Professor Esther Johnson screening ‘Liberation Radio’ at the 65th BFI London Film Festival
Professor Esther Johnson will present her research Liberation Radio at the forthcoming prestigious 65th BFI London Film Festival 2021, screening October 14th at BFI Southbank. The film screens within the Experimenta strand and will also be available to view on BFI Player between 6 to 17 October with an audio-description soundtrack for customers who are blind or partially sighted, and closed captions for customers who are D/deaf or hard of hearing.
The work focuses on the little-known history of the North Vietnam ‘Liberation Radio’ station broadcasting from Hanoi in the 1960s-1970s. In 1968, a group of American military deserters went to the North Vietnamese mission in Stockholm with one object in mind – to join the army they had been drafted to fight. Instead, they were recruited for the propaganda war – and use magnetic tape, pop music and political rhetoric to persuade other American servicemen to desert. Their recordings were transported from Sweden to Vietnam by diplomatic bag, and broadcast from transmitters on the rooftops of Hanoi, and revolutionary bases in the countryside. The work includes contributions from some of the surviving American deserters, Swedish anti-war activists, and Vietnamese journalists of the period. The project has been supported by the FAMLAB (Film, Archives and Music Lab) Fund as part of the British Council’s Heritage of Future Past project in Việt Nam
Esther is currently working on another project in Vietnam titled DUST & METAL, a feature film utilising never-before-seen archive material from the Vietnam Film Institute, and with a live score from electroacoustic/electronic composer and performer Xo Xinh.
Further information on work by Esther can be found via the various links here.
Esther Johnson works at the intersection of artist moving image and documentary. Her poetic portraits focus on marginal worlds, revealing resonant stories that may otherwise remain hidden or ignored. Work has been exhibited internationally in 40 countries, and has also featured on television and radio. In 2012 Johnson won the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Performing and Visual Arts for young scholars. She is a Professor of Film & Media Art at Sheffield Hallam University. Find out more about Esther’s work here.