Tag Archives: Crossing Over: the Art of Jeremy Down

Life After Life – event round up

Life after Life was a short film and discussion event presented by Rich Pickings at London Short Film Festival 2016. The event examined the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and how they can affect people’s lives. It featured a programme of short poetic films about life, death and what may or may not lie beyond. These films were a jumping off point for a discussion with two guests with very different approaches to the subject.

Christopher French is Professor of Psychology and Co-coordinator of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. French presented scientific research around NDEs, looking at recurring patterns in people’s accounts and biological explanations for the experiences people report. He particularly focused on the out-of-body elements of the NDE, as this is one of the more measurable and replicable components common to the experience.

Raymond O’Brien experienced a NDE during a cardiac arrest five years ago, an incident that profoundly affected him. Since this time he has experienced huge highs and lows, and the experience has become a core part of his identity and his understanding of the world. O’Brien was generous enough to share his experience and interpretation of it with us, offering a unique insight into the subjective reality of an NDE and life following it.

Watch an edited video of the discussion with Christopher French and Raymond O’Brien:

The programme of short films included animation, documentary and experimental moving image. Real life and fictional accounts of NDEs painted a vivid picture of the fear, regret, acceptance, love and transcendence that a person may experience in the moment of their death. Some of the films which played at the event can be viewed below.

In Crossing Over: The Art of Jeremy Down, an artist takes us on a visceral journey through his brush with death, an unforgettable narrative set against an astonishing landscape.

Annlin Chao’s Phantom on the Cliff is an animated account of a mountaineer struggling to come to terms with the mental and physical scars he is left with following a climbing accident.

In Impact, A Boxer’s Story, a boxer who was almost killed in a car accident describes how his experience and faith gave him the strength to not only recover but to excel as a fighter.

Out of Body, by visual artist Susan Aldsworth, uses recurring themes in recorded accounts of NDEs to paint a vivid picture of what the experience can feel like.

Coda, by Alan Holly, is a captivating, poetic animated tale of a man who confronts death – bargaining and resisting its grip before finally releasing himself into its care.

Danny Agama’s Mother and Void is a compelling artist film in which trees shot from a train window come to resemble blood capillaries as the filmmaker reflects on a childhood near death experience and on the nature of life and death.

Moving The Giants, by The Story Group, is an uplifting documentary following a man who, following a near-fatal illness, finds a strong purpose in his life – to save and replant the mighty Redwoods of California.

Life after Life

Rich Pickings presents: Life after Life

January 16th 2016, 5pm, Institute of Contemporary Arts. In partnership with London Short Film Festival. Book here.

“I was sat with my legs through railings on a bridge that hung 30ft above a stream, when the coach smashed into me and crushed me through the bars like play-doh. The pain should have been immense, but I wasn’t in my body, I wasn’t the one laying on a ledge, bleeding, precariously rolling ever so slowly toward my death – I was on the other side of the road watching it unfold. Watching people run, shout, scream and drag me to safety. Then I was there…”

Life after Life is an event about near death experiences and how they affect people’s lives. We’ll explore the experiences of those who have been on – and beyond – the edge of death and lived to tell the tale.

The event will include a programme of short poetic films about life, death and what may or may not lie beyond, as well discussion with speakers including Christopher French, Professor of Psychology and Co-ordinator of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London and Raymond O’Brien, whose experience of an NDE during a cardiac arrest profoundly affected him.


Impact_2Impact, a Boxer’s Story 

Dir. Keith Rivers, 2015, 05:23

A tragic incident stalled Malagamali’l D’hue’s career in boxing. Impact follows the story of his fight to persevere and demonstrates that strength we can find in our idols.

unnamed-1Crossing Over: the Art of Jeremy Down 

Dir. Mike Bernard, 2012, 12:06

Jeremy Down is an artist who derives his inspiration from the mountains and lakes around his home. A narrow escape from drowning while out painting in his canoe induced a near-death experience that would change his approach to painting as well as living.


The Phantom on The Cliff

Dir. Annlin Chao, 2014, 08:58

A rock climber struggles with the memory of an incident in his past, in this stop-motion story about loss, gain and hope.

unnamedMoving The Giants 

Dir. Michael Ramsey, 2015, 10:46

Produced by The Story Group and Spoken Image, Moving the Giants follows David Milarch as he clones some of the world’s most ancient and largest living things – California’s coastal redwoods – and replants them in Oregon. Milarch, an arborist from Michigan, had a near-death experience that launched a radical restructuring of his life with a goal to harness trees’ incredible life force to generate healing and change.

Out of Body 10, Susan Aldworth

Out of Body 

Dir. Susan Aldsworth, 2008, 03:23

A short film about a near death experience directed by Susan Aldworth, editing and sound by Barney Quinton. In this film she uses a series of monoprints based on the visual imagery of brain scans to document bursts of activity in the brain. The piece revolves around the uncanny parallels found in the personal testimonies of those who have experienced ‘near-death’. Aldworth is an artist whose recent work focuses on the brain and human consciousness.


Dir. Alan Holly, 2013, 09:00

A lost soul stumbles drunken through the city. In a park, Death finds him and shows him many things.

Mother & Void

Dir. Danny Agama , 2015, 02:20

mother and voidThis visual and audio landscape piece echoes a child’s near death experience while presenting the scenery and capillaries of Michigan during winter.

Supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award. 

Featured image and Out of Body image: Courtesy of Susan Aldworth and GV Art gallery, London. 2008.