Susan Kemp

Susan Kemp

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Biography

Susan Kemp has been immersed in the subject of film throughout her career. She has made films, programmed films, reviewed films and documented the making of films. She has also studied film and visited film festivals around the world. In 2010 she was recruited to University of Edinburgh along with Jane Sillars to design and establish a new Masters programme on Film, Exhibition and Curation. Initially named Film in the Public Space the programme was one of the first university programmes to explore the ciruculation and mediation of the moving image. It offers an integrated approach to theory and applied practice, drawing on Susan's and Jane's working experiences between and across different aspects of producing, programming, studying, researching and teaching moving images.

Susan began her career making short films and working on low budget features. She spent her summers working at the Edinburgh International Film Festival eventually staying on to become the researcher and film programmer where she worked closely with director Mark Cousins and then Lizzie Francke. She was then invited to programme the short film selection for Film Four in its inaugural year and after that was offered a research position on the BBC One series Film 99 with Jonathan Ross, where she was soon promoted to producer.

Susan left the film series to make programmes about film for the newly created BBC Four, including a 30 minute programme on Cannes and a 60 minute documentary on Iranian film maker Samira Makhmalbaf. BBC Four was looking to have a weekly series about world cinema and asked Susan to produce the pilot and then the series.

Latterly she began directing and producing documentaries on a wide range of subjects including an observational documentary series about surgery, a six-part history of Scottish journalism, and a number of one-off single subject docs. In 2007 Susan studied for an MLitt in creative writing at Glasgow University. She took voluntary redundancy from the BBC in 2008 and completed her masters in September. She was awarded a distinction and was also short-listed for the Sceptre Prize in March, 2009. 

More recently Susan has made two documentaries with and about the work of research colleagues within the University: 'Nort Atlantik Drift: A Portrait of Robert Alan Jamieson' (https://nortatlantikdrift.com/) and 'Writing Ensemble: An Experiment in Theatre' which follows the process of translating the research of Professor Laura Bradley on censorship in East German Theatre into a new play by leading Scottish Playwright, Peter Arnott (http://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/whos-watching-who/). 

In 2015/16 Susan researched and directed a feature length documentary on the late film director Antonia Bird which screened on BBC Four in May 2016 and launched a retrospective at the BFI Southbank (https://antoniabirddirector.com/), then Edinburgh Filmhouse and Manchester Home.

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