17 January – Simon Pummell in Focus. Shadow Drawings, Trick Films and Science Fictions

The British filmmaker Simon Pummell recently donated his short films to EYE. Pummell is a lecturer at the Piet Zwart Institute who became internationally known with his surrealistic animated films. Patricia Pisters will interview Pummell, followed by the screening of his latest film Identicals.


Pisters, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, will be interviewing Pummell about his work and the sources that inspired him for an hour. The British filmmaker completed a long feature film, Identicals, this summer. In this ‘romantic SF thriller’ a young man falls into the hands of a conglomerate that  provides people with a brand-new life in a rather unorthodox way.

Pummell recently donated his short films to EYE Film Museum to be preserved and screened. His surrealistic animations have a dark edge and are reminiscent of the Quay Brothers’ work. The films – including Secret Joy of Fallen Angels (1991), Ray Gun Fun (1994) and Blinded by Light (2004) – date from 1986 to 2004 and were previously screened at various festivals (IFFR, Venice) and at the BFI.

The filmmaker, who was born in Norwich in 1959, combines animation with other cinematographic forms such as documentary, video art, transmedia and fiction. Pummell’s films have received numerous awards, including a prestigious BAFTA award for his found footage production Bodysong (2003).

Pummell – who has recently become a Dutch citizen – is Director of the Lens-Based Media Design & Communication department at the Rotterdam Willem de Kooning Academy (Piet Zwart Institute).



Secret Joy of Fallen Angels (UK 1991) 11 min.

A re-telling of the annunciation story which blurs the sacred and the profane. The film combines many different optical film techniques with an exploration of drawing the human body which breeds Mickey Mouse with Michelangelo.


The Temptation of Sainthood (1993), 14 min.

The story of a man who believed God was changing him into a woman so he could save the world. Daniel Paul Schreber was a case of Sigmund Freud, and famous as the author of the finest autobiography of the psychotic experience written.


Butcher’s Hook (1996), 7 min.

A baroque revenge drama in miniature. A taxidermist and his animals.


Ray Gun Fun (1998) 11 min.

A little boy’s games lead him into an uncanny dreamworld. This film uses intricate digital effects to create chinese boxes; worlds within worlds.

(pause 30 minutes)


Identicals (UK/IE/NL 2015) 100 min. The organisation BRAND NEW-U identifies networks of Identicals – “people who walk like you, talk like you, but are walking through different, better lives” – and helps their customers make a life upgrade: eliminating the Better-Life donor, and relocating their client to that Brand New life. But errors can occur, and a Brand New life can cost more than expected.


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