Archive for the 260MC Category

Rapid Eye Movement 2011 – Warwick Arts Centre

Posted in 260MC, 264MC Short Film Production on January 26, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

Last Tuesday was the Rapid Eye Movement short film screening at Warwick Arts Centre. It was so nice to see so many interesting films that have been funded, filmed and produced in the Midlands, there is a thriving short film making community and it is great to begin to move in these circles. There were too many films to talk about individually so I will choose the one that stood out the most for me.

This is, again, a piece filmed on 8mm and truly shows the beauty of the footage that can be created. All that happens is that one voiceover talks for eight minutes about the history of the boathouse whilst these beautiful, seamingly timeless images play out. Here is the film:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Here is a short article from the BBC about one of its successes.


Jack Goldstein at the Nottingham Contemporary

Posted in 260MC, 264MC Short Film Production with tags , on January 26, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

On sunday I visited the Jack Goldstein exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. I have become fascinated by 8mm and 16mm film and the exhibition was a fantastic example of the art that can be created by the medium. It was also a useful source of inspiration for my montage of 10 beautiful things and the short film module.

Goldstein’s films were all projected in one high ceilinged, darkened room and this created an amazing atmosphere to watch film. The characteristic hum of reel to reel projectors and the beams of light they were emitting were beautiful in themselves quite apart from the images produced. Here is the piece that particularly stood out for me. Bear in mind whilst you watch this that it was made nearly 35 years ago and also that you are watching it through YouTube and not from a 16mm projector.

I love the simplicity of this visually because it is clear that to produce such a piece is technically very complicated with the limited resources available compared to the extraordinary capabilities today’s video equipment has. I watched extremely closely the tape running through the projector and you will notice at the end there are some letters flashing very quickly across the screen, this is actually text written as a sentence straight onto the film itself, when played properly it is far more effective than the digitised version you can see here. It was great to see work like this by a pioneer of the genre. He was experimenting with techniques and adapting film so it did exactly what he wanted and when a gallery exposes the raw film to visitors and allows them so close it is totally inspiring.

Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern

Posted in 260MC, 261MC, Articles, Photographs with tags , , on November 25, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

I had some spare time in London on Monday after the Russell Tribunal Press conference so I decided to take the opportunity to see a few exhibitions. Ever since the Ai Weiwei opened I have been longing to visit but ever so sadly I was left hugely disappointed. Having watched BBC’s Imagine on the artist I was already prepared for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to touch or interact with the work because of the porcelain dust fears but I still thought the piece may have some impact.

Unfortunately a piece of art that from the very start was always intended to be interactive can never work when the interactivity is taken away, you cannot get near the seeds so unfortunately the floor of the Turbine hall ends up looking like it’s covered in gravel. I envy hugely the people who were able to take part in scenes such as these:

Every seed was individually hand painted by the women of a village near Beijing and each is absolutely beautiful, photographs such as this one show the gorgeous juxtaposition between the delicately hand crafted seeds and the powerful steel girders;

It is always nice to visit the Tate, I only wish my most recent visit could have been earlier in the month!

BBC Placement

Posted in 260MC, 261MC with tags on November 25, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

Last Thursday I attended an interview at the BBC to try and gain a placement with them this summer. Whilst I knew that the selection process was rigorous, a covering letter and a CV to be assessed by tutors before even being put forward to the BBC for interview, I wasn’t quite aware of how rigorous it was. Having been lucky enough to be put forward by the University for interview I began my preparation.

I read the papers and listen to BBC radio anyway but I made special efforts to listen to local radio as well as national so as to keep abreast of issues that may come up in the interview. I also prepared by reading up on what the BBC expects from interns and the benefits that an intern gains from their placement.

The interview itself was far more formal than I expected, the first thing I was told was that the interview would be treated just as any BBC interview for any position would be and that I should expect the same level of questioning. Half an hour of intense questioning followed giving me opportunities to be creative, to show awareness of current affairs and show motivation. I hope I managed to show all of these during the interview, I tried my hardest! I have since found out that some questions such as ‘Every morning at the BBC there is an ‘ideas’ meeting, what is your idea?’ are absolute standard questions asked during BBC interviews, maybe I should have been slightly better prepared to be challenged in this way. I know for next time!

To my enormous delight three or four hours after the interview I had a call to say I had been offered the placement, I am absolutely delighted and intend to take the opportunity with both hands – you never know where it may lead!

The Russell Tribunal London session

Posted in 260MC, 261MC with tags , , , on November 24, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

This weekend I worked at The Russell Tribunal at the Law Society in London and it was a fantastic experience. To be given the level of access we had across the weekend was absolutely an honour and made for a brilliant weekend.

We took an enormous amount of footage over the three days, two days of which were the Tribunal and the third day was a press conference presenting the findings from the weekend.

Here is a photo from the press conference showing the amount of media interest in the findings, the camera set up next to mine is Al Jazeera and sat just behind where I was filming from is the largest channel in France.

All of the footage has been taken to be dumped onto digital hard drives so currently I am unable to show you any of the stuff but I hope to be able to soon.

The law society is a spectacular setting for an event such as this and again I took plenty of photos that are currently sat on a disc that is out of my possession. I shall try to get these soon to give you a flavour of how and where we were working.

The Tribunal itself was regarded a huge success, the sheer amount of witnesses giving extraordinary evidence against third party complicity with Isreal was astonishing and in lots of cases sickening. I learnt an enormous amount from the evidence and it was fascinating to hear the responses and questions posed by the panel, which included Michael Mansfield QC who was recently on Desert Island Discs. It was interesting to hear him on the programme talking about the transformation from once canvassing for Thatcher to becoming one of the most radical lawyers around today who famously worked on the case of the Birmingham Six. Here is the link to the podcast:

Desert Island Discs

I look forward to gaining access to the footage we took over the weekend and being able to show some of it on here. I also hugely look forward to making something out of what we took. Other film crews were covering the event so I think it is important that our piece has it’s own voice and doesn’t just document sequentially the events. We have some very interesting interview footage as well as audience reaction and shots of the setting so I feel we will have plenty to work with and express ourselves through the piece.

Ewa Jasiewicz responding to questioning at the press launch

Posted in 260MC, 261MC with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

As you will have seen from my previous post I promised a piece of footage from the press conference.

I filmed in HD so it is with great regret that I show this to you via YouTube, it looks so much better in it’s true shooting quality but at least you get to see it.

Let me set the scene a little, by the time the section you are about to see is taken each speaker has said their piece and is now fielding questions from the audience. Most of the questions asked by the audience regarded the publicity and the potential benefits of the Tribunal but this question really starts to rile the audience and the panel. I shot using a monopod which wasn’t ideal for some of the conference but was ideal for this section as I could flick between speakers. At one point I roll the camera round to capture the questioner but unfortunately the lighting wasn’t anywhere near good enough, it does help to show a little of the cut and thrust however.

I love the way both of the panellists deal with this question but particularly Ewa, her passion combined with deep understanding of the situation makes her a tough match for the questioner. The clip doesn’t show this but after Ewa’s answer he storms out of the conference, it was exciting to watch the Panel deal with such difficult questioning in the way that they did.

Reflections on Seminar feedback to this piece

Today I screened this to a few fellow students and some tutors. I was pleased with the feedback I received, here is a little reflection on the feedback session I had.

The group that saw my piece also showed each of their work and there was some very interesting pieces, I was particularly pleased that my was well received because it was considerably longer than any of the other works. The pieces other than mine that I saw I think benefited from their shorter length and as an impactful piece maybe mine could be improved with a harsher edit. The reason I left the whole exchange in is because whilst it is simply an answer to a question there is a clear narrative and the unhurried nature of the edit helps to tell this story.

Words that came back in response to my piece were ‘natural’, ‘well shot’ and ‘voicing an opinion’. Whilst these comments are somewhat superficial on a critical basis it is nice to hear these phrases being used. I think the word natural came up because of its distinct lack of effects or edit points, I showed what really happened and the emotions that really were there in the room.

I am pleased I received the comment ‘well shot’. The piece was shot on a monopod and because of this I ran the risk of it looking jerky and unwatchable but actually the cut and thrust of the exchange is captured in its essence by shooting in this style.

Finally I am delighted it came across that I was trying to strongly voice an opinion and take a side, the piece is supposed to ridicule the questioner and take the side of the panel.

Introduction to The Russell Tribunal

Posted in 260MC, 261MC with tags , , , , on November 9, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

Tonight I have been at the press launch for The Russell Tribunal, an International War Crimes Tribunal held by a public body started by British philosopher Bertrand Russell. The Tribunal, to be held later this month, is investigating and questioning crimes committed in Gaza, particularly the crimes committed against Palestine.

It really was a fantastic evening, being in situations where one is surrounded by such passionate, politicised and creative people is very inspiring. I very much enjoyed listening to all the speakers talk about their role in the tribunal and the ways in which they believe this issue should be tackled on other levels. There was a chair and four speakers, Ken Loach, who needs no introduction, Ewa Jasiewicz, an activist, journalist and political film maker, Dr Ghada Karmi, the chair of the UK committee and Paul Troop who is the legal advisor for the Russell Tribunal.

Each speaker spoke for around ten to fifteen minutes before the floor was opened to questions. Some very intense questioning followed including two questions from the audience not so much defending Israel but attacking Palestine and their behaviour during the conflict. It was fascinating listening to the responses, Ewa Jasiewicz was extremely firm in her answering of the question and made her point from an obviously highly informed position. The passion and inciveness with which she answered brought rapturous applause, likening Palestine to a caged animal responding to brutal treatment was a powerful metaphor. I recorded the whole exchange and I shall load at least that section onto here.

I intend to be at The Russell Tribunal and this evening was a very useful introduction, it has provided me with plenty of pointers to my research before we go and it was also a great opportunity to be introduced to and meet some of the important people involved.