Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Picturehouse Film Club - May

Last night's WEA Film Club at Clapham Picturehouse was great fun and the films were about as big a set of contrasts as you could imagine.

The feature was Hanna and a post-film discussion ranged over how sympathetic the lead character was, how well it mixed the thriller and fairy-tale elements, the (intentional or otherwise?) trajectory of Joe Wright's career, the publication history of the Grimm's stories, and the veracity of Hollywood accounting methods...

Then it was downstairs to the bar for a Staropramen (or whatever), a collection of short films and a chat with the makers.

We kicked off with two from Alan Walsh, whose impressively "just get on with it" approach meant that, when he realised he needed another film for the event, he just went out and made it. But first there was Mirror Mirror, a quirky little film that's a reinterpretation of something that his film school managed to destroy.

That was followed by his new one, so hot off the metaphorical moviola that, announced as Coffee, it had been retitled Short Changed.

Alan talked about his training in Prague before his regular collaborators Anthony Cozens and Ben Jeen Williams joined in to give us an insight into where they get their inspiration from and the way they work.

After that there was a distinct change of mood with three films from Rebecca Feiner.

Based in the East End, Rebecca makes films, curates, writes etc. She brought along three of her films.

Skin Code is the film element of an installation that she took to the Cannes Film Festival. In a one-person cinema, the viewer watches extreme close ups of a man's body to a soundtrack of Gregorian chant. Amusingly, while lots of Cannes visitors liked it, they were mostly men who were keen to reiterate that they didn't like it in that way...

Exhumation is another installation film, screened in the Belfry of St John's church in Bethnal Green as part of Ghost II, an exhibition curated by Sarah Sparkes and Dr Ricarda Vidal. It's another semi-abstract piece very much concerned with the body.

Rebecca was interested to see her films in different circumstances from the ones they were conceived for: a room full of people rather than a one-person box and on a screen rather than a wall and, à propos Hanna, touched on their gender concerns.

Next up was a free-form documentary, Spirit of Hackney Wick, which roams over the 2009 Hackney Wicked Arts Festival, which is organised by local artists in the shadow of the gates which have divided Hackney preparatory to the 2012 Olympics. Afterwards we talked about how the film undercuts the official propaganda about the Olympics and how it is increasingly difficult for artists to find affordable places to live and work.

Next month's film (13 June) is the documentary Senna, when director Asif Kapadia,who will also be interviewed before we move on to another selection of short films and directors (that's the films that are short, not the directors. Though, of course, if you are a short director...)

As before, feel free to get in touch if you'd like the chance to come along and show your films.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Show Your Shorts

I've started hosting a Film Club for the Workers’ Educational Association London, in association with Clapham Picturehouse (76 Venn St, London SW4 0AT, two minutes walk from Clapham Common tube).

It'll be happening every second Monday of the month, 6pm to 10pm, and the format is that after the main feature there'll be a discussion, then we'll go up to the bar to watch some short films and discuss them with the film-makers. £10 for the evening.
There's a full list of dates and details of how to submit your films at the bottom of
this post.

Meanwhile the next event is on Monday 9th May at 6pm:

HANNA, the new action/fairy tale/thriller from director Joe
Wright, plus post film discussion

"invigorating to the extreme; a feast on the eyes and ears… the most stylistically engaging recent release to come out in quite some time. …. this is new territory for Joe Wright. Two of his previous three feature films were the period pieces, Pride and Prejudice and Atonement.
Without Wright at the helm, this would have been a mediocre film with a fantastic central performance. He has transformed the material into a hip work of art with incessantly strong visual flair. Clearly influenced by many different sources, Wright puts his inspiration to good practice. His use of tracking shots, extreme close-ups, extreme long shots, handheld camera work and much more all contribute to Hanna’s singularly high-powered style. He also keeps a lot of the action in camera, making the choreography stand out. Whether creating an engaging hyper-stylistic action set piece or subjectively aligning the audience with Hanna’s experiences, Wright always has motivations for his choices and it is a delight to work through them while watching the film."

8.30pm Intermission and a chance to get a round in

9pm Show Your Shorts: two short films by Alan Walsh and three by Rebecca Feiner, with both filmmakers in conversation

MIRROR MIRROR. The story of one man and the lengths he’ll go to fit in. Told through his relationship with his mirror, we see him try to re-invent himself to the demands of society

COFFEE. First screening of Alan Walsh’s new short!

REBECCA FEINER "mixes the confessional style of Tracy Emin with the objectivity of American conceptualist, Joseph Kosuth" - Mark Currah, Time Out, Sept.1999

EXHUMATION. "the only ghosts that haunt are the ones we carry with us." Exhumation explores memory & the ghost of violence. To survive and preserve our identity we suppress memories and choose to forget. Exhumation is the first film where the artist has chosen to place herself as performer. Originally screened in 2009 as the main installation for GHOST II, an annual exhibition in London curated by Dr Ricarda Vidal & Sarah Sparkes.

SKIN-CODE. Reversing the camera's traditional gaze, Skin-code gets up close and personal, exploring masculinity, body as landscape and the notion of a male muse. Premiered at the Cannes film festival 2003 as part of the centenary of the Lumiere brothers cinema, in an unsual DIY cinema for one - a wardrobe (Variety)

SPIRIT OF THE WICK. Capturing the spirit of the area through the annual arts festival Hackney Wicked, contradicting glossy propaganda promises of Olympic regeneration. The festival is organised by the artistic enclave living and working in the shadow of London's 2012 Olympics site, whose high security walls and infamous "blue gates" have sliced Hackney Wick in half. Premiered on 23 July 2010 as part of Spirit of the Wick, a festival of 31 short films, installations and sculpture curated by Rebecca Feiner at Stour Space, an old converted wine warehouse on Fish Island, Hackney Wick, London.

FUTURE DATES (all on the second Monday of the month at 6pm):
13 June; 11 July; 8 August; 12 September; 10 October; 14 November; 12 December

If you'd like a chance to Show Your Shorts, drop me line or contact Steve Rushton at WEA