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Upcoming event: The Internet & Me

Presented in partnership with Cork Film Festival, Sunday November 13th, 1pm, Triskel Christchurch, Cork

In the last ten years, our lives have been increasingly lived online. We look to the Internet to support our social interactions, romantic adventures, professional identities, financial affairs, entertainment and commerce needs and a million other aspects of our day to day life.

Through a compelling programme of short film and discussion, this event looks at the wonder and horror of the ubiquitous Internet and the impact it is having on us personally and collectively. In the films we follow characters who are searching – for love, connection, sex, truth, escape – in the digital world. Some find fulfilment, others are left frustrated or worse. From the heart-stopping to the heartwarming, these films will stay in your mind and lead you to pause for thought next time you log on.


Dr. Jurek Kirakowski is the retired Statutory Lecturer in Applied Psychology at University College Cork. His main area of research is human-computer interaction – the study of the relationship between humans and the IT tools we create.
See his personal bio at

Adam Butcher is an award-winning writer/director, exploring a variety of unique visual and storytelling styles. His short films have played at festivals across the globe, most recently his short The Prevailing Winds premiered at the BFI London Film Festival. He is  developing a feature film based on his viral short Internet Story.

Carla MacKinnon is director of Rich Pickings, curator of the short film programme and a lecturer and PhD candidate in Animation.

The panel will be hosted by James Mullighan, Director of Cork Film Festival.


Bradley Manning Had Secrets (Dir. Adam Butcher)

The story of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley), not as a Wikileaks ‘hacktivist’, but as a young American soldier simultaneously going through a crisis-of-conscience and a crisis-of-gender-identity. Animated in a rotoscoped pixel-art style and using dialogue from Chelsea’s online conversations, the film explores issues of personal and political secrets, digital identity and alienation.

Everyone Is Waiting for Something to Happen (Dir. Emma Calder)


Prior to being diagnosed with bowel cancer Richard Wright, an artist/animator, had a social media persona that was characterised by annoying and anarchic humour. After initially feeling unable to communicate at all, his healing process became entwined with the resurrection of his social media presence, helped by an obsessive regime of baking.

Avatar Days (Dir. Gavin Kelly, Piranha Entertainment) 

Players of Online Roleplaying Games reflect on their relationship with an intoxicating virtual world while going about their daily lives. In a surreal twist we encounter their ingame characters, inhabiting a banal urban landscape and providing a provocative visual backdrop to the unfolding thoughts of our virtual heroes.

Noah (Dir. Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman)

Told completely on a teen’s computer screen, Noah finds out the difference between a like and a love.

A Date With An Enfield (Dir. Adam Butcher) 

A short, personal animation exploring nostalgia and place in the digital age. Every frame of the film has been hand drawn, creating a space where love, myth and Google Maps can intertwine.

Guy 101 (Dir. Ian W. Gouldstone)guy101
A man hears a story about a hitchhiker from the other side of the internet.




The Science of Laughter + Panel Discussion

28 April 2016, Barbican Cinema 3, 8.30pm. Tickets: here. In partnership with LOCO London Comedy Film Festival.

This short film programme and panel discussion assembles a range of voices from the fields of film, neuroscience, psychology and comedy to discuss the nature of laughter.

A screening of comedy shorts is followed by a discussion investigating comedy’s therapeutic and social functions and its physiological effects.


Prof Sophie Scott is a neuroscientist, comedian and Wellcome Trust senior fellow at University College London, researching the neuroscience of voices, speech, and laughter.

Dr. Caspar Addyman is a lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London and a specialist in baby laughter.  He is also the author of Help Yourself, a novel about a failed stand up comedian.

Jamie Wood is an acclaimed performer combining fine art, theatre, clown and dance. He also works as a Clown Doctor with Theodora Children’s Trust, visiting sick children in hospitals throughout the UK.

Nicola Hill is the general manager for the MediCinemas at Guys and St.Thomas’ hospitals in London. MediCinemas offer patients a cinema experience whilst accommodating wheelchairs and hospital beds and providing medical supervision during screenings.

Panel hosted by interviewer, presenter and occasional stand-up comedian Rachael Castell.


Friend Request Pending (12 mins, Dir. Chris Foggin, Wr: Chris Croucher)

FRP1A short comedy drama about the mature generation dating in our modern social networking world. It’s a tale of love but more importantly life-long friendship

Croissant (2 mins, Dir. Louis Hudson, Wr. Ian Ravenscroft, Louis Hudson)


Don’t you just hate it when you get food on your face and your entire concept of reality crumbles?

Coalition Fan Girls (3 mins, Wr. & Dir. Charlie Dinkin)    

4587-original-fitandcrop-800x500One Direction, Justin Bieber and…David Cameron??? A startling glimpse into the hidden lives of some of Britain’s most dedicated, driven and obsessive teenage fans. This time: it’s political.

Ducks with Engines (1 min, Wr. & Dir. Big Red Button)

Does what it says in the title. Ducks. With engines. Any questions?

Mr Madila (4 mins, Wr. & Dir. Rory Waudby-Tolley)

523833487_1280x720Mr Madila or The Colour of Nothing documents a series of conversations between the film-maker and a gifted spiritual healer, exploring the inner mind, the fabric of the universe, and the nature of reality itself, through the sacred art of animation. Oooooooh

Let’s Play Nomad X (3 mins, Wr. & Dir. Kristian Andrews)

04During a ‘Let’s Play’ review of his favourite ’90’s computer game, a man tells a story of heartbreak .


The Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (2 mins,Wr. & Dir. Georges Méliès)


An extremely lean man and an extremely fat man are engaged in a wrestling match in this 1900 classic by filmmaking pioneer Georges Méliès.

Kitty, Kitty Romford (3 mins, Dir. Chris & Ben Blaine, Wr. Cariad Lloyd)

maxresdefaultKitty, Kitty Romford is having a tough day, she’s just an ordinary dame, but her boss won’t get off her back and she’s inner monologuing out loud again…

Milk (10 mins, Dir. Ben Mallaby, Wr. Toby Williams, Paul F Taylor)

Timothy and Raymond have run out of milk.


Presented with support from a Wellcome Trust People Award.






Conspiracy in Context: The Parallax View

Tuesday February 23rd,  5:45 PM
CAA Glasgow, 350 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JD 
Tickets available here

A screening of ’70s masterpiece The Parallax View and discussion with experts in conspiracy theory psychology and cinema.

The Parallax View (Dir. Alan J Pakula, 1h38m, Cert 15)

Newspaper reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) begins investigating the assassination of a presidential candidate from several years ago, and is drawn into a dangerous world of conspiracy and cover-up. Going undercover and assuming a new identity, he finds himself at the centre of a new and terrifying plot.

The screening of this ’70s paranoia classic will include a panel discussion on some of the themes in the film and its social, political and creative context.

Speakers include Prof. Karen Douglas, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kent, who studies the psychology of conspiracy theories and the social consequences of conspiracism as well as Dr David Archibald, Senior Lecturer in Theatre, Film and Television Studies at University of Glasgow.

Supported by a Wellcome Trust  People Award.



Inside Out

Rich Pickings is pleased to announce Inside Out – a new series of science and film events set to take place throughout 2016. Supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award, these events will bring filmmakers together with scientific researchers in evenings of film and discussion exploring elements of the human experience.

Partnering with innovative film festivals across the UK, Rich Pickings will showcase new, classic and archive short and feature film. Each event will tackle one compelling theme relating to the human experience and explore it in discussion with academic experts, artists and filmmakers. Events will be documented and shared through the Electric Sheep film website. Event themes include near death experiences, compassion and the science of laughter.

Events include collaborations with London Short Film Festival, LOCO London Comedy Film Festival and Glasgow Film Festival among others. Filmmakers will have the opportunity to submit short films and moving image artwork for inclusion in events. Full event details and calls for entry will be announced on this site.



In this short event at Encounters Film Festival, PhD candidate  Stephen Hinde and Iain Gilchrist from University of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology asked what the eyes can tell us about the way in which we watch and understand films.

Hinde began by outlining a short history of the field of psychocinematics, beginning with Munsterberg’s 1916 writing on ‘The Photoplay’ and moving through Eisenstein’s work in the 1940s towards theorising eye movements in film viewers. He discussed Hochberg & Brooks work in the 1970s on the Perception of Films and more recent work on film cognition, edit blindness and immersion.

Using a range of static and moving image examples, Hinde then demonstrated how our eyes interpret images and editing and how we build our understanding of story through this. He showed that our eyes do not necessarily work in the way we intuitively believe them to – we are largely unaware of where we are looking and what we see, as our focus is on the overall perception that we build from looking at a variety of points often in quick succession. With examples, he showed that when we are staring at one point, everything around it becomes visually indecipherable – a fact we forget in the day to day act of looking. In addition to this, Hinde Screenshot 2016-06-13 14.04.59showed how ‘saccadic suppression’ allows the brain to block visuals that are received during eye movements, only processing visual information received when the eye is settled and ‘looking’ at something.

Hinde also used the example of Joe Magee’s short film Modifried, screened as part of Encounters’ Depict! Award 2014, to demonstrate with eye-tracking software how the eye moves across the screen when watching a film. Magee, also speaking at the event, discussed how he as a filmmaker considers an audience’s visual and cognitive interaction with a film when storyboarding, shooting and editing.

The full film with audio can be viewed on the Depict! website, and below it can be seen in silent with eye-tracking data overlaid to show the way in which the eye is drawn to different areas of the screen throughout the film.

MODIFRIED with eye-tracking data overlaid 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hinde showed that as viewers our eyes are drawn to images of people, primarily to their faces and specifically their eyes. We are also drawn to follow movement – a fact that all film editors must instinctively know.

Screenshot 2016-06-13 11.56.34Screenshot 2016-06-13 11.56.44


Screenshot 2016-06-13 11.56.14Screenshot 2016-06-13 11.56.20







Hinde discussed how the quality of a viewer’s immersion could be measured, including the measurement of ‘presence’.  A high level of presence would mean that perceivers feel that they are “in the situation” depicted on screen, while low presence indicates a feeling of merely observing the events unfolding on screen. However, presence can be difficult to measure scientifically. It is usually measured in a questionnaire after the viewing experience, which means that it can be difficult to get reliable and detailed data. Another approach is to ask participants to provide a series of marks throughout the viewing experience to indicate their varying levels of presence throughout.

Hinde’s presentation was followed by a Q&A, where he was joined by Prof Gilchrist and Joe Magee, who brought their perspectives on the subject.

Stephen Hinde is a Film and vision psychologist with a polymath background in physics and computer science. Academic qualifications include:  a  BSc. in psychology from the University of Bristol, an MA in Buddhist Studies from the University of Bristol, and a BSc in Physics from University of Sheffield. Industry experience in USA, France and UK in  high performance Cloud computing sytems for media processing  as a researcher at Hewlett-Packard Research Labs, and Operating System design at IBM. Hinde has worked for Bristol-based film and media companies such as Watershed, Aardman Animation and South-West Screen. He also worked as a Research Collaborator in the School of Experimental Psychology with Professor Tom Troscianko at Bristol University before enrolling in the same school to undertake a doctoral course.

Further reading:

  • The Photoplay: A Psychological Study (1916) by Hugo Munsterberg. Freely available as an e-book on The Project Gutenberg.




Rewiring the Body

Ahead or our Rewiring The Body event at Open City Docs Fest, here are a few bits of reading and watching which might be of interest. More to be added over the next few weeks.


1. Practical Transhumanism: 5 Living Cyborgs:


2. All the Ways Nanotech Could Fix Our Bodies:


3. Explore a wealth of beautiful rendered and imaginative explorations of the body’s interaction with technology through Lucy Mcrae’s work:


3. ‘Invasion of the Body Hackers’, Financial Times Article on


4. Listen to this talk by artist and designer Daisy Ginsberg on ‘Synthetic Aesthetics’

Daisy Ginsberg: Synthetic aesthetics from PopTech on Vimeo.


Cork Film Festival has launched its very first video on demand initiative in partnership with VODO, with seven shorts and seven features being retailed on a pay what you want basis, alongside bonus content. The package includes films screened as part of Rich Pickings’ events at the festival as well as Devil In The Room, as short film produced by Rich Pickings.

The initiative has three tiers: Pay What you Want (four shorts including Devil In The Room as well as one feature); Beat the Average (three features and three shorts); and Beat the Premium (including Tony Palmer’s recently reissued 1974 Leonard Cohen doc Bird on a Wire, and John Kastner’s prize winner mental health sensational doc Not Criminally Responsible, screened as part of Rich Pickings’ Battle for The Brain event in November).

Not Criminally Responsible

“We’ve been working with Jamie King and the team at VODO since straight after the Fest last year”, said James Mullighan, Creative Director of Cork Film Festival.  The bundle went live on Wednesday 14 May, and runs until Tuesday 3 June. Find it at:


Agatha Haines

Artist and designer Agatha Haines will be joining our ‘Rewiring The Body’ event at Cork Film Festival to present and discuss her work which explores possible futures of organ design and body modification. Haines graduated in 2013 from the Design Interactions program at the Royal College of Art. She made a splash with her graduation show which featured beautifully rendered sculptures of bioprinted organs and surgically enhanced babies


Clip from ‘Circumventive Organs’ from Agi Haines on Vimeo.

The main focus of Agatha’s work is the design of the human body and the question of how people might people respond to the possibilities of our body as an everyday material. She asks how far can we push our malleable bodies while still being accepted by society, and the role of designers in encouraging society to accept modifications and augmentations. Her presentation will follow a short film programme combining documentary, sci-fi and experimental takes on the theme of technology and the body.

Tremomucosa Expulsum – an organ that uses rattlesnake muscles to release mucus from the respiratory system of a person who suffers from cystic fibrosis and dispel it through the stomach.
Electrostabilis Cardium – a defibrillating organ using parts from an electric eel that can discharge an electric current to the heart when it recognises it going into fibrillation (a heart attack).
Transfiguration: Thermal Epidermiplasty – Extending the skin on the scalp increases the surface area for faster heat dissipation.
Transfiguration: Extension Osteogenesis – to achieve the more rounded face shape of an aerodynamic child, pins will be surgically implanted into the nasal bridge along with a cranial support brace.





Upcoming in Ireland

Rich Pickings have curated three events for the 58th Cork Film Festival in November. Covering themes as diverse as mental health and the law, technology and the body and political activism, these events combine short film, feature film and discussion to explore essential areas of science and society.

You can read an overview here and we’ll be updating it with more information over the next two weeks. The feature films we are screening include John Kastner’s powerful documentary Not Criminally Responsible, which tells the story of a psychotic man who commits a terrible crime, his rehabilitation and ultimately his return to the community. Meanwhile 99%, a collaboratively made film from the Occupy Wall Street collective, gives an inside view of the processes and issues behind one of the most exciting and powerful political movements that America has seen this century.

We’ll also be screening some brilliant short animations, dramas and documentaries looking at subjects from PTSD to cyborgs and from 3D printed prosthetics to global food distribution. The Festival looks as if it is going to be a belter so check out the programme and get there if you can!