If you are in London, come down to the Hackney Attic on August 28 at 7.30 pm. TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND is screening at the Hackney Attic Film Festival alongside several other fine films in the Documentary Shorts programme. It will be a great evening! Best of all, it’s FREE!


Tickets bookable here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1256360871050516/

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TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND is now Officially Released

The street art documentary I made is now available to view online.


TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND is now Officially Released online for free viewing. Go to http://film.kingslandmural.co.uk
Please share freely.


 “In a forgotten corner of East London, in the shadow of the Olympic site,  artist Nazir Tanbouli is battling weather, vandalism and lack of funds, to create a massive mural installation throughout a condemned housing estate.”

After doing the rounds of the festival circuit including Sheffield Docfest and Portobello Festival in London, as well as screenings all over the place as far afield as Hungary and Egypt, it’s time to make the film more widely available since the fact is not that many people actually go to film festivals 🙂

More info, including full crew list and lots of material about the film as well as my still photography,  is at http://kingslandmural.co.uk/

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dual-wall rain2 wetwall

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Rewriting History Through Documentary

I just wanted to share an excellent and timely article about history documentary and its obligation to tell the truth



Posted by Angelica Das on June 12, 2014

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TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND at Sheffield Docfest

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Sheffield Docfest has begun!  It’s the first day and yes, the weather is appalling, so far. Luckily though, the films are indoors.

TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND has just screened at the Puny Gods Cinema in Exeter and is now at the Sheffield Docfest, the UK’s biggest and most important film festival for documentaries.  The film is 23 min long and is in the festival Videotheque, available to all the festival delegates.

Arts docs are notoriously difficult to place since many people associate the documentary genre to social issues, or art history. TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND is a portrait of  an artist, and of a remarkable project set in the world’s greatest metropolis.

Short synopsis:

What on earth is an Egyptian doing painting the walls of a condemned block of flats in East London? As the city prepares for the 2012 Olympics, the Kingsland social housing estate lies in ruins, synonymous with crime and brutality. Taking Over The King’s Land follows artist Nazir Tanbouli and his self appointed task to take over the condemned housing estate and cover it with art. He battles the endless rain and the bitter weather of the “British summer.” Can art counter the urban atmosphere of deprivation, blight and neglect? Can it help Naz come to terms with life as an émigré Egyptian in London?


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Stigmart 10 – videofocus: features an article about my work

the 2014 edition of the online journal Stigmart10 has an article about my work. The other articles are good too – have a look!



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Why do US film festivals have such massive entry fees?

Ok I just had my first screening of my 23 min film TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND, at the funky venue Dalston Social in East London. It was a kind of cast and crew screening though since it was a doc there was not a cast as such, but many of the folks who were involved in the film came and also friends and colleagues. It was good fun and I got great honest feedback on the film. My good friend Rodney Victor Williams brought his band Lion Tribe and they played a blistering set of exactly the kind of music I like – which was a huge bonus!



I’m now in the not quite so enjoyable or enviable position of getting the film out there to a wider audience. Aside from a few more London screenings that are being set up, this normally means festivals. There are literally millions of festivals! You really have to do your research. I have had films in festivals a lot but in the past these were fairly experimental kinds of films, something more like video art – atmospheric silent documentaries using experimental visual or sonic forms. TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND is a much more traditional form doc, though people did tell me it’s immediately recognizable as my style which is good – I was not after a whole career change into a total other person!

So I am seeking festivals which take docs and are genuinely interested in docs (instead of just shoving them off to a wan screening on a toilet door or something). At the same time, I’m very aware that my film – which in the end is about the power of art to transform the world (ok, tall order) –  does not fit with the ethnographic or sociological direction that docs usually go in. So, not an easy fit. Still with the help of the wonderful Tracy Miller-Robbins and her blog http://noentryfeefestivals.com/ I am slowly but surely finding directions.

However I am also signed up to several other film submission and festival info sites, which tell you what deadlines are coming up and some of them have direct entry facilities, like Withoutabox and Reelport. However, it’s become clear that – despite my film being in English and probably a good cultural fit –  I will not be submitting my film to many US based festivals. There are billions of them, some in big cities like LA some in hamlets, but one thing they have i common is astronomical submission fees. While a European festival might charge ten euros at most, a UK one up to £20, the US fees are routinely $60 to $100 a pop. This is really expensive! Aside from the fact that i cannot possibly afford to roll out fees like that, I do wonder why it is so expensive. So I did a bit of research.

One thing I found was that a huge number of US festivals with massive fees listed on the submission sites, are so obscure that it’s not clear what the benefit of being i the festival actually is. May of them have opaque websites with no details of previous films, winners or anything. Some are calling for films, but with no venue booked. It’s difficult to see who is behind the festivals and therefore to know their credentials. In short, there is a  distinct whiff of dodginess about the enterprise.

It’s not just the US though – I even found listings for festivals in the UK – where I live and practice as a film make and film lecturer – festivals IN LONDON that I have never heard of, charging upwards of £50 to submit. With no venue specified. Now., I am not saying these “festivals” don’t take place but to be honest it would be very easy for me to shell out a few hundred quid, to book a screening room for the night and to mount a so-called festival and take £50 a pop from about 100 people – suddenly I have £5000 in my hand.

I HAVE created screening events and selected for festivals before, and i can attest that huge numbers of submissions arrive. In my case I didn’t charge a fee. Now,  I am not against fees per se, if they reflect the true requirements of the festival. But I thinking too many cases it’s just a gig for people to make some easy £ from film makers dying to get their work out there.

So, I’m soldiering on, seeking screenings and festival opps that don’t rip me off and all i hope really is that this little film will find its audience – an audience that cares about art, cares about human relationships and wants to see something a bit different and – not my words, but those of one of the attendees at the last screening – something  ‘inspirational.’


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Something beautiful and atmospheric

today i have just trawled my photo archive for something beautiful and atmospheric to counter-act they grey November day when I am stuck inside, writing.  And so, these images of Paris, romantic, a bit cliche but very much enjoyed in the moment they were taken. Beauty and atmosphere in one’s surroundings really does make a difference.

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Église Saint-Séverin


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By the way I’ll just say one thing – people in Paris, yes even in “touristy” areas, are uniformly pleasant, polite and friendly.

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Attending a demolition. Watching your place being torn down.

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I have been in this East London neighborhood for ages ever since I was a Film student. I moved little, and stayed within the same few blocks. When I first came here the area was made up of housing estates and small factories and workshops. No cafes, no restaurants, no galleries. I was not bothered about this lack because a) I didn’t have any money to spend anyway; b) I wanted cheap rent c) I like inner city urban environments and d) it was historic and interesting, full of nooks and crannies. Unexpected glories like the Geffrye museum and Albion Square, beautiful Haggerston park, the Regent’s Canal which can take you all the way to Paddington if you have the stamina.

Needless to say it has changed a lot over the years and the place is now thoroughly in the white heat of gentrification. In most respects this is really good: horrible blocks of flats are being replaced by new better housing for the people, and it’s nice to find a decent cafe.

But there is a loss, and it is personal. For the last 2 1/2 years I have had a studio on the ground floor of this housing block. I didn’t live here, we got it as a project space from the landlord, to use before it was knocked down. We did  amazing things in this poky 1-room flat!  A lot of exhibitions, film screenings, open studio weekends and more. We had artists from Spain – including the painter Daniel Cervera – as well as Romania by way of Paris, and a big book art show brought from Russia. The last show we curated was by 3 young London based Bulgarian artists, Krom Balgesky, Desi Tosheva and Teo Todorov. We screened the amazing super 8 feature Maldoror on 16mm, and has film makers Sally Potter and Dan Edelstyn visit and screen their films.

The buildings emptied and finally we were the only inhabitants. It was a cold spring and we could hear the rats rattling around in the walls of the empty rooms next to us. Finally, the landlord had to give us notice and the building was hoarded, covering all the murals that studio partner Nazir Tanbouli had done around the buildings.

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This morning, I saw the demolition crew had arrived. I watched them knock the wall in and begin to demolish the studio.

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I watched them throw all the junk out. Bits of old drawings (some of them big) and paintings, furniture, the bin – everything we didn’t take with us. We took most things, apart from a working old CRT TV that there was just no reason to keep.

Yes, I feel a bit sentimental. Usually when you move you really do move and you don’t see  what happens to your old place. It’s just funny that my new studio is close to the old one so I was able to see the whole thing from the upper floor.

We also have a new exhibition space, the Yellow Wall – it’s a big wall in a nearby cafe we frequent. It means we get to mount the shows but we don’t have to open it ourselves. Things move on and move forward.

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The King's Land

During the whole project The King’s Land the process of creating murals over an entire derelict housing estate was being documented by film and photography.

The film, TAKING OVER THE KING’S LAND  (running time 23:00) is complete and is being released by New Reel Films. It’s being submitted to festivals at present. For more about the film, click on the menu above.

Here’s the trailer:

Taking Over the King’s Land  on Vimeo.

There will also be a short book published by Studio75 to accompany the film, coming out in late 2013.

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Kino EyeView

Kino EyeView

Testing out my new camera. It’s a video camera, for documentary shooting. This is a still from it. The motion pictures are great too.

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March 17, 2013 · 8:05 pm