A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Work in Progress)

Year2013 DirectorBen Rivers, Ben Russell

Camera: Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
Steadycam: Chris Fawcett
Sound: Chu Li Shewring, Philippe Ciompi
Sound editing: Nicolas Becker, Philippe Ciompi
Sound mixing : Gérard Lamps
Main Character: Robert A.A. Lowe
Production: Julie Gayet & Nadia Turincev ROUGE INTERNATIONAL (France), Indrek Kasela BLACK HAND (Estonia)


A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS follows a single character at three disparate moments in his life: alone in the wilderness of Northern Finland, as one member of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island, and as the singer of a neo-pagan black metal band in Norway. Taken as a whole, these three moments signal a radical proposition for the creation of utopia in the present.

Starring musician Robert AA Lowe (LICHENS, OM) and co-directed by artists Ben Rivers (UK) and Ben Russell (USA), A SPELL lies somewhere between fiction and non-fiction - it is at once a record of experience and an experience unto itself, an inquiry into transcendence that envisions the cinema as a site for profound transformation.


Ben Rivers, Ben Russell


Ben Russell (USA, 1976)

Ben Russell (b.1976) is a media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances have been presented in spaces ranging from 14th Century Belgian monasteries to 17th Century East India Trading Co. buildings, police station basements to outdoor punk squats, Japanese cinematheques to Parisian storefronts, and Chicago bathtubs to Viennese boats. He has had solo screenings and exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art. Until 2011 he worked as assistant professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago..His film Let Each One Go Where He May won in 2010 the Punto de Vista Prize for the best film.

Recent Filmography:

  • River Rites (2011)
  • Trypps #7 (Badlands) (2010)
  • Let Each One Go Where He May (2009)
  • Trypps #6 (Malobi) (2008)
  • Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai) (2008)

Ben Rivers (UK, 1972)

Ben Riverswas born in Somerset, UK, in 1972. After studying Art at Falmouth School, he took his first steps in filmmaking in 1999. He now lives and works in London. His films have screened in many international film festivals and received several awards. His most recent prizes are the Fipresci Award, Best Film Orizzonti and International Critics’ Week, 68th Venice Film Festival and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2010.

His latest exhibitions include Phantoms of a Libertine (Kate MacGarry, 2012); Ben Rivers (Hepworth Wakefield, 2011); Sack Barrow (Hayward Project Space, London); Slow Action (Picture This, Bristol 2010 and Matt’s Gallery, London 2011). He also screened at 55th BFI London Film Festival, IndieLisboa and Punto de Vista in 2009. In July and August 2008, he went on a tour in Australia and New Zealand to present the joint exhibition We Can Not Exist in This World Alone with American filmmaker Ben Rusell.

Recent filmography

  • Two Years at Sea (2011)
  • Slow Action (2010)
  • I Know Where I’m Going (2009)
  • May Tomorrow Shine The Brightest Of All Your Many Days As It Will Be Your Last (2009)
Promoted by
Gobierno de Navarra
Organized by
With the aid of
Con la financiación del Gobierno de España. Instituto de la Cinematografía y las Artes Audiovisuales Acción Cultural Española Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea. NexGenerationEU

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