UK premiere of Chamisso's Shadow


Ulrike Ottinger's film was inspired by the writings of Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 – 1838), a true renaissance man, a famed poet and botanist, who in 1815 joined the Russian ship Rurikfor an expedition to the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. 


Part 1: July 20th, 7pm – Alaska and the Aleutian Islands (193 min)

Part 2.1: July 21st, 2.15pm – Chukotka (192 min)

Part 2.2: July 21st, 7pm – Chukotka and Wrangel Island (156 min)

Part 3: July 22nd, 2pm – Kamtchatka and Bering Island (177 min)


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Friday, 20 July, Chapter 1, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands


This screening will be introduced by Helen de Witt.


Helen de Witt is an independent lecturer and curator. She teaches at Birkbeck University of London, University of the Arts London, and the National Film and Television School. She is programme advisor for the BFI London Film Festival Experimenta section for international artists’ moving image. Previously Helen was Head of Cinemas at the BFI, and prior to that Festivals Producer for the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare. Helen is also a director of The Service Co-op, an independent production company dedicated to making films about social justice, the arts and creative collaborations.  She has published on independent cinema and artists’ film.


Sunday 22 July, Chapter 3, Kamtchatka and Bering Island


This screening will be introduced by Jean McNeil.


Jean McNeil was writer-in-residence with the British Antarctic Survey for a year in 2005-6, when she spent four and a half months in the Antarctic. She has  also worked with BAS as a writer in residence aboard a ship-bound expedition to Greenland, and has held residencies in the Falkland Islands and in the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic and has journeyed by polar icebreaker across the Atlantic twice. She has published four books on the polar regions, including Ice Diaries, a memoir/travel narrative that won the Grand Prize (and also the Adventure Travel category) at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada in 2016. She teaches at the University of East Anglia where she is Reader in Creative Writing.​


Tickets are £7 for each part, and will automatically discount to £20 total if you buy all 4 parts together.


Find out more about Chamisso's Shadow from Ulrike Ottinger’s website, which contains her film diary, sketches, photos and footage from the film. You can also download the press release here.


Chamisso's Shadow originally screened at the 2016 Berlinale. This is the first UK screening. This screening has been organised by the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving (BIMI), The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), the Goethe-Institut and LUX. With support from the Open City Documentary Film Festival, and in association with the German Screen Studies Network.