Stuart Croft Foundation is delighted to announce that the recipients of the 2020 SCF Awards are Anna Brass and Michelle Williams Gamaker (Moving Image Award, £5000 each), Seán Elder (Curation Award, £2000), and Myrid Carten and Grzegorz Stefański (Education Award, £1000 each).
Launched in 2017, the Stuart Croft Foundation Awards enable filmmakers, curators, writers, researchers, students and recent graduates working between and beyond the gallery and cinema to create small-scale projects, where other funding may be difficult to obtain.
Taking its title from Frances Stoner Saunders’ book Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman (Faber & Faber, 2005), Anna Brass’ Haukebodde Hacoud Hacwod Aukud Acud Acut Acuto will be an innovative film that draws upon impressive research into esoteric traditions and the emergence of capitalism, to create a wildly art directed sci-fi film set in 14th century Italy. Drawing upon Sidney Franklin’s 1937 film The Good Earth, Michelle Williams Gamaker’s The Bang Straws is an ambitious project that works with fictional activism to interrogate race and representation in cinema history.
Curator Sean Elder’s Birmingham Critical Film Forum will have a strong curatorial focus on overlooked artists’ moving image originating from Birmingham, and the wider West Midlands, a region with rich political and aesthetic histories to unearth and share.
Myrid Carten’s No Place Like Home demonstrates a bold and confident approach to personal history, and a distinct creative voice emerging. The innovative concept for Grzegorz Stefański’s thrust slows down and scrutinises both the care and violence implicit in acts of first aid.
The awards were selected from over three hundred applications by a panel that included artist and curator Sam Belinfante, and Stuart Croft Foundation trustees; artist Steven Eastwood and curator Gilly Fox:
“Stuart Croft Foundation was excited to see applications coming in from all across the UK this year. The panel was extremely impressed by the level of originality, research and scope in the proposals, and by the bold experimentation with both form and content in the selected projects. We are very much looking forward to working with the artists and curator as their film works take shape.”
ANNA BRASS – Haukebodde Hacoud Hacwod Aukud Acud Acut Acuto
MOVING IMAGE AWARD (£5000)
Haukebodde Hacoud Hacwod Aukud Acud Acut Acuto is a science fiction film about the emergence of capitalism. It is set in 14th century Italy and Essex, and follows three figures: the elusive, shapeshifting English mercenary John Hawkwood; a young Sienese mystic-activist called Catherine, who marries Jesus Christ and uses his foreskin as her wedding ring; and a third figure known as L’innominato (the Unnamed). The film will feature an array of costumes, sculptures, models and structures made by me.
Anna Brass makes films, paintings, sculpture, drawings, architectural maquettes, wall hangings, costumes and carpet-images. From 2018 to 2019 Brass was the Sainsbury Scholar in Painting and Sculpture at The British School at Rome, and currently has work in ‘The Studio at 4am’, a group show curated by Anne Ryan at Hastings Contemporary.
MICHELLE WILLIAMS GAMAKER – The Bang Straws
MOVING IMAGE AWARD (£5000)
The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin, 1937) was one of cinema’s most notorious cases of casting discrimination, with German-American actress Luise Rainer winning the high-profile lead of O-Lan. MGM refused to consider silent film star Anna May Wong, offering her the role of sex worker Lotus instead. The violence of the casting process is a recurring motif in Williams Gamaker’s work; The Bang Straws re-casts O-Lan and reconstructs its innovative analogue VFX: a storm sequence and locust swarm made from tea leaves.
Michelle Williams Gamaker interrogates cinematic construction through moving image, performance and installation. Her work proposes critical alternatives to colonial and imperialist approaches to storytelling in 20th Century British and Hollywood studio films. In 2019 she presented her solo ‘Distant Relative’ at Tintype, with current and upcoming shows at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, RAMM, Exeter and Blenheim Walk Gallery, Leeds.
SEÁN ELDER – Birmingham Critical Film Forum
CURATION AWARD (£2000)
Birmingham Critical Film Forum will be a programme situating both historic and contemporary moving image practices within the West Midlands. It will include screenings, workshops and a regular forum for artists, curators and writers working or interested in the moving image in Birmingham. Working with a number of artists and curators based locally, including Jessica Piette, Ian Sergeant and others, the screening programme will develop artists film culture through a number of opportunities for engagement in the West Midlands.
This project will be delivered by Seán Elder and Emma McKinney at various city venues including Public House, a newly opened space. Elder previously curated moving image events for LUX, Jerwood Arts and Baltic. McKinney is a curator and studio coordinator, previously working with East Street Arts and Eastside Projects.
MYRID CARTEN – No Place Like Home
EDUCATION AWARD (£1000)
No Place Like Home works through an inheritance; both of land and behaviour patterns. It is a cinematic, experimental, personal film – contrasting 16mm with digital documentary footage – that explores the psychological hold of home. It will generously probe the temptations to idealise a mother and the house she left behind. The film sets the ethics of witnessing against the psychological cost of not and asks: can you see through your mother’s eyes without becoming her?
Myrid Carten uses documentary and fiction to interrogate the struggle for intimacy and the ways we are compromised by our pasts. Recent achievements include ACNI Arts Award 2016 and 2018, DocsIE Pitch Award 2019 and the Arts Council’s Next Generation Artist Award 2019-19. Carten’s debut short was funded by NI Screen & BFI in 2019.
GRZEGORZ STEFAŃSKI – thrust
EDUCATION AWARD (£1000)
In the face of a crisis of economic and political values relationships became the main currency that helps us to maintain meaning in its most fundamental sense. Vulnerability makes intimate encounters possible but also exposes on being hurt. thrust will be a moving image work exploring the ambiguity of intimate, physical relationships. The inspiration and visual starting point for this work are first-aid gestures – violent, but expressing the ultimate care.
Grzegorz Stefański’s artistic practice is located at the nexus of psychology, choreography and film, primarily concerned with identity and the politics of embodiment. He investigates masculinities and micro-choreographies of violence and care. In 2017 he won the Ivan Juritz Prize in London and the Grand Prix at the Biennale of Young Art in Poland.
Read more about the Stuart Croft Foundation Awards on our Awards page.