‘EFS Publications’ is an online journal edited and published by the Experimental Film Society (EFS).
EFS is an independent, not-for-profit entity specialising in avant-garde, independent, and no- or low-budget filmmaking. It was founded in 2000 in Tehran by Rouzbeh Rashidi and has been based in Dublin since 2004. It unites works by a dozen filmmakers and associated artists scattered across the globe, whose films are distinguished by an uncompromising devotion to personal, experimental cinema. They share an exploratory approach to filmmaking, and their films foreground mood, atmosphere, visual rhythms, the interplay of sound and picture, and the nature and subjectivity of the image and the gaze that engenders it, as well as the permeability of the borders between fiction and lyrical filmmaking. Although an international organisation, EFS is notably at the centre of a new wave of Irish experimental filmmaking.
‘EFS Publications’ gives form to a long-standing impulse in the society towards reflection on cinema. In its pages, it combines texts by EFS members with the work of other writers, artists, critics, and filmmakers who wish to contribute to the free-flowing discussion of film history and practice that we hope to see flourish here. Material will be published regularly, as it is received rather than in issue format.
Birgit Hein said
“If an artist needs to write explanations about his work, there is something wrong with the work. This opinion is widely spread and it is possibly true to a certain extent in the area of the fine arts, where a long tradition of professional criticism exists. In the area of the experimental – or avant-garde – film the situation is different, as there exists no comparable tradition. Here the artists themselves have to work out categories to judge their work. Therefore it is necessary to write about the films to help in their understanding.”
For me, ‘EFS Publications’ was born of three main factors. A couple of them are very personal.
1_ All of us at EFS are engaged with the craft of filmmaking and are filmmakers first and foremost. But we are also animated by a passion for the history of film; our films are constantly interacting with, incorporating, or ingesting the history of film directly or indirectly in a creative and mysterious love affair. Therefore, a platform to discuss this has become necessary.
2_ After more than fifteen years of making and screening films, I came to the realization, like Birgit Hein, that I need to explain myself in critical terms simply in order to survive as an artist. And by ‘survive’, I mean to continue making and screening films. EFS has organically created an underground niche for itself, but the type of work it produces is still fragile and emerging as far as its visibility is concerned. For a long time I felt the work should speak for itself, but I have seen that frank and, if necessary, controversial discussions around it have only had positive outcomes. Therefore I have decided to systematically write about what I do in my films, what I think about the cinema in general, and how I feel about the work of others.
3_ I have always believed in cinema as a craft, and perceive it as a laboratory of experimentation: tests, trials, and errors. This process should, therefore, be systematically documented and shared with others.
It is important to mention co-editor Maximilian Le Cain who founded the online experimental film journal ‘Experimental Conversations’, editing it from its inception in 2008 to its demise in 2014. During these seven years Le Cain treated this magazine as an extension of his ideas about cinema and allowed his contributors to do the same.
I learned an important lesson from ‘Experimental Conversations’: if you don’t know the history of film and film criticism, you can’t hope to find your way through its future. Engaging with film history is not only important but essential for filmmakers.
“If one more person tells me this is just like old times, I swear I’ll jump out the window”- Buster Keaton as “Calvero’s Partner” in Limelight (1952)
– Rouzbeh Rashidi (Founding Editor)
Special thanks to Maximilian Le Cain