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Hotel Diaries Opened

A new feature-length film by award-winning artist, filmmaker and University of East London (UEL) lecturer Professor John Smith received its London premiere at the Birkbeck Cinema in Euston recently.
Hotel Diaries is a politically engaged, perfectly observed and often very funny series of video recordings made in hotel rooms across the world over a period of six years.
Each recording relates John’s personal experiences and reflections to current conflicts in the Middle East.
John said: "Hotel Diaries is an attempt to link my own small adventures to major world events.
"It all began when I was staying in a hotel during the Cork Film Festival in 2001. 9/11 had happened only four weeks before, and the UK and America had just begun bombing in Afghanistan.
"One night, I came back to the hotel late, turned on the TV and discovered that the picture on BBC News 24 had frozen on a slightly sinister image of a man being interviewed.
"The clock in the corner of the screen had stopped at 1.41 a.m. The picture triggered paranoid fantasies in my mind that something had happened in London – maybe the BBC transmitters had been bombed!
"I quickly contrasted my paranoia with the real knowledge that, in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, atrocious events were actually taking place at that moment in time. I turned on my camera, aimed at the screen and started talking about my contradictory thoughts.
"Over the next six years, I filmed seven more short recordings in hotel rooms in different countries, each triggered by random events and discoveries. When I showed them together as a group, I found that the pieces contextualised each other very well, building a picture of how personal and political narratives can collide and overlap.”
John Smith has made more than 40 film, video and installation works since 1972. Works in the Hotel Diaries series (which, until completion of the final instalment, were screened as individual short films) have been awarded prizes including Best International Short Film at the Cork International Film Festival (2005), the Grand Prix at the Split Festival of New Film (2007) and the Grand Prix (ex aequo) at the Lucca Film Festival (2007).
Hotel Diaries has already been shown at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and will feature as part of Watershed Media Centre’s May ’68 - When Culture Was Radicalised season in Bristol.
The film will now go on tour to selected venues across the UK.
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