We are proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Rich Pickings for their new series of science and film events, Inside Out, which brings together filmmakers and scientists to explore various aspects of the human experience. Each event will be announced and documented on the Electric Sheep website. The first event in the series, Life After Life, was presented as part of this year’s London Short Film Festival. Below is Rich Pickings’ report of the event.
View a list of all events in this series here.
Life after Life was a short film and discussion event presented by Rich Pickings at London Short Film Festival 2016 on 16 January 2016 at the ICA.
The event examined the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and how they can affect people’s lives. The programme featured a programme of short poetic films about life, death and what may or may not lie beyond. This was a jumping off point into a discussion with two guests with very different approaches to the subject.
Christopher French is Professor of Psychology and Co-coordinator of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Chris presented some of the scientific research that has been done around NDEs, looking at recurring patterns in people’s accounts and biological explanations for the experiences people report. French particularly focused on the out-of-body elements of the NDE, as this is one of the more measurable and replicable components common to the experience.
Raymond O’Brien experienced a NDE during a cardiac arrest five years ago, an incident that profoundly affected him. In the years since, Raymond has experienced huge highs and huge lows, and the emotional journey he has taken since his NDE mean that his experience has become a core part of his identity and his understanding of the world. O’Brien was generous enough to share his experience and interpretation of it with us, offering a unique insight into both his experience of an NDE and life following it.
The short films were a diverse mix of live action, animation, documentary and experimental moving image. They explored one man’s desire to confront the wilderness and conquer a mountain, and another’s powerful connection with the giant redwoods of California following a brush with death. Real life and fictional accounts of NDEs painted a vivid picture of the fear, regret, acceptance, love and transcendence that a person may experience in the moment of their death.
One theme that emerged strongly throughout the event was the human drive to hold onto life. Whether an NDE has a traumatic or positive effect on an individual’s identity, it seems that the impact is universally life-altering. The encounters with death that were presented were visceral and affecting, and while elements of the experience were repeated, each at its core was utterly unique.
Watch an edited video of the discussion with Christopher French and Raymond O’Brien:
Watch some of the films that played at the event:
Supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award.
Check the Rich Pickings website for future events.