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Archive for the 'film' Category

“b.TWEEN” event @ Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester. 19th/20th June 2008.

Things are getting a little frenzied as I prepare for the Opening Night of “The Chorlton Bench Project” this coming Friday, but I wanted to give some air to something called ‘b.TWEEN 08‘ a 2-day event which sounds like an interesting gathering of the great and the good @ MOSI, Manchester. With a leaning towards New Media, Advertising and Creative Technology, the sponsor’s are pretty high profile including Channel 4 and the BBC.

The website is worth a visit, the Interactive Gallery page gives the opportunity to view and vote on interactive new visual work, the winner will be shown @ MOSI during the event. You can also book onto a personal One-2-One Session with some of the speakers. Featuring representatives from amongst others; TwentyTwenty TV, Bebo and Fluorescent Media lots of talented specialists in areas such as branding, audience engagement, trends and digital strategy.

Despite all those sponsers, I am sad to say it ain’t free, it is quite expensive from £60 for a one-day student pass and £95 freelancers/micro company rate but could be worth it for the quality of speakers and networking/advice on offer. The website is free to browse though and many of the presentations will be available on YouTube after the event. Click here for some of the talks from “b.TWEEN 2007.”

UPDATE This event has now been and gone. If you wish to read a little about what went on then click over to “The Mancunian Way” were they blogged each day on the event. Also try the “Real Fresh TV” site for some really in-depth analysis by someone who was actually there AND took part in one of the sessions.

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“b.TWEEN” event @ Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester. 19th/20th June 2008.

Things are getting a little frenzied as I prepare for the Opening Night of “The Chorlton Bench Project” this coming Friday, but I wanted to give some air to something called ‘b.TWEEN 08‘ a 2-day event which sounds like an interesting gathering of the great and the good @ MOSI, Manchester. With a leaning towards New Media, Advertising and Creative Technology, the sponsor’s are pretty high profile including Channel 4 and the BBC.

The website is worth a visit, the Interactive Gallery page gives the opportunity to view and vote on interactive new visual work, the winner will be shown @ MOSI during the event. You can also book onto a personal One-2-One Session with some of the speakers. Featuring representatives from amongst others; TwentyTwenty TV, Bebo and Fluorescent Media lots of talented specialists in areas such as branding, audience engagement, trends and digital strategy.

Despite all those sponsers, I am sad to say it ain’t free, it is quite expensive from £60 for a one-day student pass and £95 freelancers/micro company rate but could be worth it for the quality of speakers and networking/advice on offer. The website is free to browse though and many of the presentations will be available on YouTube after the event. Click here for some of the talks from “b.TWEEN 2007.”

UPDATE This event has now been and gone. If you wish to read a little about what went on then click over to “The Mancunian Way” were they blogged each day on the event. Also try the “Real Fresh TV” site for some really in-depth analysis by someone who was actually there AND took part in one of the sessions.

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Mike Leigh and his film “Happy-Go-Lucky” @ the Cornerhouse, Manchester

Last night I joined a sell-out crowd for an early peek at Mike Leigh’s latest film “Happy-Go-Lucky” at the Cornerhouse in Manchester. Not only that, the director himself sauntered into the bar prior to kick-off and in his softly spoken way chatted freely with anyone who wished to say hello. A rumoured appearance by Ken Loach never materialised (though he is in the area shooting his latest film) but we were treated to a surprise guest in the form of one of the cast namely Kate O’Flynn.

Continue reading ‘Mike Leigh and his film “Happy-Go-Lucky” @ the Cornerhouse, Manchester’

Abbas Kiarostami, “Trees in Snow” inspiration for a challenge.

I have a long-standing project I began years ago, a mission to photograph my favourite trees.  Sadly, I am nowhere near finished, in fact by it’s very nature I probably never will reach completion.  One thing it does do though, is really get me thinking.  How can I make my work original and capture the subject with beauty and simplicity?  One series of shots from photographer Abbas Kiarostami is etched in my mind as a kind of benchmark.  
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 The work featured here is from the series “Trees in Snow”.  Kiarostami is an Iranian photographer.  He is super-talented and may be better known to many of you as an award-winning film-maker; “The Wind Will Carry Us” (1999), “A Taste of Cherry” (1997) and “Ten” (2002) are three from his impressive archive.  He wrote some words to introduce this series at the V&A, London in 2005.

“Snow descends from

the black clouds

with the whiteness of snow”

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The “Trees in Snow” images were borne out of Kiarostami’s long, solitary walks to search for film sets, sometimes covering thousands of miles in the Iranian landscape. Photographing these landscapes allowed him a spontaneous immersion in nature.  When travelling alone, he sees his camera as a way of sharing moments which would be torturous if not preserved. The scenes became the equivalent of emotional states and the trees almost human, echoing the saying of the Islamic mystic Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi (born 1165 died 1240): ‘the tree is the sister of man’.
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film chat: “Silent Light” by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas and “Into the Wild” by Sean Penn

Time for a bit of film chat.  The compulsion for me to actually spend some cash and go and see a movie is often a completely random thing.  I try and speed read reviews so I don’t actually wind up knowing the whole plot but it proves sufficient for me to digest something, a gist or a theme.  Even how the film looks can nudge me to watch something,  from this accumulated heresay I can usually make a decision and word of mouth from trusted sources can assist things too.  
I spotted some stills from a film called “Silent Light” the other day in a magazine, worthy of further investigation I thought and duly noted the details in my phone (very useful if my notebook isn’t to hand!).  The film was released at the end of 2007 written and directed by Carlos Reygadas, a Mexican film-maker apparently deemed a bit of an enfant terrible judging by reaction to his previous two films; “Japón” (2002) and “Batalla en el Cielo” (2005).  He favours long-takes and often uses non-professional actors.  The wonderful cinematography is from Alexis Zabe.
The film is set in a Mexican Mennonite community who practice nonviolence and pacifism and deals with a married man who falls in love with another woman.  It is a quiet and very slow film, not always a bad thing and the reviews were fairly glowing.  I shall investigate and post back.  Definitely a bit of Terence Malick about him looking at the stills.
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One film I have seen recently that made a deep impression was “Into the Wild” (2007) directed by Sean Penn.  I was really put off this film by some of the reviews and so decided against seeing it at the cinema.  The main criticism seemed to be that the hero was so flawed, egotistical and selfish that the audience simply hated him too much.  The result being that any message the film wanted to reveal was lost in a sea of annoyance.
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Though I would not go so far as to say the critics were wrong, in fact many rated it highly, it simply goes to prove how we are all so different in our tastes and take different things from the cinematic experience as a result.  The film is based on a true story and a book  written in 1996.  It is the fascinating tale of a gifted American student who decided to drop-out, hitchhike to Alaska and live in the wild.  
With his films Sean Penn sometimes has a tendency to veer into smugness and simplicity (though I believe his heart is in the right place) and maybe this explains the mixed reviews, I am not sure, but if you love open spaces and sometimes tire of the materialistic road we seem to be freewheeling down then I would say give the film a go.

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Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2007, Charlie Crane & Laurie Hill.

Way back, on a cold January evening, I went along to the Bloomberg newcontemporaries 2007 exhibition at the Cornerhouse in Manchester, UK. The exhibition took up every bit of available space in all their galleries and even the stairwells. It is primarily a showcase for young UK artists to display their work and those chosen must be final year undergraduates or current postgraduates from UK colleges. As you can imagine there was a massive array of styles, medium and standards on show. Two artist’s work stood out for me:-
Charlie Crane’s colour photographs of Pyongyang “Welcome to Pyongyang”
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This is probably my favourite shot “Koryo Hotel” from his series of 28 images, which was also made into a limited edition book published by Chris Boot. I find the colours, mood and composition utterly beautiful and transfixing. Tremendously memorable. Charlie has already won many awards and is probably familiar to many of you already, he lives and works in London, UK and his homesite is here.
The second talented artist I wanted to mention is Laurie Hill who had an animated story “My First Taste of Death” on show. In her own words it deals with … “The tormented offspring of half-remembered Hollywood adventure movies with a sting in its tail. Me and the boss discover Dodo island, I face a deadly struggle with my nemesis the demented sea scorpion and destruction looms when the terrible TRUTH is revealed.” It blends wonderful flowing animation and a strong narrative with a real feel for childhood imagination and wonder.
I have searched high and low for a stream of the animated piece shown at the gallery but I am afraid the best I came up with is these stills. Hopefully you can get a sense of the craft and individuality of the piece from the images but for the full effect I guess you must just see if you are lucky and can catch the work as it pops up around the world. At the moment it is showing as part of the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, USA. It has already been to London (UK), Utah (USA) and Manchester (UK). Check out here for further up to date listings and information on the director.

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