Next Film/Video | Visiting Filmmakers

The Afterlight

(Charlie Shackleton, 2021) 

Charlie Shackleton in person

Columbus Premiere

Black-and-white still of a neon-lit sign that says The Afterlight; it is protruding from a brick wall.

London-based filmmaker Charlie Shackleton visits the Wex with his one-of-a-kind film The Afterlighta found-footage collage that exists as a solitary 35mm print.

There are no digital copies of The Afterlight, so when the print deteriorates past the point of being projectible, the film will cease to exist. The work serves as a meditation on cultural memory and testament to both film’s stability (a properly stored print can last for over a hundred years) and fragility (a print can be damaged each time it is projected). At the same time, the project also offers a canny warning about the false permanency of digital media. Many assume that films available on digital platforms and streaming services will be so indefinitely—but as any Netflix subscriber knows, they can disappear as quickly as a legal agreement expires, or even if a file is corrupted.

As Shackleton notes in a recent Guardian interview, there’s an ephemeral beauty to the physical aspect of film that we shouldn’t forget. “In the case of The Afterlight,” he explains, “the fragile equation at the heart of film culture is laid bare. The scratches and blemishes that accumulate on the print will irrevocably alter the film itself, but they’ll also stand in for something larger: the projection during which they occurred, and the audience there to witness it. In the process, the act of viewership itself will be made material, in an era when it’s usually anything but.” (82 mins., 35mm)

Shackleton is a nonfiction filmmaker whose films have screened at festivals and alternative venues around the world. Stay after the screening for a Q&A with the director!

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"In the case of The Afterlight, at least, the fragile equation at the heart of film culture is laid bare…the act of viewership itself will be made material, in an era when it’s usually anything but."
Charlie Shackleton, Guardian (UK)
Black-and-white still of a neon-lit sign that says The Afterlight; it is protruding from a brick wall.

The Afterlight, image courtesy of the filmmaker.

Black-and-white still of a person, who has short hair and is wearing a white button-down shirt and black pants, sitting on the edge of a bed and looking down.

The Afterlight, image courtesy of the filmmaker.

Black-and-white still of a person wearing a white shirt and black pants; they are standing outside looking towards the rocky hill and field in the background.

The Afterlight, image courtesy of the filmmaker.

Black-and-white still of a person’s face lit up in the dark; they appear to be laying down in bed.

The Afterlight, image courtesy of the filmmaker.

FILM/VIDEO PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Cardinal Health
Kaufman Development

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Rohauer Collection Foundation

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
L Brands Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Mike and Paige Crane
Pete Scantland
Axium Packaging
CampusParc
CoverMyMeds
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
Huntington
Lisa Barton
Johanna DeStefano
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Ron and Ann Pizzuti
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Bruce and Joy Soll
Jones Day

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The Afterlight