The 2015 Tithe Grant has been awarded to the artist Martin Sexton – our congratulations!

The Award was judged by the film director Sir Alan Parker who remarked on how hard it was to assess the 4-second films ‘with such an odd, enigmatic, brief time segment– the mere blinking of an eye’.

A segue of the entries can be viewed here (about 7 minutes in duration). The winning entry is No 52.

Martin Sexton’s 4 second film appears on the surface as utterly contemporary with its CCTV footage of the last day of Lady Diana exiting the revolving doors at the Ritz Hotel in Paris – along with its reference to the embedded advertising of the Youtube and android device generation that gives the work its complete title:

‘No turning back (You can skip this advertisement in 5 seconds)’

It was however at the same time for the writer and film-maker a traditional use of story board in cinema, by using the even more antique process of him first painting the scenes and then animating and re-processing – it was as much he says a confirmation that 4 seconds can be a very long time as well as an attempt at an experiment in painting as much as an exploration of film. Martin Sexton further described his work as, “a collapsed narrative of a very modern tragedy of celebrity, of instant gratification – a sleepless hunger whilst surfing the web, in its labyrinth of commodity, nostalgia, icons and death – the CCTV along with the revolving door at the Ritz became for me a mirror for the revolving eye that is the very age of the Internet.”

Sexton produces powerful and controversial art. He works at the interface of ancient history, metaphysics, the psychosocial aspects of ufology & the politics of aesthetics — all countered with an overpowering poetic vision that has echoes of the wilful extremism of rock n’ roll.

He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, including Tate Britain, Hydra Museum, Benaki Museum Athens, the Wolfsonian Miami as well as a current solo show with the Gervasuti Foundation at the 2015 Venice Biennale. He considers all of his practice to be writing and poetry even though it occurs in a multiple of mediums including: ice, fire, meteorites, sound, writing, film and performance.

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Each year the Blake Society gives ten per cent of its income to an individual in the form of a grant to create a work of vision. For 2015 the value of the Grant will be £446.
This year the award will be given for the best 4 second film, with the theme of ‘Visions’. The Judge is filmwriter, producer and director Sir Alan Parker, whose feature films have won nineteen BAFTA awards, ten Golden Globes, and ten Oscars. He was founding chairman of the UK Film Council, and prior to that chairman of the BFI. His films include Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Pink Floyd The Wall.

4-Second Films

Inspired by Blake’s innovative and radical use of the available media of his day, we are seeking a short film whose content relates to the theme ‘Visions’. Four seconds is quite enough. Blake succeeded in expressing his own boundless visionary imagination via single copper plates on which he etched and printed his kaleidoscopic ‘illuminated books’. In his unique philosophy as in his work process, it is the limited or finite which bears witness to the infinite.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

The winning entry will be announced on the evening of Thursday 29th October 2015, when we will be hosting the award ceremony at Waterstone’s bookshop on Piccadilly, London. We hope to project many of the films that are entered to show the range and diversity of the entries.
The competition is free to enter, open to all and the deadline for entry is midnight on 30 September 2015.

Full details of the 2015 Tithe Grant are below including the Rules, How To Apply and FAQs

Good luck!


Entry is free and open to everyone.
Anyone involved in the judging process cannot be awarded the Tithe Grant.
Blake’s works reflect his own character and time. We invite your 4 second film to do the same.
Entries could be inspired by William Blake or other artists, but should try to escape being derivative of them – Be Unbound!
Applicants may submit as many 4 second films as they wish.
Entries should be made via Twitter.
4 second films can be with or without sound – and there is no restriction on the content of the films.
Entries must be previously unpublished anywhere online.
Entrants must own the copyright of the 4-second films submitted.
The copyright of the film remains with the entrant.
By submitting a 4-second film you agree that in the event you are shortlisted as a finalist, the film may be shared or published by the Blake Society in any material pertaining to the Tithe Grant including its projection at the Award Ceremony.
The Decision of the Judge is final and no correspondence shall be entered into concerning the Award or the process of judging.
The value of the 2015 Award will be one tenth of the Blake Society’s Subscription Income in 2014, namely £446.
The deadline for submission of entries is 23:59 (GMT) on 30 September 2015. Late entries will not be accepted.
Applicants must follow the Blake Society twitter account @blake_society for the duration of the contest.

How To Apply

You may upload your film onto any suitable platform and then enter the link into our competition through Twitter. Please mount your 4-second film onto a publicly accessible platform (such as YouTube, Instagram, or Vimeo) and then tweet the link from your twitter account. Please test to make sure your film can be viewed via the submitted tweet.

Please submit entries to using the hashtag #tithe4secfilm. You do not need to mention “@blakesociety” in your tweet — instead, use the hashtag.
Entrants are asked to follow the Blake Society Twitter Account for the duration of the competition so that we can contact you if you should win.


1. What is a 4-second film?
The proliferation of smartphones and other filming technologies has substantially democratised the art of filmmaking. We invite the submission of one or more films, using the allowed technologies (see below), with an upper limit of 4 seconds. There is no lower limit – a 1-second film is also fine. There are many artists and laypeople creating extraordinary short films of this kind. Have a look at what people are creating. The world wide web (i.e. the internet) is a good source to begin.
2. What does the theme ‘Visions’ mean?
You are free to interpret the theme in whichever way you like. Film is in itself a form of vision; it comes in primarily through the eye. It is always – whether it is a documentary, news item or Japanese anime – a work of the imagination. The word ‘vision’ is recurrent in Blake (“Now I fourfold vision see. And a fourfold vision is given to me…”), and his works would be a good place to seek inspiration. But – what we are seeking is originality, not faithful derivation from other artists. You are free to interpret the theme in whichever way you like.
3. Does my entry have to be ‘Blakean’?
No. Blake’s own works are good because they express his own personality and age, but you are not Blake and we live in another era. Entries should above all be original to you.
4. Can I submit more than one entry?
Yes, you can submit as many entries as you wish.
5. Can I submit a film that has been published?
No, entries must be previously unpublished.
6. Can I submit a 4-second piece taken from a film that I have previously made?
If that film is unpublished, yes you can. However we advise that the best works of art, no matter how small or short, are whole in themselves.
7. Can I include an explanation of what my film ‘means’ in my entry?
No, a good film needs no explanation
8. Can I email you my entry, or send it by Facebook or VHS in the post?
No, entries must be made via Twitter, with links to an accessible platform.
9. Surely Blake would have been against the modern technologies of today such as smartphones?
Not so: Blake used all the technologies that were available to him, and he even innovated within these technologies – he was the inventor of a process known as relief etching, which he called Illuminated Printing.
10. Do I have to be a member of the Blake Society to win the competition?
11. Would Blake have ever submitted his work into a competition organised by an institution and judged by a knight of the realm?
Though Blake was radically anti-Establishment, fundamentally his only concern was with true art and true religion, which to him were identical (“Jesus & his apostles & disciples were all artists”). But enough of Blake, this competition is for you.
12. Can I enter a collection of 4 second films?
The Tithe Grant will be awarded to a single film, but you may enter as many individual films as you wish.
13. Is there a fee to enter the competition?
14. Why do I have to include the hashtag #tithe4secfilm in the tweet containing the link to my film?
This hashtag allows us to gather all the films together for judging and to enable everyone to see and enjoy them. More information and guidance on the use of hashtags can be found at
15. Will my film open the doors of perception into the infinite?
This is what we are hoping.

If you have any questions, then please write to