Screening Days

Archive Screening Days 2021

09/12/2021 - 10/12/2021

BFI Southbank, London

Join us for Archive Screening Days 2021 – an event to help share film history and history on film, watch new restorations, and understand how film heritage organisations and archives of all kinds can connect their material with audiences. 

Taking place at BFI Southbank on Thursday 9 December and online on Friday 10 December, this event will give exhibitors the chance to watch carefully curated material from the national, international and alternative archives and new restorations coming into distribution, as well as attend sessions giving you the inspiration, skills and tools you need to share archive film with your audiences.

See the schedule


Registration for this event is now closed. If you have any queries about your pass, email

“Brilliant day; inspiring and useful. Thank you!”

“Unexpected programming, carefully curated”

Archive Screening Days 2019 attendees


Keynote: Staying with the archival trouble

Accessing archival films from cinematic history has become both easier, more accessible and popular. Projects involving the digitisation of underused and often forgotten collections have allowed audiences to see ‘lost’ films or get an impression of life throughout history. However, these films are not always straightforward; they can raise contentious issues and elicit strong responses. Films from the colonial period, films made by the state promoting political opinions that have now been throroughly disregarded or narrative cinema that entrenches sexist or homophobic stereotypes can make reproducing films from the archive tricky. Concurrently there has been a critical mass of moving image practices that utilise, contextualise and question archival material, practices that centre and are in dialogue with the ethical bind that sometimes comes along with the archive. In this keynote, artist and researcher Onyeka Igwe will outline these approaches whilst offering a provocation for the programming of archival cinema.

Archive Politics, Conscious Curation


How can we embrace the exciting possibilities of the archive, and attract new audiences, while also challenging the politics of the past? The archive is a rich and compelling resource but working with “old movies'' is inevitably fraught. The gaps and limits of moving image collections mean that films by filmmakers from historically marginalised backgrounds are often more difficult to find and expensive to screen. On the flipside, archive films often contain outdated perspectives, offensive language or jarring representations. This panel will explore the challenges of screening archive in a socially conscious, critically engaged way. Archive activists Invisible Women will be joined by expert speakers to discuss the political construction of the archive, re-framing screen heritage, encouraging debate and building revisionist cinema histories through exhibition.

The Borders Community Film Archive: Engaging a community via its memories

The Borders Community Film Archive (BCFA) was launched earlier this year by Alchemy Film and Arts in Hawick. Its goal is for archive film made in and focusing on the Scottish Borders to be digitised, preserved and researched, with the intention of it being used for the common good of the community by schools, local groups and artists. Still in development and evolving as an archive, the BCFA has engaged with the local community in conventional and unconventional film exhibition spaces. This session will focus on the development process of creating a community film archive within a rural area, the way it can be used within film exhibition and its benefits in connecting with local communities and creating a sense of place.


This screening event includes three recently uncovered AIDS activist videos that were found during a period of research looking into the history of UK AIDS Activist Video, most of which appeared to have been lost or forgotten. The screening will include Cock Crazy or Scared Stiff, an educational safer sex tape from 1991/92 made by the photographer Sunil Gupta, This is Not an AIDS Advertisement, a love letter to queer desire and survival made by Isaac Julien in 1987 and Compromised Immunity, a video adaptation of a play by Gay Sweatshop about the relationship between a heterosexual nurse and a gay man living with AIDS, also made in 1987. For the event we will be joined by community video maker Phillip Timmins, who made Compromised Immunity. This will be a chance to talk about the role of filmmaking in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the UK and to reflect on the importance of rewatching this work in the current moment.

The Archive & Intangible Cultural Heritage of Africa


In 2001, a film was released from Tanzania titled Maangamizi: The Ancient One, directed by Martin Mhando, in collaboration with Ron Mulvihill, and written by Queenae Mulvihill. It is a film that explores the breadth of African consciousness and spiritual heritage through the story of three women: a doctor, her patient, and the ancestral spirit who unites them. However, despite being recognized by prestigious international awarding bodies — the film has remained virtually unseen upon the continent, a fate too common for profound pieces of African film history. Ajabu Ajabu - a collective of audio-visual practitioners operating in or from Tanzania - invites you to question why that is. Following a physical and digital exhibition of this neglected work of art, a hybrid panel dialogue will explore the return of Maangamizi and the localized distribution method undertaken by the Ajabu Ajabu team, emerging arguments for the restitution of African cinema, and the universal value of supporting creative reinterpretation of film work.

How Archive Programmers can work with Independent Cinemas


Archive programmes make a major impact when shared in local venues. But how can curators research programmes and develop them so that cinemas can bring them into their programmes? And what do venues want from external curators who approach them with archive programmes? In this interactive session, led by ICO’s Jemma Buckley (who has produced many local and national archive programmes) you’ll hear a successful case study of freelance curation and from a venue programmer on what they’re looking for from external partners. In addition, you’ll be able to ask your own questions on how to hone an archive programme and the practical and the curatorial approaches that work.

Am I eligible?

We want to welcome as many people as possible to our events while still protecting the work of filmmakers and distributors. Screening Days is for anyone who works or volunteers in a space that shows films and makes a direct contribution to selecting films and attracting audiences for them. We also welcome archivists to this event. If you’re in any doubt about your eligibility, just email us.

Support to join Screening Days

If you would like to attend Archive Screening Days but the costs may prevent you from doing so, your regional Film Hub may be able to help in the form of bursaries for members (see links below). If your organisation is not yet a Hub member, it is usually easy to register quickly and it’s free.

COVID-19 Safety

All speakers and ICO staff are required to take a lateral flow test 24 hours prior to the event. While we do not require proof of negative tests from delegates, we suggest that you do the same. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, please do not attend the event.

BFI Southbank staff will take your temperature on your arrival at the venue.

BFI Southbank asks you to wear masks when inside the building, including when in cinema screens, though these may be removed when you are eating or drinking in the Blue Room or BFI bars.

Read more details of BFI Southbank’s COVID-19 safety protocol.

If you have any queries on any point, let us know at


Is this a hybrid event?

Even though part of the event will run online on 10 Dec, there will be more in-person only films and sessions for this event on 9 Dec due to the physical nature of archive film. Therefore, we have not sold online-only passes to Archive Screening Days.

All films will be shown in-venue at BFI Southbank on Thursday 9 December, with Maangamizi: The Ancient One, The Films of Sandra Lahire and the films shown in the ‘DO NOT TAPE OVER: UK AIDS Activist Video’ session also available online on Friday 10 December. The sessions on ‘Archive Politics, Conscious Curation’, ‘How Archive Programmers can work with Independent Cinemas’ and ‘The Archive & Intangible Cultural Heritage of Africa’ will be delivered online only on Friday 10 Dec. All other sessions will be delivered in-person only on 9 Dec at the BFI.

See the schedule

How do I register on the day?

Registration will open at 9.30am on Thursday 9 December at the ICO desk outside the Blue Room (first floor) at BFI Southbank. You will be issued with a badge which is your entry pass into all screenings and sessions.

How do I get to BFI Southbank?

BFI Southbank sits on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge in London. For local travel information, see BFI Southbank’s website.

Can I get food and drinks on-site?

All refreshments and lunch will be provided on the day and are included in the cost of your pass. There will be a drinks reception after the final films and sessions of the day.

You can also visit BFI Southbank’s café bars, BFI Bar & Kitchen (plus its adjacent espresso bar) and BFI Riverfront, or one of the many cafés and restaurants nearby on the South Bank.

How accessible is the event?

Where we are able to make films from the programme available online, we aim to provide caption subtitles. Online sessions will have live captioning and will be recorded.

For details of venue accessibility at BFI Southbank, see their accessibility information page.

There will be a quiet space available at BFI Southbank for anyone who would like to use it. Please ask at the ICO desk for directions.

If you have any other queries about event accessibility, email us at:

How do you curate Archive Screening Days?

We curate the majority of the programme, but also hold a paid open call for guest curators for sessions and film programmes for all our specialised Screening Days events (inclusion and diversity, archive, and young audiences).

We do this to open up the events and to connect with practitioners we haven’t worked with before, both inside and outside the film exhibition sector, who are doing important work.

The open call for this event has now closed. We will hold a new open call ahead of next year’s event.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions about Screening Days, you can either send them to or if you prefer to submit anonymously, to our Screening Days Advisory Group.

Advisory Group

To give us fresh eyes on Screening Days and help us find ways to renew, improve and open up the events going forward, we have created a Screening Days Advisory Group.

We are delighted to be joined by writer and organiser So Mayer (Raising Films, Club des Femmes), film curator and programmer Jonathan Ali (Twelve30 Collective) and Cinema Access Coordinator Midnight Memphis (Beacon Films, Star and Shadow Cinema). They are working with us to advise on and develop our specialised events for a year, before passing this work to another group of advisors. Read more.

If you have any comments or ideas you’d like the group to consider, submit them here.

Code of conduct

Whether on or offline, we want our events to be fun, inclusive spaces for film professionals. We expect people attending and working at them to maintain this code of conduct so that they stay that way. Harassment and bullying have no place at ICO events.

Examples of inappropriate behaviours that contravene our code of conduct include offensive comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of events, aggressive behaviour, inappropriate physical contact and unwelcome sexual attention.

If someone behaves inappropriately towards you or you witness something inappropriate, please report it to a member of ICO staff or email us. Your complaint will be treated with discretion. We are happy to help and can help report inappropriate behaviour to the authorities where necessary or address the problem ourselves where more appropriate. We reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who does not comply with our code of conduct. This code of conduct applies both in-person and online.

If you would like to speak to an independent organisation about an issue, the Film and TV Charity have a free and confidential 24-hour helpline available on 0800 054 00 00.

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