Guest Blog: Defining ‘radicalism’ at Encounters

Guest Blogger Elizabeth Mizon is a filmmaker and writer living in Bristol, working with both grassroots and established film teams in the city to promote radical film culture.

Since as a concept ‘radical’ means ‘fundamentally different than that which preceded it’, and is thus consciously constructed from what it isn’t, it is difficult to define what radical is. However, as it’s a very special anniversary event, Encounters will attempt to do so anyway (…radical.)

On Friday 19th September the Arnolfini will be hosting a symposium for those of us who dare to enter into the unknown territory that ‘radical’ can explore. With regard to the moving image, especially, that which may seem different to that which came before may simply be the very same structures in disguise; as most of us know, all ‘successful’ narratives conform to three-act structure, correct? What seems to us to deviate from the norm may in fact surreptitiously reinforce the ideologies that it purports to overturn, thus rendering us even more susceptible to absorption.

This might all seem very drastic; we can define ‘radical’ by opening a dictionary. But for the future of the moving image, in which such a huge amount has changed in recent years alongside even more that has remained the same, radical film culture has an opportunity to make tidal waves throughout the world and effect politics, society and the lives of everyone, everywhere.

This can happen only if we come together and organise, defining what it is radical organisations have done, are doing, and can do for global film culture in an age of opacity, transparency and the instant message.

Join the organisations of the Radical Film Network, the Bristol Radical Film Festival, the Centre for Moving Image Research, the Arnolfini Gallery and the Encounters Short Film Festival on Friday 19th to focus our energies, and explore how we can dedicate them to a radical future.

Tickets are £5 and can be booked here. (You could be ‘radical’ and just turn up, but places are limited and we would really like to keep track of numbers so please let us know).

Friday 19th September, Arnolfini, Bristol BS1 4QD, 11am – 4pm

Find film reviews and more from Elizabeth at and @elizabethethird.