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Phillip Bergson

Writing about Films and Festivals.


Film Critic, UK,Invited Member  of  The UK Critics' Circle

FIPRESCI abd the European Film Academy.

Visiting Lecturer, Prague Film School.


Winner of the  "Student Journalist of the Year" competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES",The Spectator,film critic on "The Sunday Standard", "Screen International",Variety, "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, and on the FilmFestJOURNAL in Berlin and Screen Dailies at Cannes,he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals and is.Casting Consultant on several international features. At the National  Museum of Photography, Film and Television, in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema,which was inaugurated at the Cine Lumiere in London by His Excellency the President of Iceland.

Presenter and Programmer,London Turkish Film Week, December 2018

Co=programmer, 2nd London Turkish Film Week, April 2019

Artistic Director, 3rd London Turkish Film Week, planned for 1-7 June 2020.

As a FIPRESCI Jury Member

and a member of  International Juries at

Thessaloniki, Europa Cinema (Rimini), Munich Documentary, Manaki Brothers,Cine Jove (Valencia),Chicago, TIFF-ODA


Kiwis Launch Film Festival in London

The first of the month saw another first for the  Barbican Arts Centre, nestling in the City of London, as it hosted the first New Zealand Film Festival in its capacious Cinema 1 (from 1-3 July, 2011). Timed to coincide with the City of London's arts festival which takes Oceania as its focus for a continuing season of recitals,lectures and large-scale concerts in a number of historic venues, the opening night was spectacularly successful with a memorable pre-film reception in the Barbican's Conservatory garden, which filled with the fauna  of NZ's London community headed by the High Commissioner himself, and sundry lawyers and other professionals sipping the fine wines from home amid the  flora of the Barbican's exotic party-room, with a veteran from the very first NZ film made half a century ago, while jetting in from Los Angeles (where he recently acted in The Green Hornet)was the personable and highly talented Taika Waititi, star and director of the opening selection Boy, which was the box-office champion of the year in New Zealand, and won a major prize in the Generation section at the Berlinale. Barely had the guests finished grazing on the tastiest canapes(lamb, duck, but no kiwi-fruits or otherwise), when a ferociously tattoed troupe of Maori maids and muscle-men furnished a memorable floor-show of music and (I presume) happy hakas. Suitably encouraged, the distinguished invitees proceeded into the bowels of the Barbican, via some recalcitrant lifts, to find the cinema practically full of many more (paying) spectators. Waititi made a suitably laid-back introduction to a double -bill of his films- the 2003 short Two Cars, One Night which secured an Oscar nomination and contains the themes of Boy in miniature- the rivalry between pre-teen brothers in a tiny community somewhere on the rural East Coast of New Zealand.In his expanded feature Waititi  himself plays the absent and rather daft dad whose influence on his sons leaves much to be desired. Both films are full of sharp, wry observations and the feature is well-paced with day-glo colours that call up Douglas Sirk and Almodovar and their most visually vibrant.Its setting in 1984 (though shot in 2010) enables it to have as a festive finale a lively tribute to Michael Jackson and his Thriller.

The enterprising weekend programme  also included Waititi's 2005 feature Eagle vs. Shark, with the director fielding a Q+A with a local(London)  film critic,and another half a dozen selections of features and shorts, with the actress Celeste Wong also atttending. The whole  event was thought up apparently seven years ago, while bigger brother Australia has been mounting film festivals for the past 16 years in London. New Zealand  film is a welcome addition to the cinematic calendar of the capital, and should definitely be back  in spades next year.

Phillip Bergson

About Phillip Bergson