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John Smith

John Smith

United Kingdom


John Smith (born 1952, Walthamstow, England) is an award winning avant garde filmmaker noted for his use of humour in exploring various themes that often play upon the film spectator's conditioned assumptions of the medium. Noted works include The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), Om (1987), The Kiss (1999) and Blight (1996). John studied film at the Royal College of Art. After graduating in 1977 he became involved in the activities of the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. Strongly influenced by the Structural Materialist ideas which dominated British artists’ filmmaking at that time, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, John Smith has developed a body of work which reworks and transforms reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. Since 1972 John Smith has made over forty film, video and installation works that have been shown in cinemas, art galleries and on television throughout the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals. His solo exhibitions include Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2006), Kunstmuseum Magdeburg (2005), Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2003) and Pearl Gallery, London (2003). He regularly presents his work in person and in recent years it has been profiled through retrospectives at the 2007 Venice Biennale and film festivals in Oberhausen, Cork, Tampere, Uppsala, Bristol, Regensburg, Glasgow and La Rochelle. John Smith lives and works in London. He teaches part-time at the University of East London where he is Professor of Fine Art.


Triangles (3´, UK, 1972)
Someone Moving (5´, UK, 1972)
The Hut (5´, UK, 1973)
Words (7´, UK, 1973)
William and the Cows (6´, UK, 1974)
Faces 1 (11´, UK, 1975)
Faces 2 (3´, UK, 1974)
Associations (7´, UK, 1975)
Leading Light (11´, UK, 1975)
Nine Short Stories (3´, UK, 1975)
Subjective Tick-Tocks (11´, UK, 1975)
The Girl Chewing Gum (12´, UK, 1976)
Summer Diary (30´, UK, 1976-77)
Hackney Marshes - November 4th (15´, UK, 1977)
Gardner (6´, UK, 1977)
Hackney Marshes-TV version (30´, UK, 1978)
7P (7´, UK, 1978)
Blue Bathroom (14´, UK, 1979)
Celestial Navigation (10´, UK, 1980)
Spring Tree (3´, UK, 1980)
Shine So Hard (32´, UK, 1981)
Light Sleep (6´, UK, 1981)
Shepherd's Delight (35´, UK, 1980-84)
Om (4´, UK, 1986)
The Black Tower (24´, UK, 1985-87)
Dungeness-3 films for theatre production (12´, UK, 1987)
Slow Glass (40´, UK, 1988-91)
Gargantuan (1´, UK, 1992)
Home Suite (96´, UK, 1993-94)
Blight (14´, UK, 1996)
The Kiss-in collaboration with Ian Bourn (5´, UK, 1999)
The Waste Land (5´, UK, 1999)
Regression (17´, UK, 1999)
Lost Sound-in collaboration with Graeme Miller (28´, UK, 2001)
Frozen War (11´, UK, 2001)
Worst Case Scenario (18´, UK, 2001-03)
T in the Park (UK, 2004-06)
Hotel Diaries (80´, UK, 2002-07)
Flag Mountain (8', UK, 2010)
Demo Tape (5', UK, 2010)
unusual Red cardigan (12', UK, 2011)
The Man Phoning Mum (12', UK, 2011)
Soft Work (37', UK, 2012)
Dad's Stick (5', UK, 2012)


Hotel Diaries 1 - Frozen War

Hotel Diaries 1 - Frozen War (Orig.) / 2001 / United Kingdom / 11 min

A disorientating experience while attempting to watch the TV news in an Irish hotel room triggers a spontaneous response to the bombing of Afghanistan.


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Hotel Diaries 2 - Museum Piece

Hotel Diaries 2 - Museum Piece (Orig.) / 2004 / United Kingdom / 12 min

While the Iraq war continues, a day's sightseeing and the features of a German hotel provoke a stream of thoughts about events large and small.


Throwing Stones_2

Hotel Diaries 3 - Throwing Stones

Hotel Diaries 3 - Throwing Stones (Orig.) / 2004 / United Kingdom / 11 min

As the camera looks out through a barred window and the clock strikes four in a Swiss city, the death of Yasser Arafat provides the starting point for a journey back in time.



Hotel Diaries 4 - B & B

Hotel Diaries 4 - B & B (Orig.) / 2005 / United Kingdom / 6 min

The perception of an Anglo-American hotel room is coloured by new revelations about 'The War on Terror' and 'The Special Relationship' that exists between Britain and the USA.



Hotel Diaries 5 & 6 - Pyramids / Skunk

Hotel Diaries 5 & 6 - Pyramids / Skunk (Orig.) / 2007 / United Kingdom / 16 min

Hamas have just won the Palestinian elections and a chocolate bar in a Rotterdam hotel room eventually reminds the filmmaker that there are more important things going on in the world outside. Exactly one year later he returns to the same city and checks in at a very different hotel.



Hotel Diaries 7 - Dirty Pictures

Hotel Diaries 7 - Dirty Pictures (Orig.) / 2007 / United Kingdom / 14 min


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Hotel Diaries 8 - Six Years Later

Hotel Diaries 8 - Six Years Later (Orig.) / 2007 / United Kingdom / 9 min

The filmmaker returns to the city where he made the first video in the series and looks back at the events of the past six years.



A Showcase of Asian Documentary Film Jewels? TIDF!

A Showcase of Asian Documentary Film Jewels? TIDF!

The interest in all things Asian is growing faster than capital markets in the global world. That goes for documentary films as well. The contemporary production of Asian documentary filmmakers is regularly presented by Taiwan International Documentary Festival.

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- 12.9.2016 -

Gulîstan, Land of Roses Wins Prestigious Doc Alliance Selection Award at Locarno IFF

Gulîstan, Land of Roses Wins Prestigious Doc Alliance Selection Award at Locarno IFF

On Sunday, August 7, young director Zaynê Akyol became the 9th winner of the unique Doc Alliance Selection Award that is awarded since 2008 by the international Doc Alliance platform. The Kurdish director based in Canada received the award during an award ceremony at Locarno IFF. Along with the award, the filmmaker also received financial support of 5.000 euro for her future film.

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- 8.8.2016 -

Doc Alliance Selection Award 2016: Fresh Documentary Talents at the Upcoming Ninth DAS Awards

Doc Alliance Selection Award 2016: Fresh Documentary Talents at the Upcoming Ninth DAS Awards

Ever since 2008, Doc Alliance has been organising an international award intended especially for first-time directors. The Doc Alliance Selection Award helps up-and-coming filmmaking talents to put their name on the documentary map, providing a prize of EUR 5,000 to support their future projects. In 2016, Doc Alliance again nominated 7 outstanding films that will be vying for the 9th annual Doc Alliance Selection Award. The name of the winning title will be announced on August 7, 2016 during an official ceremony at the Locarno International Film Festival.

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- 13.6.2016 -

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