NOWNESS Shorts: Radiator “This film is the result of the stories I recorded while traveling around rural Ireland where opiate addictions are tearing families apart,” says Portia A Buckley, the director behind this hauntingly brilliant portrayal of two addicts looking to finance their next hit. Radiator explores drug abuse from the perspective of a young working-class man living with his grandmother while struggling to get off prescription methadone. Filmed near Cork, Ireland, Buckley’s sensitively directed piece explores the young man’s relationship with a wayward friend who leads him on a path to self-destruction and isolation. “As a filmmaker I’m interested in blurring the line between documentary and fiction as a way of highlighting contemporary socio-economic issues,” says the director
The Prophet Like a frenzied end-of-days preacher trying to save the lungs—if not the souls—of the commuters he meets, a lone Czech man has made it his mission to warn people about Prague’s polluted metro system. Czech filmmaker Jaroslav Moravec directs this satirical allegory on how sensationalist data can sow the seeds of paranoia in the population. “Post-truth seemed like a distant Orwellian term when I first heard it,” says Moravec, who was partly inspired by the Soviet rule of Czechoslovakia during the 70s and 80s. “Nowadays hidden corners of the internet skew facts, science and ideology.” Growing up in the suburbs of Prague, Moravec has always been fascinated by the lines that separate the real from the abstract, giving his work a distinctive look
New Foundation On most nights of the week you can spot charismatic Guinean musician Falle Nioke writing or performing on the harbor in the English seaside town of Margate. Engaging with the community has always been at the heart of his work, having learnt to sing in Susu, Fulani, Koniag, Bambara, Malinke, English and French—languages that unite the coasts of West Africa to Western Europe
Photographers in Focus: Aïda Muluneh Set in East Africa’s Afar region, in the Danakil Depression—where temperatures regularly soar to 120°F—Addis Ababa-based photographer Aïda Muluneh explores issues around access to water in a new body of work commissioned by international NGO WaterAid. Each of the images in Water Life features a strong female protagonist, highly saturated colors, and symbolic gestures signalling the daily hardships women endure across the globe to collect water for their families. “When you look at climate change, scarcity of land, and overpopulation, there are many issues that lead back to water,” says the photographer. “I didn’t realise how deep it went—all the way to education and how this impacts young girls, who often have to collect water rather than go to school. I wanted to use my artwork for a sense of purpose.” London-based director Adeyemi Michael captured this lyrical portrait of Muluneh at work and provides an elevated behind-the-scenes glance of the photographer’s arresting series. “Women who know their power are magical,” says Michael.
Define Beauty: Never Look At The Sun Using his trademark assemblage of esoteric costume and visual metaphors, Congolese-Belgian hitmaker and filmmaker Baloji explores the practice of skin lightening in black communities. Euphemistically described as ‘brightening’ or ‘toning’, skin bleaching takes many innocuous forms—such as creams, buffs and soaps—to deal with hyperpigmentation, but is more often used by women to emulate Eurocentric beauty standards
New Ways Swedish choreographer and movement director Benjamin Milan leads this visual ode on the transformative power of dance. “This film is about my journey in the ballroom scene,” says Milan. “This is about how voguing helped me accept myself and find a community that welcomed and understood me for who I am.” As father of the House of Mila in the UK, the dancer highlights the importance for LGBTQ+ groups, people of color and other marginalized communities to not just find a scene, but a home
Universal Machine Shot in the Arabian desert with a haunting backdrop of the Burj Khalifa, Universal Machine is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a gifted young girl must find a way to understand and overcome a violent encounter with a life-like android. New York-based director and artist Daniel Askill enlisted a host of international creative talent for this project
Define Beauty: K-Pop Men For the latest episode of Define Beauty, Seoul-based music video director Dee Shin reached out over FaceTime to members of the biggest K-pop groups around to discover how the entertainment industry is rethinking the aesthetics surrounding traditional masculinity. Commanding over 16 million Instagram followers between them, Suho (Exo), Joohoney (Monsta X), Hyunsik Im (BtoB), Taehyun Nam (South Club) and singer-songwriter Jeong Sewoon discuss both the liberalization and commodification of the male beauty industry. To better understand the career journeys that the icons have taken, the director invited K-pop “trainees” to also feature in this episode. Children as young as 10 sign lengthy entertainment contracts in the hope of becoming the next Suho or Joohoney
Retour Aux Sources French creative team Mouawad Laurier have been commissioned by historic champagne house Ruinart to illustrate the temporality of the Earth, by combining art and artificial intelligence.
Define Beauty: Everybody’s Type With 30-inch hair, razor-sharp nails and a sensational sashay, Swedish make-up artist Daniel Sällström is every bit the perfect blonde bombshell. After collaborating with director Isaac Lock on Fashion Disciples: Black , he returns in this provocative project to celebrate his siren alter ego, Innitbabes. Everybody’s Type challenges the viewer’s understanding of beauty and picks away at the femme/masculine tropes that govern the rules of attraction. “The gender binary is a trap that harms everyone,” says London-based Locke