In The National Interest

As part of the Keywords exhibition and programmed by The Otolith Collective, this Militant Image event features Penny Stempel's rarely screened film In the National Interest? (1986). This presentation is followed by a discussion between Penny Stempel and Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Collective.

Co-directed by Chris Rushton, In the National Interest? looks at those sections of British society targeted by the government, the judicial system and the police in the name of the national interest. The film assesses the legitimation crisis of the British state by exploring the connections between trade union struggles, racial attacks and processes of criminalisation.

In the National Interest? was produced by Cardiff based Chapter Video Workshop, co-founded by Stempel and Rushton in a unique and unprecedented association with several independent film and video workshops including ABSC Film and Video, Activision Studios, Albany Video, Another View, Belfast Independent Video, Biased Tapes, Black Audio Film Collective, Derry Film & Video Collective, Faction Films, Films at Work,Open Eye, Sankofa, Sheffield Asian Film and Video, Trade Films, TUTV and Women in Sync.

The discussion will explore the complex and controversial production history of In the National Interest?, the formation of the workshop movement in 1980s Britain, the struggles of the workshops to invent a new language for television, the role played by the Independent Film and Television Department at Channel 4 and the legacies of oppositional film in Britain in the present.

This special screening is part of an ongoing programme in which The Otolith Collective investigates radical film practice in association with INIVA and the support of the Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London


The Otolith Group