Between the years of 2013 and 2016, Raven Smith worked as Commissioning Director for Nowness, an online video channel promoting new global arts and culture. Previously employed as an Art Director at MTV, he now helps brands and editorial platforms such as Tate and Mario Testino devise editorial strategies and is a guest lecturer at Central Saint Martins.
Here are his Cult Cuts:
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
There are so many aspects in this doc that shouldn’t work – like the use of animation over found archive audio – but the film is immersive, immediate and emotional. I was completely lost in it on first viewing (and I did a little cry, too). The beautiful handling of day-to-night lighting is exceptional – a flourish that really works to elevate the traditional talking heads documentary format.
Wild Wild Country
A new addition to my favourites list. I would have legit joined the cult and moved to Rajneeshpuram, and I’m still in love with the cult’s second-in-command, Sheela. Everything about this documentary is perfect, except for the absolutely bizarre and illegible font chosen for the titles.
It’s about this group of high school girls who didn’t wash as some kind of vigil to Kurt Cobain. There’s something achingly 1996 about every single scene. Rather than dirt, this film is essentially about the judgemental and hierarchical school social system we’ve all experienced, and that choice you have to make in adolescence between conforming or standing out. I love, too, that we explore the world of high school though the window of dirty women.