The Design Film Festival: open call for films and works-in-progress

The Design Film Festival: open call for films and works-in-progress

Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD)

Noam Toran, Object for Lonely Men (still), 2001. Collection MoMA.

June 26, 2020
The Design Film Festival: open call for films and works-in-progress
In partnership with The Design Museum and Institut Français du Royaume-Uni
September 1–November 30, 2020
Submission deadline: July 10

The Design Film Festival showcases films by designers, and films on design by filmmakers and artists. It features moving images that are conceived as designs: through concepts such as ideation, iteration and prototyping, or through modes of display and presentation. Equally, the festival highlights films with narratives about design, in showing production methods, distribution networks and consumption.

At a time of unprecedented restrictions on travel and the near-exclusive reliance on digital networks, the festival presents new forms of engagement through the moving image. These films carry progressive and alternative information and communicate ideas through a universal and innovative language. 

Designers, filmmakers and artists are invited to submit work from the last three years, either individually, or collectively. The work should be submitted together with prototypes, edits, remixes, samples, mood- and storyboards in order to show the working process.

The Design Film Festival uses the online exhibition format to present a visual hypertext that links complete work on the screen to related work-in-progress, demonstrating research and development by allowing viewers to navigate references, storyboards, studies, sketches and prototypes. Such ‘notes’ are presented as creatively and conceptually equal to the principal ‘narratives’, showing how process demands parity with results. 

By sharing not only completed works, but also works-in-progress with a global audience, this exhibition presents initial attempts, discarded ideas and prototypes. It highlights research and development to understand design as a distinctively procedural and collaborative field of creative labour. 

The festival aims to show how new tendencies in design, filmmaking, visual communication, as well as education, are shaping our perception of the moving image.

The online festival consists of a platform that is jointly hosted by the Design Museum and the Institut Français starting in September 2020. It is intended for creative practitioners across art and design practice, who are interested in storytelling, conceptual thinking, visual and material studies. It is also expected to attract a general audience engaged in a critical understanding of current geopolitical, social, ecological and cultural conditions through the power of moving images.

The Design Film Festival is part of a collaborative programme between HEAD – Genève, Parsons The New School and Kingston School of Art, led by Alexandra Midal, Ulrich Lehmann and Jana Scholze. Under the title, Montage: Design and Film, Film and Design, students from three graduate programmes investigate the relationship between design and film—film as medium of worldmaking, film as response to and reflection of current environments and conditions, film as material for research and development and film as a conceptual and practical tool for designing.

The Design Film Festival is curated by the MA Curating Contemporary Design, Kingston University in partnership with the Design Museum.

The Design Film Festival is linked to the Invisible Film Festival, a contemporary platform celebrating experimental films by designers. Founded by Alexandra Midal in 2017, the festival addresses the expansion of the field of design; its inter- and transdisciplinary nature and redefinition as geopolitical and social practice. 

Guidance notes for submissions

Film / video work 
Please email your films through a vimeo-link to: j.scholze [​at​] Please limit your submission to one piece of work. We ask that the work is not older than three years (completed between 2017 and 2020). There are no fees associated with your submission.

Work-in-progress material
It is not a condition for your film submissions to include work-in-progress, but we want to encourage you to also submit a maximum of five relevant images that document the research and development process for your submission. These images can originate from a storyboard or script, they can show prototypes or sketches, representations of models, display mechanisms or materials, location shots or screen tests.

Please include short descriptive captions for each of the images and upload them as jpgs with your submission-email to: j.scholze [​at​] The size for each image should not exceed 1 MB. 

We appreciate you may prefer to share high-resolution images of your work-in-progress but in view of the volume of initial submissions, we need to impose the above size-limit. You will be able to present high-resolution images of your work if shortlisted. 

All submissions will be viewed by a selection committee, to include the three initiators of the festival. The final selection of films for the festival will be decided by an international jury. 

In partnership with The Design Museum and Institut Français du Royaume-Uni

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Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD)
June 26, 2020

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