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  • Terraforming, Studio Swine. Directed by Juriaan Booij

The return of Real to Reel

This year’s film festival features a typically eclectic programme

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival returns to London’s Picturehouse Central. The three-day event, from 2-4 May, has been created by Crafts magazine and the Crafts Council and highlights the extraordinary talent and technique of the making and moving-image communities. 

After an open call – which attracted nearly 300 submissions from around the world – the final programme has been edited down to 44 films, and includes documentaries, animation and profiles of makers such as Kate Malone, Simone ten Hompel and letterpress artist Martin Clark. There’s also room for a bit of comedy, as well as some distinctly abstract entries. 

Here are a few of the best moments from what should be a captivating few days. It would be great to see you there.

2 May


Opening our first evening Roadliners, directed by Gabrielle Ginns and Ross Gillepsie from Pretend Lovers, is an incredibly evocative documentary that sets out to shed some much needed light on an often unappreciated craft. The film celebrates road-markers Tam and Jim as they hand-pour and paint lines on the streets of Glasgow.


Directed by Juriaan Booij and from the brains of the excellent Studio Swine, Terraforming imagines a world where a crystal planet has been discovered in the galaxy. Safe to say, the film, which was originally commissioned by Swarovski, takes some of its aesthetic cues from 1960s’ sci-fi classics.

Knitting ain’t wack

Lorna HB is the Knitting MC, taking the craft to the streets to get more people knitting and ‘bursting the myths and stereotypes’ associated with it. Expect cameos from familiar faces, including Kaffe Fassett. It’s kind of brilliant. 


3 May

Mawuena Kattah: Ceramics, Textiles and Works on Paper

Documenting an ambitious new body of work by the artist, showing Kattah starting on her 48-piece tile frieze in the V&A’s ceramics studio, and finishing with a private view at London’s Tenderbooks. En route we bump into the likes of Matt Raw and Carol McNicoll.

In the Meadow

An enchanting animation from ceramist and recent RCA graduate Katie Spragg. Using stop-frame animation, the film explores the qualities that grass and clay share, with the artist hand-modelling each blade as it grows and twists in the wind.


4 May

Owen Jones: Oak Swill Basket Weaver 

There’s a seam of heritage craft running through this year’s programme that’s perhaps best exemplified with this beautiful documentary on Owen Jones, an oak swill basket weaver based in the Lake District. Directed by Jacob Hesmondhalgh, this is an intimate portrait of a master maker. 

Nic Webb

Webb pops up a few times on the final evening as we watch the progression of a new and experimental piece of work. Directed by Peter Drinkell, the three films chart the unusual progress of
a large willow vessel as it’s buried in a pond near the artist’s studio.

The Craft of Carnival

Closing the final night, Benjamin Wachenje’s film, originally commissioned by the Crafts Council, illustrates the amount of making that goes on behind the Notting Hill Carnival. 


Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival then moves to:

Festival of Making
The Bureau: Centre for the Arts, 25 Victoria Street, Blackburn, BB1 6DW

Friday 5 May - 8.30pm - 10.30pm
Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 May - 7.30pm - 9.30pm

Book Festival of Making tickets