Film London Jarman Award 2015 Winner Announced

The latest recipient of the Film London Jarman Award was announced yesterday at a special event at The Whitechapel Gallery in London. The Belfast-based artist filmmaker Seamus Harahan (b.1968) was selected as this year’s winner from a shortlist of six distinguished creatives: Adam Chodzko, Gail Pickering, Alia Syed, Bedwyr Williams and Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

Growing up between London and East Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Harahan and his practice instinctively draw upon the urban environment and its incidental and fugitive nature. Captured on inexpensive, hand-held equipment, the artist’s contemplative videos of Belfast street-life subtly blur the lines between observational footage and experimental art, and delicately challenge established norms. A dynamic spectrum of music, from hip-hop to folk, also features predominantly in his work.

The Jury, composed of Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery; Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, Tate Modern; Pegah Farahmand, Editor, Random Acts; Stephen Sutcliffe, Artist; Maria Palacios Cruz, Deputy Director, LUX and Sol Papadopoulos, Producer, Hurricane Films, said of the artist: “Seamus Harahan was selected for this year’s Jarman Award thanks to his amazing eye and his intuitiveness, both of which come to the fore in his vignettes of urban life. Elegantly and effectively scored and crafted with a simplicity of means, he makes profoundly beautiful and deeply engaging films that push the boundaries of art and documentary.”

As winner of the Film London Jarman Award, Harahan receives £10,000 prize money, alongside a commission for Channel 4’s Random Acts strand. His work is already held in national and international collections and he represented Northern Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Harahan’s fellow shortlisted artists will also be awarded a Channel 4 Random Acts film commission.

Established in 2008, the Jarman Award celebrates the diversity and creativity of artists working in film today and provides them with an opportunity to reach a wider audience by creating new work for Channel 4’s Random Acts. Previous winners include Luke Fowler (2008), Lindsay Seers (2009), Emily Wardill (2010), Anya Kirschner & David Panos (2011), James Richards (2012), John Smith (2013) and Ursula Mayer (2014).

The very first recipient of the inaugural Jules Wright Prize was also unveiled yesterday evening. Cinematographer Noski Deville was awarded £5,000 for Female Creative Technician. Named after the late founder of The Wapping Project, the new prize recognises and highlights female creative technicians who have made a significant contribution to artists’ films. Deville has worked with artists such as Steve McQueen, Isaac Julien and Alia Syed, and was praised for the impact she has made on the field of cinematography.

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1. Still from Seamus Harahan’s Samurai, 2006. Courtesy of Film London.