After several fortuitous encounters in London and Santiago de Chile in 2015, Charlotte Skene-Catling and Manuel Toledo-Otaegui came up with the idea to create the first film festival in the UK dedicated to the topics of film and architecture. Just one year later, the Architecture Film Festival London was founded, thanks in part to the support of friends and colleagues.
Since its first edition in 2017, the festival has aimed to achieve its mission of producing a unique festival experience. This includes organizing additional programmes and events in between festivals, extending the discussion throughout the year and influencing conversations around this interdisciplinary topic throughout the film and architecture industries.
Architecture and film unfold at different scales, allowing us to travel through real and virtual worlds. Both mediums originate in our imaginations, before taking shape in the material world. Films are set in cities, landscapes, and buildings in which architecture functions as a visual shorthand, readily conveying crucial details about characters and the plot. The buildings and spaces that we daily inhabit play active roles in our lives that can feel protective, oppressive, hostile or even sublime.
Film can give architects a more profound understanding of how architecture is experienced, providing another perspective for theoretical and built work. Despite these illuminating intersections, however, a festival dedicated to exploring the overlaps between architecture and film had never before been held in the UK.
Architecture + Film
Good architecture, as good filmmaking, responds to the human condition in narrative form. Both encapsulate culture as the experience of space and time.
The Archfilmfest London brings together key positions and preoccupations that straddle the border between architecture and filmmaking. By providing a platform for these disciplines to meet, creating dialogue around form, content, technique and technology, we promote deeper collaboration between innovations in both mediums.
From storytelling motifs to the new frontiers opened up by CGI and virtual reality, to architecture acting as a central character in a film, this festival’s core themes reveal the myriad ways in which film and architecture can captivatingly overlap.
Archfilmfest London founding members
Co-Founder & Advisory Board Director
Charlotte is an architect and director of the architectural practice Skene Catling de la Peña. She uses research as a basis for design, with a particular interest in the borders between architecture and other disciplines. Charlotte has written about architecture in The Burlington, The Sunday Telegraph, The Architectural Review and ARCH+. She collaborated with Malcolm McLaren on film scripts and has made architectural films that have been shown in festivals around the world. She ran a post-graduate architecture unit at the Royal College of Art for five years and taught at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. She is an Ambassador for the London School of Architecture, and is currently completing a research project with the Royal College of Art and the Rothschild Foundation on representation in architecture. Her practice has won numerous awards and has been extensively published internationally. She was shortlisted for the 2016 AR Women in Architecture award, and was named a Debrett’s 500 People of Influence in Architecture & Design in 2016 and ‘17.
Co-Founder & Programme Director
Manuel Toledo is a designer and producer, focused on relations within the arts and creative industries, with more than ten years of experience in developing and producing international collaborative projects. Graduated in 2012 from Design Academy Eindhoven with a project focused on the recovery of public spaces and muralism in Santiago de Chile’s segregated urban areas. He has worked for institutions such as TUDelft in The Netherlands and the Urban-Think Tank in Zurich and Caracas. Manuel’s entrepreneurial perspective regarding his work led him to pursue a master’s degree at the Rotterdam Business School, graduating in August 2020. Manuel’s fascinations focus into topics crossing-over ranging from architecture design, media, art and businesses innovation. These have taken him to develop two film and architecture festivals, in Santiago de Chile since 2012, and in 2017 the Architecture Film Festival in London, also hosting a successful international film competition unique to the UK.
header image: Ilaria Di Carlo, The Divine Way, 2018.