Mark Cousins


Mark Cousins is an Irish-Scottish filmmaker, writer and curator. In the early 1990s, he ran the Edinburgh International Film Festival and took it to Sarajevo in defiance of the siege. He co-founded the charity Scottish Kids are Making Movies, focusing on children and creativity. He also co-edited Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary and directed and presented BBC2’s Scene by Scene, screening career interviews with, Martin Scorsese, Jane Russell, Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Roman Polanski, Jeanne Moreau, Woody Allen and Rod Steiger.

Cousins is also an Honorary Professor of Film at the University of Glasgow and Honorary Doctor of Letters at the Universities of Edinburgh and Stirling. He has done a series of experimental film events with Tilda Swinton. His first feature doc, The First Movie, won the Prix Italia. His fourth book was Watching Real People Elsewhere. PJ Harvey called his next feature, What is this Film called Love?, “revelatory and inspiring.”

Then came Here be Dragons, a film essay about Albania, and A Story of Children and Film. Other recent films include Life May Be, co-directed with Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari, and 6 Desires, about DH Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia. Following this, I am Belfast – shot by Christopher Doyle – was compared to Dziga Vertov and won the Stanley Kubrick Award. He then made Your Eyes Flashing Solemnly with Hate, a short about Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Atomic, with the band Mogwai. It played in Hiroshima, Chernobyl, Coventry Cathedral and the Edinburgh and Holland Festivals.

Cousins’ next film, a fiction feature “shame musical”, Stockholm My Love, starring Neneh Cherry and again shot by Doyle, was released in 2017. He directed Bigger than The Shining, a secret film and also, in 2017, his new book, The Story of Looking, was published by Canongate. His newest film is Orson Welles: A Portrait of the Artist. It premiered at the Cannes film festival.