Miranda Pennell originally trained in contemporary dance before making films, and later studied visual anthropology. Her film and video work exploring different forms of collective performance whether dancers, soldiers or fight directors, has been widely broadcast internationally and shown in festival and gallery contexts. Her recent moving-image work uses archival materials as the starting point for a reflection on the colonial imaginary. Her film Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (2010) examines British image-making in the Afghan borderlands at the turn of the 20th century. It was awarded best international film at the 2011 Images Festival, Toronto, and Courtisane Festival, Ghent. Pennell’s feature-length film The Host (2015), which reworks material drawn from the archive of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP), won the Punto de Vista Award for Best Film in 2017.
Selected screenings of Pennell’s work include ‘Co-op Dialogues 1976-2016: Lis Rhodes & Miranda Pennell’ and ‘Assembly: survey of recent artists’ film and video in Britain 2008–2013’at Tate Britain (2016 and 2015 respectively), ‘Autobiography and the Archive’ at the Zhika auditorium at Whitechapel Gallery (2015), ‘Colonial Spectres’ Museum of Modern Art Vienna (2012), and group exhibitions ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ at Mead Gallery (2013) and ‘Europe – The Future of History’ at Kunsthaus Zurich (2015). Retrospective programs of her work include those at Glasgow Short Film Festival (2011), Oberhausen Short Film Festival (2006), Vienna International Shorts (2011), Tampere Short Film Festival (2009). She is based in London and her work is distributed by LUX.