Samuel Stevens is an independent filmmaker and researcher and lecturer at the University of Westminster. His work is supported by the Arts Foundation, since winning the Essay Filmmaking Fellowship, 2017, and is distributed by Pamphleteer Films. Samuel also acquired a PhD, titled Transformative Realism: Political Avant-Garde and Contemporary Fine Art Film, in 2016.
Current research projects include a monograph on the politics and aesthetics of British amateur film of the inter-war period and a feature length documentary on the subject in relation to a post-Brexit national identity. Both projects are endorsed and supported by the Arts Foundation through a fellowship award.
His most recently completed film Spanish Labyrinth (2017) is a feature length documentary that traces the journey of avant-garde filmmaker Eli Lotar across Spain in 1931, echoing the main interests in his filmmaking centering around ecological, social and political realities in Europe.
During an earlier period when economic migration represented a key area of interest to him, Stevens used research grants, to travel within Europe and create a roster of films including Atlantopa (2009) that imagined a bridge across the straits of Gibraltar, as a symbol of inter-continental unity which would allow migrants to easily cross into Europe. The film won a Jury Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in Michigan (2010) and was toured to various major UK locations including the Serpentine (2010) and the Frieze Art Fair.
Stevens' films have also been supported, exhibited and screened both nationally and internationally at exhibitions and events such as: ESSAY FILM NOW!, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2017, Lo Inconmensurable, Una Idea de Europa, Centro Centro, Madrid, 2016, OVNI desrealitat, CCCB, Barcelona, 2011, Cineact, Gate Cinema/Serpentine Gallery, 2010, Transmission Interrupted, MAO, Oxford, 2009, The Third Guangzhoa Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, 2008 and the Istanbul Biennial, 2007.
Stevens has participated in public lectures and artist's talks including Essay Film Now, The Whitechapel Gallery, 2017, Kinetics: Fronts and Frontiers, KINOKULTURE/Independent Cinema Office, 2015, The Sheffield Fringe Film Festival, 2014 and COBRA 1.3, Birkbeck Cinema 2014.
His work has been reviewed in various publications such as Thiel, T., Museum Museum, 2014, O'Sullivan, S., Why Look, 2011 and Frieze Magazine.
I currently teach across Contemporary Media Practice and Illustration and Visual Communication at Westminster University. Within Contemporary Media Practice I teach both practical and theory modules that focus on the boundaries of contemporary media forms such as film, sound and digital imaging. I also teach on core Contemporary Media Theory and Visual Communication Theory and through these modules explore the connection between theory and practice with the students. Within these disciplines I am interested in the critique of contemporary image based media and focus on providing the students with tool for critique and deconstruction that may be applied to their own practical work. Across all fields in teaching I am interested in the development of creativity within a critical context.
My research as a filmmaker, artist, researcher and writer focuses on the representation of current political and social events in moving image, photography and documentary film as a response to concurrent forms of news media.
I am currently researching a book that uncovers political films by amateur groups of the inter-war period. Many of these films have not been consider either in a classical film theory or contemporary academic context and so the aim of this research is to consider them in the light of recent developments in avant-garde film theory most notably following recently translated work of Dziga Vertov. Part of this research is practice based involving a form of media archaeology in reconstructing lost films from archive records, particularly within the compilation film genre.
My research into political avant-garde film is also intended to provide a history for contemporary political and creative film makers and provide methods for understanding more recent forms of video activism and web-based political film.
I have contributed to publications such as Price, T. (ed.), 2013, COBRA: A Critical Response 1.1, A Creative Response to British Emergency Politics and Leaver-Yap (ed.), 2011, Eight Metaphors, in collaboration with the artist Uriel Orlow.
I also founded the publishing label Pamphleteer Films in 2010 which was set up to explore the relationship between politics and culture - with a particular focus on the moving image. I have collaborated on publications by this label with various artists and writers such as Adam Chodzko, Nina Power, John Jordan, and Margaret Dickinson in COBRA 1.3, 2014, Maija Timonen in Three Films On Language, Integration/Internationalism/Nationalism, 2011 and Sean Connelly in When I Sit Down to Write, A Case for Political Conscience, 2010.
My research and film practice has been endorsed and funded by the Arts Foundation, 2017, Westminster University, 2011-2015, the Leverhulme Trust and LUX, 2009, Film London and the Arts Council England, 2008 and the AHRC, 2005.