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Birkbeck's Derek Jarman Lab premieres new documentary co-directed with Tilda Swinton

The 93-minute feature length film is the Academy Award-winning actress's directorial debut.

A surreal image of a small computer screen with a woman's face on it on top of a wooden table, against a backdrop of blue sky and wispy clouds.

Birkbeck’s Derek Jarman Lab has debuted its latest project, The Hexagonal Hive and a Mouse in a Maze, at Sheffield DocFest. The film is a collaborative effort between the Jarman Lab's manager and film director, Bartek Dziadosz, and Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton. 

The Jarman Lab, inspired by the visionary filmmaker Derek Jarman, is dedicated to using film as a primary mode of intellectual investigation. It serves as a hub for combining practice and research in filmmaking, guided by the academic expertise of its founders. The lab aims to explore and communicate research through the powerful medium of film. 

The Hexagonal Hive and a Mouse in a Maze explores the question, What does it mean to learn? through a series of thought-provoking scenes, that take viewers on a journey across the UK, Bangladesh, West Africa, and North America. It examines the experiences of young people and the evolving role of education in shaping our past, present, and future. 

The film uniquely explores themes of neuroscience, education, and the world of work by creating a moving image collage that engages the senses and challenges conventional narratives.  

Bartek commented: We were thrilled to be invited to the international competition at Sheffiled Doc/Fest and present the film with legendary film editor Walter Murch on stage. It was the right context for the first showing of a film that is both a sci-fi essay featuring AI characters and a serious exploration of a topic that has paramount importance for our survival on Earth.  

The premiere of The Hexagonal Hive and a Mouse in a Maze marks a significant achievement for Birkbeck's research centre, highlighting its role in fostering creative and intellectual exploration through cinema. 

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