‘London Symphony: A Poetic Journey Through the Life of a City’

Alex Barret - Film Studies

With its focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, its public talks, concerts, art exhibitions, films and other cultural events, SOAS regularly attracts the attention of photographers and filmmakers, drawn to its international campus, in the heart of one of the world’s most multicultural cities.

One of the best things about SOAS – students and alumni often say – is meeting people from around the world.

In October 2014, Alex Barrett, award-winning, independent filmmaker, beat a path to SOAS’s door. He was planning to crowdfund a black-and-white film, in the tradition of the silent movies, which would capture the cultural diversity of London. Although both Berlin and Paris had been celebrated in silent films, surprisingly, not London.

For more than a year, Alex Barrett and his team of filmmakers roamed the length and breadth of the capital, capturing material. In March 2015, he and a colleague spent one day at SOAS, filming footage in the Library, Brunei Gallery, and the downstairs bar of the Students’ Union (some edited highlights of which have made it into the final cut).

Alex Barrett, SOAS, London Symphony
SOAS Library, photo (c) Alex Barrett
Alex Barret - Film Studies
Thiruvalluvar, SOAS photo (c) Alex Barrett







After three years of work by Alex Barret (director & editor), his team of filmmakers, and James McWilliam, who composed its original score, the film’s premiere has been announced.  London Symphony:  A Poetic Journey Through the Life of a City, ‘an artistic snapshot of the city as it stands today, and a celebration of its culture and diversity’, accompanied by a live orchestra, will be screened on 3 September 2017 at the Barbican, London.

London Symphony has been selected for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it has been nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film.

Find out more:

Interviews with the Director & Editor of London Symphony:

Then (2014)

&  Now (2017)


London Symphony

*SOAS University of London is ranked 6th in the world (54.3%) for the highest percentage of international students (Times Higher Education 2017)

SOAS among world’s top for international students in QS World Rankings

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