Sat 27 February – Sun 27 March 2016

Socialism was the most looked-up word in 2015. Largely attributable to the popularity of US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party, it reflects a year of political alternatives becoming reality.

George Orwell’s polemical book The Road to Wigan Pier is the thematic framework for the next two editions of AV Festival. Eighty-years ago in 1936, Orwell was commissioned by the Left Book Club to write on the depressed areas of the North of England and spent two months living in the industrial North. The book is his account of working-class life amidst growing social injustice, poverty, unemployment and class division. The experience clarified his ideas about socialism, concluding that the basis for a democratic socialism is equality and fairness.

Mirroring the structure of the book the 2016 edition of the Festival is Part One followed by Part Two in 2018, representing a new way of curating a biennial Festival. AV Festival 2016 initiates this approach, presenting work by artists and filmmakers who situate themselves in relation to historic and contemporary political struggle, revolution and social movements, creating new forms of resistance to neoliberal capitalism.

Festival Director: Rebecca Shatwell

Festival Launch and Exhibition Preview

Friday 26 February, 6pm–1am

Various Venues

The Festival launches in The Mining Institute Library with a short introduction to the Festival theme, Meanwhile, what... more

Thomas Spence

27 February – 27 March 2016 

The Lit & Phil

Thomas Spence, one of the leading English revolutionaries of the late eighteenth century, was born in 1750 on Newcastle’s Quayside. ‘Spence’s Plan’... more

The Socialist Café: Amber Films

27 February – 27 March 2016

The Mining Institute

As Orwell was making his journey across the industrial North, in 1930s Newcastle the Socialist Café in the Royal Arcade became a meeting ground... more

Tyneside Story: Jack Common

27 February – 27 March 2016

The Mining Institute

This propaganda film about the re-opening of the Tyneside shipyards during World War Two was made for the Ministry of Information in 1944, with a script... more

Hugo Canoilas

27 February – 27 March 2016

Workplace Gallery

This new installation by Hugo Canoilas creates a tension between the past and present, making it contemporary ‘like a knife with two blades’. It brings... more

Madhusudhanan: The Marx Archive - Logic of Disappearance

27 February – 27 March 2016 


The Marx Archive – Logic of Disappearance is an ongoing project rooted in... more

Pallavi Paul: Trilogy

27 February – 27 March 2016 


In her trilogy of films – Nayi Kheti (New Harvest) 2013, Shabdkosh (A Dictionary), 2013, and Long Hair, Short Ideas, 2014 – Pallavi Paul... more

Haim Sokol: Testimony

27 February – 27 March 2016

The Gallery at Tyneside Cinema

Haim Sokol’s work deals with issues of memory, history and trauma, specifically those histories that have been hidden, forgotten or oppressed. The... more

Tim Brennan: Crusade

27 February – 27 March 2016


In summer 1996, artist Tim Brennan spent 25 days walking 298 miles along the route of the Jarrow Crusade, the famous protest march that took... more

Claire Fontaine

27 February – 27 March 2016


Claire Fontaine has adopted the term human strike to define a type of strike that involves the whole of life, echoing Foucault’s statement that... more

Dan Perjovschi

27 February – 27 March 2016

NewBridge Project Space

Known for drawing with felt pen directly onto the walls and windows of galleries in-situ during exhibitions, Dan Perjovschi’s installations take... more

R.E.P. (Revolutionary Experimental Space)

27 February – 27 March 2016 

Gallery North

R.E.P. was formed in Kyiv in 2004 – the decade of their existence framed by the Orange Revolution of that year and the... more

Left Book Club

27 February – 27 March 2016

NewBridge Bookshop

During the Festival, NewBridge Bookshop becomes the Left Book Club, a reading room and meeting point, influenced by the original Left... more

Gallery Talk: Thomas Spence

Sat 27 Feb, 10–11am

The Lit & Phil

Gallery talk led by Alastair Bonnett co-editor of the recent publication Thomas Spence: The Poor Man’s Revolutionary and Professor of... more

Artist Talk: Haim Sokol and R.E.P.

Sat 27 Feb, 11.30am–12.30pm

Tyneside Cinema

In conversation event with the Kyiv-based artist collective R.E.P. and Moscow-based artist Haim Sokol, both artists will discuss their practice... more

Artist Talk: Claire Fontaine

Sat 27 Feb, 12.45–1.30pm

Tyneside Cinema

Claire Fontaine present an illustrated talk about their work and the term human strike. Claire Fontaine has adopted the term human strike to... more

Artist Talk: Hugo Canoilas

Sat 27 Feb, 2.15–3pm

Workplace Gallery

Taking place at the gallery, Hugo Canoilas discusses the interconnection of things within his work from political texts on Marxism to... more

Artist Talk: Dan Perjovschi

Sat 27 Feb, 3.45–4.45pm

NewBridge Project Space

Join artist Dan Perjovschi for an informal discussion and coffee break in the gallery space. During the opening weekend he is working in-situ... more

Oleg Mavromatti: No Place for Fools

Sat 27 Feb, 5.30pm (82min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Resurrecting the tradition of the holy fool, the film draws a shockingly critical portrait of Russia’s darkest side... more

Special Event: Roee Rosen: Buried Alive

Sat 27 Feb, 8.30–10.30pm

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

In the performance concert Buried Alive visual artist Roee Rosen has created an elaborate... more

Artist Talk: Pallavi Paul

Sun 28 Feb, 11am–12pm

Tyneside Cinema

Pallavi Paul discusses her approach to documentary film, in which she extricates the political from a language of nostalgia or mourning, to get... more

Haim Sokol: Testimony Reading

Sun 28 Feb, 12.30–3pm

The Gallery at Tyneside Cinema

Haim Sokol presents a live reading of a text work reflecting the ongoing post-Holocaust politics of exclusion and racism in society today. The text is based... more

Tim Brennan: A Red Shoe Diary #4

Sun 28 Feb, 3.15–5.15pm


Tim Brennan reads from the personal diary of his walk along the route of the Jarrow Crusade, re-activating the walk and... more

Ranu Ghosh: Quarter Number 4/11

Sun 28 Feb, 5.45pm (69min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

South City Project in Calcutta is Eastern India’s largest mixed-use real estate development... more

1930s - 40s British Documentary Movement

Tue 1 March, 5.45pm (120min)

Tyneside Cinema

As Orwell was documenting poverty in the industrial North in 1936, the British Documentary Movement of the 1930s was also... more

Finest Hour: Films by Humphrey Jennings

Wed 2 March, 5.45pm (80min)

Tyneside Cinema

Humphrey Jennings is widely considered Britain’s greatest documentary director. In 1937 he founded Mass Observation,... more

Marc Karlin: Between Times

Fri 4 March, 8.45pm (50min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

An essay on the future of the British Left through the different perspectives of A and Z. In their wide-... more

Marc Karlin: A Dream from the Bath + The Serpent + The Haircut

Sat 5 March, 12pm (72min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

This programme includes three short films made by... more

Marc Karlin: Utopias

Sat 5 March, 2.20pm (135min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

Shot around the time Margaret Thatcher proclaimed the ‘death of socialism’ in the UK, Karlin was determined to say... more

Marc Karlin: For Memory

Sat 5 March, 8.30pm (104min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

A contemplation on cultural amnesia initiated through members of the British Army Film Unit present... more

Marc Karlin: Nicaragua Part 1-4

Sun 6 March, 12–6.30pm

Tyneside Cinema

We are presenting all four parts of the Nicaragua series in one day. A standard price cinema ticket or Festival pass enables entry to all four films... more

Marc Karlin: Scenes for a Revolution

Sun 6 March, 8.15pm (110min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

Karlin returns to Nicaragua after five years to examine the history of the Sandinista... more

Berwick Street Collective: Nightcleaners

Tue 8 March, 5.45pm (90min)

Tyneside Cinema

Nightcleaners is a documentary by the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott, Humphrey Trevelyan),... more 

Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo: Winstanley

Wed 9 March, 5.45pm (96min)

Tyneside Cinema

Kevin Brownlow and co-director Andrew Mollo recreated a small patch of seventeenth-century England to... more

Cinema Action: The Miners' Film

Thu 10 March, 5.45pm (45min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

The Miners’ Film documents the 1973–4 miners’ strike that helped bring down Edward Heath’s government,... more

Special Event: Naeem Mohaiemen: United Red Army (The Young Man Was..., Part 1)

Fri 11 March, 8.30pm (70min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

United Red Army (The Young Man Was…, Part 1) by Naeem... more

Eric Baudelaire: The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images

Sat 12 March, 5.45pm (66min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

The political and personal... more

Masao Adachi: AKA: Serial Killer

Sat 12 March, 8.45pm (86min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

AKA: Serial Killer defined Adachi’s radical Marxist theory of fûkeiron; that the... more

Masao Adachi: The Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War

Sun 13 March, 3.30pm (71min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

Interweaving footage of Palestine refugee camps,... more

Eric Baudelaire: The Ugly One

Sun 13 March, 5.45pm (101min + discussion)

Tyneside Cinema

Winter, Beirut. On a beach littered with cans washed up from the sea, Lili and Michel meet. Or perhaps they... more

Cinema Action: So That You Can Live

Tue 15 March, 8pm (83min)

Tyneside Cinema

So That You Can Live was Cinema Action’s most personal and reflective film. Gone are the political sloganeering and... more

Peter Gidal: Close Up

Wed 16 March, 7pm (70min + Intro) 

Northern Charter

This rare screening of Peter Gidal’s ‘feature length’ film Close Up anticipates the publication of Flare Out:... more

Luke Fowler: The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott

Thu 17 March, 5.45pm (61min)

Tyneside Cinema

Luke Fowler’s film focuses on Marxist historian... more

Oleksandr Dovzhenko: Earth

Fri 18 March, 6.15pm (83min + Q&A) 

Tyneside Cinema

Dovzhenko is considered as the father of Ukrainian cinema with Earth regarded as his masterpiece. Merging... more

Felix Sobolev: The Target is Your Brain

Sat 19 March, 12.45pm (56min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

‘This film is about a plot against reason. The target is your brain’. Sobolev's last... more

Levels of Democracy

Sat 19 March, 2.50pm (100min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Rare short films made during perestroika, when documentary film could again have a social and political role... more

Sergei Loznitsa: The Event

Sat 19 March, 5.45pm (74min + Director Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Loznitsa’s new film is a found-footage epic about the failed coup of August 1991 that signaled the fall of the... more

Test Dept: Live soundtrack to Mikhail Kaufman's film An Unprecedented Campaign

Sat 19 March, 9pm (71min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

The proletariat, having become master of one sixth... more

Dziga Vertov: Enthusiasm (Symphony of the Donbas)

Sun 20 March, 12.45pm (67min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Vertov’s first sound film, shot in the coal-rich Donbas area of Eastern Ukraine, was the first... more

Sergei Loznitsa: Revue

Sun 20 March, 2.45pm (83min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Revue is based on archive propaganda newsreels produced in the USSR in the 1950s and 60s. It shows the almost forgotten... more

Sergei Loznitsa: Maidan

Sun 20 March, 5.15pm (130min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Maidan chronicles the civil uprising against the regime of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych that took place in Kyiv... more

Mikhail Kaufman: In Spring

Sun 20 March, 8.30pm (60min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

In this declaration of love for Kyiv, Kaufman uses a hidden camera for the first time to show the awakening city after winter,... more

March to Aldermaston: Free Cinema

Tue 22 March, 5.45pm (109min)

Tyneside Cinema

This programme of three short films focuses around the Free Cinema movement of the 1950s, originally a reference... more

Artist Talk: Bianca Baldi

Wed 23 March, 4.30–6pm

Seaton Delaval Hall

Bianca Baldi’s video installations reveal over-looked narrative strands and the hidden structures of power. By focusing on specific cultural or sociological artefacts,... more

Ken McMullen and Stuart Brisley: Resistance

Thu 24 March, 7pm (90min + Q&A)

Northern Charter

Resistance assembles fragments of raw material (archive film, performances,... more

Artist Talk + Screening: Mykola Ridnyi

Fri 25 March, 7–8.30pm

Tyneside Cinema

Mykola Ridnyi is a visual artist based in Ukraine. He was born and studied in Kharkiv where he was a member and curator of the... more

Kris Canavan: Labour isn't Working

Sat 26 – Sun 27 March, 2pm start (24 hrs)

Curlew Road, Jarrow

Standing Shoulder to Shoulder, in solidarity, in defiance against the slaughter of their town... more