Stephen Mangan in L'Assenza
Stephen Mangan in L'Assenza




Is every critic a frustrated filmmaker?

Jonathan Romney, Writer/Director of L'Assenza
Jonathan Romney, Writer/Director of L'Assenza

The transition from critic to filmmaker has a long tradition – most notably, the early critics of Cahiers du Cinéma went on to define the French New Wave with their influential body of work. In the way that Rohmer, Godard and Truffaut made films that were informed by their writing, the New American Cinema of the 1960’s onwards saw critic Peter Bogdanovich become one of the era’s most celebrated directors, alongside Paul Schrader who went on to write Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Closer to home, British director Lindsay Anderson wrote for Sight & Sound and the New Statesman before making This Sporting Life, O Lucky Man and If…, and in more recent times, French auteur Olivier Assayas has taken up the mantel, having made contributions as a writer in the late 80’s.

Presented by Lighthouse in association with the BFI, this event will explore the notion that inside every film critic lies a frustrated filmmaker. Following a screening of Jonathan Romney’s new short L’Assenza, produced through the BFI Shorts scheme, the director will be joined by other leading film-critics-turned-filmmakers to talk about how their written work has informed their filmmaking, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Book Tickets here

The discussion with be chaired by Danny Leigh (Film 2013), and speakers include novelist and filmmaker Chris Petit (Radio On, London Orbital), journalist and filmmaker Charlie Lyne (Ultra Culture, the Guardian) screenwriter, documentary producer and playwright Hannah Patterson, and Jonathan Romney, journalist and writer/ director of BFI short L’Assenza.

Danny Leigh

Danny Leigh is a novelist and broadcaster. He has written on film for The Guardian since 1997, and now co-hosts BBC One’s long-running Film programme as well as writing and presenting documentaries for BBC Four. He is the author of two novels, The Greatest Gift and The Monsters of Gramercy Park, and is at work on a third.

Chris Petit:

Chris Petit is an internationally renowned filmmaker once described by Le Monde as the Robespierre of English cinema. His films include the now definitive Radio On (1979) and its acclaimed informal coda, Content (2010). His films have been the subject of several foreign retrospectives. He is also a writer of novels and political thrillers dealing with secret histories, including Robinson (1993) and The Passenger (2007). His working strategy has been to alternate between the experimental and the commercial, on the grounds that if you knock the middle out of anything it is bound to become more interesting. He was recently guest Professor of Architecture at Nuremberg Academy of Arts. He founded The Museum of Loneliness in 2010 and released the vinyl album Museum of Loneliness in 2013. He is currently writing a novel about bureaucracy in Auschwitz. For all that, his gravestone will say Ex-Time Out Film Editor (1973-1978)

Hannah Patterson:

Hannah has written about film for publications including the Guardian, Sight & Sound, Curzon Magazine, Time Out guides, The International Film Guide and The Cinema of Terrence Malick. She commissions Kamera Books, a series about film and filmmaking, and undertakes regular Q&As and masterclasses for venues such as BAFTA, BFI and Curzon. She is currently developing an adaptation of her debut play MUCH for Outsider Films, and has been invited as a screenwriter on to the Edinburgh Film Festival Talent Lab, London Film Festival’s Think-Shoot-Distribute, Creative England’s Triangle program and the LA CineStory Writing Lab. She has also won the BRITDOC Best Pitch for documentary Shelter in Place and the Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Award for World War Two feature Resistance. Her most recent play, Playing With Grown Ups, nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and Off West End Award for Best New Play, is due to transfer to New York in 2014. One act plays have been performed at theatres including Hampstead and the Pleasance, for Paines Plough’s ‘Come to Where I’m From’ series and in association with Old Vic, New Voices.

Jonathan Romney:

Jonathan Romney wrote and directed the shorts A Social Call and Man Goes To The Doctor And The Doctor Says…. He has recently been developing a feature script on the London Film School’s Hothouse programme – a nightmare noir thriller set in 50s London. He is a weekly reviewer for Film Comment and was film critic for the Independent on Sunday for 12 years. Romney also writes a monthly column for Sight & Sound and is programme advisor on French cinema for the London Film Festival.

Charlie Lyne

Charlie Lyne is the editor of cult movie blog Ultra Culture and a columnist for the Guardian Guide. His first film Beyond Clueless — a journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie — is currently in post-production.

Date: Tuesday 14th January

Times: 8.30pm

Venue: Institute of Contemporary Art, 12 Carlton House Terrace , SW1Y 5AH

Tickets: Here

Lighthouse is a Brighton-based digital culture agency and Executive Producer of the BFI Shorts scheme. BFI Shorts is a high-level production scheme that forms part of the BFI’s commitment to support emerging filmmaking talent and provide opportunities for them to demonstrate their potential to create feature films. In 2012, Lighthouse was selected to manage the scheme, through which seventeen ambitious shorts have been produced.



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