DAD’S STICK (5', UK, 2012)

Screening: Th, 12 Dec., Studio Cinema, 6:00pm

Focusing on three ambiguous, nearly-unrecognizable pieces of personal memorabilia that belonged to JOHN SMITH’s father, and on the events relating to their history, DAD’S STICK becomes a personal documentary that seeks to revive the past and create a portrait of their former owner. Explanatory subtitles replace the use of dialogue, and in so-doing, turn the vividly-coloured images into postcards from another time. These artefacts become time capsules, testaments of different eras of family history that explore the contradictions of memory, while hinting at the character of JOHN SMITH’S father.

Director: JOHN SMITH

With the support of:


Screenplay: John Smith

Cinematography: Patrick Duval

Editing: John Smith

Sound: John Smith

Producer: John Smith

Production: John Smith Films


World Sales


John Smith



JOHN SMITH is one of the most recognizable figures of the UK avant-garde. His film, video and installation works have been shown in cinemas, art galleries and on television around the world, being awarded major prizes at many international film festivals. He regularly presents his work in person and in recent years it has been profiled through retrospectives at film festivals in Oberhausen, Cork, Tampere, Saint Petersburg, Uppsala, La Rochelle, Mexico City, Glasgow and Bristol. “Rigorous in structure and highly crafted in making, JOHN SMITH’s films extend the logic of language to question the authority of the image and the word. The spectator is a producer as well as a consumer of meaning, bound in to the process but simultaneously distanced from the naturalness of the film dream.” (A.L. Rees)



ARTE Award – Oberhausen International Short Film Festival 2013

Rotterdam International Film Festival 2013

Viennale 2013

Hamburg International Short Film Festival 2013

Melbourne International Film Festival 2013

IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival 2013


“My father always painted his own house. He was also a keen amateur photographer. After my mother died, he spent a lot of time thinking about the past, looking through many hundreds of family photographs that he had taken over the course of his life. A few months before he died, he showed me a wooden stick that he used to stir his paint when he decorated the house. He had cut the end off with a saw, revealing the concentric rings of paint that had accumulated over the years. It seemed as though he had exhausted the possibilities of his photographs and wanted to find a new way of looking back on his life. I found myself looking back on my own life too – when I looked closely at all the layers of paint I started to recognise the colours of my childhood. I saw the greyish green of our 1950s kitchen cupboards and the bright orange that covered our walls in the 1960s. I realised that this paint encrusted sliver of wood, less than three centimetres in diameter, was a record of over fifty years of a family’s history. DAD’S STICK is an economical film – I have deliberately made a work that is very short and kept the images, words and sounds to a minimum. But I hope that is not a simple film, and that the viewer’s imagination will be encouraged to fill in the spaces I have left - and construct a whole that is a lot bigger than the sum of the film’s parts.” (JOHN SMITH)

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