Coming to America – touring artists’ film in the US


didn’t expect organising this tour of Selected round the States to be as manageable as it has been. Not that it was simple, and a lot of time and effort had to be put in doing research, and talking to contacts – a big thanks to filmmaker Ben Russell, Heather Corcoran at Rhizome, and Clinton McClung at SIFF – but it was surprisingly less complicated than I’d expected. Being determined and tenacious probably helped. 

An excellent tip I had forwarded on to me from Ben Russell was the 16mm Directory, which has a comprehensive list of exhibitors (and distributors and tech) across the US. A really handy resource.

The next stage was just getting in touch with people. Sending some professional looking info about the programme, along with programme notes, and film content, and a link to the programme when it toured in the UK. I think having had the programme tour already really helped. Also, highlighting recognisable venues that the tour had previously been to, like the Whitechapel, gave the programme some kudos, and linking out to artists’ work that have good profile. I also gave venues links to all the films online (via Vimeo – either public or private (with passwords), as artists had sent to me) so they could see content.

My plan had always been to do five venues, to keep it manageable for a first time activity like this. I ended up with 10. Then reduced this down to eight as I negotiated how I was going to manage the logistics, sadly this meant cutting out Chicago and Iowa City, but meant I could do Phoenix, Tucson and LA, and comfortably fit in NY and DC.

It’s a bit of a bonkers trip, but an enormous joy to undertake. I feel like I’ve learned a lot just from setting up the tour. Hopefully what I’ve learnt will unravel here as I write during this journey.

To Portland.