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Frieze Today

We find ourselves in Grizedale Arts warped foodie emporium 'The Coliseum of the Consumed' at the Frieze Art Fair today, equipped with fresh produce from What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens and pickled produce from Karen's fermented Japanese nuka.
Say 'Hai!, and bow please, if you're passing.

Colchester Gala Screening

We were very sad not to be able to attend the Gala screening of Jaywick Escapes on Friday night in Colchester ... from the sound of the Interweb it seems like it went well though! You can read a nice review here.

Back to School 4 Us

Nina and I were back at our old stomping ground (we graduated in Fine Art back in 1991), Edinburgh College of Art this weekend for the final session of Interdoc, a training programme for independent producers of creative documentary, run by the Scottish Documentary Institute, a gem of an organisation. The weekend ikicked off with a bit of 'pitch' practice, which in normal people parlance is a kind of Dragon's Den approach to presenting your film's potential (visually and verbally) to some VIPs from planet-of-film. Who you hope might give you a supportive smile, then a meeting and eventually some finance. In such supportive company as the SDI, this procedure isn't that stressful, but the idea is to get so good at it (without, of course, losing one's sponteneity, wit and/or hair) that you could confidently pitch to a full Wembley Stadium. Or its documentary film equivalent, probably the IDFA Amsterdam Forum. So our small band took to the pitch spot as we had in Spring's first session, and caught up with if and how each one of our projects had come on. Some of us had filmed (much) more, others had reframed their films, but - not surprisingly - we all still needed money so top marks for coming back to school to learn how. There's a powerful sense of collective support in these practice pitches, one really wills the team that's talking onwards and upwards, but not having pitched publicly often, I wonder if this is the case in the cut throat forum of a 'real' pitch - or do the other project teams secretly cheer when you bump the mike, your taster stalls or you go a bit, or very, blank?!

Once we made it through our pitch rehearsals - the new 4 minute taster for our current project was brilliantly received - we then studied budgets in close detail (cries of "You'll need a third hard drive, so budget it in!" and "You haven't got the rights yet?! That could be expensive...... and even, "You have to budget for bribes ?!....Oh, I see, we call them 'tips' on paper....".

We also got two Skype sessions with major European players Stefan Kloos and Peter Jager. The former Skyped us from a theme park in Germany where his daughter was swimming (this being a Sunday afternoon), a location offering a lively panorama of half naked swimmers behind his talking head, though this somehow rarely distracted from his insights into European Media funding, a holy grail for some though it did all sound fairly stressy to apply for, let alone get. Perhaps a test of a charismatic-enough speaker could be 'Can you hold an audience on Skype talking about European funding, even with nude Germans all around you?'. If the answer is yes, you're probably powerful enough to start your own church.

Peter Jager (of the wondrous Autlook Films) Skyped from the safety of his home office, with only an enigmatic old map on his wall to try and distract us (where did it depict?). A sales agent with wide experience of releasing and distributing 'the best films' (only 10% of all those made, he claims), we were all slightly awestruck by his forensic approach to planning worldwide distribution. To summarise, he advises talking to him shortly after you have had the idea for your doc. No - joking aside - it seems that the best approach is to show a sales agent a rough cut and ask their advice on which festivals to target with it - do not rush the release, he emphasised, though Noe of SDI gently pointed our that by that stage in a film project most film-makers are starving and possibly bankrupt as they limp towards the finish of the film. So it might seem like they're rushing that release, a bit. But with the consensus that piracy and the Web mean there's not that much legitimate 'business' left out there for film, it seems that we film-makers need to help distributors do the best for us by really planning the film release from festival to theatrical to VoD, and not just go straight to our favourite festivals, wait a bit and then plonk the film on our own website and Distrify. And make about $27 across five years. I know this approach because I have done it. It works as long as you expected just the $27 and are cheered by a monthly splatter of emails from fans in Sri Lanka ('How on earth did they get hold of it?' you wonder) and Hackney.

Peter is very probably right - the issue is, as he described in an example that had every film-maker in the room's toes curling, sometimes 4 out of 5 of your top festivals say 'No thanks' so you, the disappointed but pragmatic film-maker say 'Ok let's drop our hopes and go for our second choices'. In this instance Peter says 'That last top festival WILL say yes - hold fire". Give that man a medal for bravery, but it's a tough position to hold when it's your film and your tired, emotional and skint....

Nuka (rice bran) pickling - watch out Sarson's

In a Pickle at Frieze

Karen presents her prized 3 year old Japanese-style nuka pickles as part of Grizedale Arts' Coliseum of the Consumed project, at this year's Frieze Art Fair

Their last art appearance was with Myvillages in Nordhorn (via Eurostar) in January 2010, they taste even better now though they still look as odd.

Duggan Morris design model for the new Floating Cinema

And the Winner of the Floating Cinema architecture competition is ...

Duggan Morris Architects - many congratulations to Joe and Adam and all of their team. Karen and I are really looking forward to collaborating with them and UP Projects to make the design a reality.

It was actually a really tough decision but a very enjoyable and interesting experience! Being part of the architecture competition process has been fascinating, it has challenged us to think about the design of the boat/cinema but also about the programme, context and audience we want to reach over the next three years. We've been so impressed by the commitment and professionalism of all the practices and want to thank everyone who took part in the competition. Also a big thanks to the Architecture Foundation for guiding us through the process and all those observers and advisors who gave us their support.

The short listed practices were:

- Nilsson Pflugfelder (Berlin/London)
- vPPR (London)
- OBRA (New York/Beijing)
- Duggan Morris (London)

Wild Friends

Friends of Somewhere 'We Made That' have designed a new playspace very near to Abbey Gardens and it's opening with a couple of launch events over the next few days. If you've got kids and live in the Newham area why not visit the Abbey Gardens Harvest Festival AND the new Wild Kingdom all on Saturday! 

Weekend Wild Play Activities at Three Mills Green
Saturday 22nd September, 11am – 4pm
Come and explore the new playspace with the help of Wild Playworkers and wildlife photographers.

Monday 24th September 2012
3 – 6pm at Three Mills Green
Join We Made That for the official opening of the Wild Kingdom Playspace! You will find a giant water slide, picnic feast, entertainment, performances & much more amid the new exciting landscape of Three Mills Green. All welcome!

If you're still at a loose end it's also our Floating Cinema event with Fugitive images on Saturday and then on Sunday Nina will be at the Q&A at Hackney Picture House following our 2.00 screening of Jaywick Escapes - Phew! 

Another chance to see Jaywick in London

After our sell out screening at the East End Film Festival we're delighted to annouce there will be another screening close to Somewhere home at our favourite local cinema - Hackney Picture House. It will be at 14.00 on Sunday the 23rd of September. Book now to avoid disappointment! 

Contribute a patch with a food story ...

NGS & Harvest Fest!

Last weekend we had a really great first NGS day at Abbey Gardens now you can visit and enjoy the ever popular annual Harvest Festival. Come help us celebrate our fourth gardening season with a traditional anniversary theme of fruit and flowers:

Saturday 22nd of September 2-5pm

* Come and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Gary and Elisabetta from Abbey Gardens produce 
* Listen to live jazz from Arch1 house band 
* Enjoy the event workshops including flower arranging, chess, flower photography, drawing, and children’s crafts 
* Explore the garden on one of our garden tours 
* Find creepy crawlies in the bug hunt 
* Watch a video and slideshow about the history of the garden 
* Submit your masterpiece into our annual cake decorating or flower arranging competitions 
* And there’s our ever-popular honesty stall and tea and cake stall!

All activities are free. Some activities are at set times including:

Flower arranging workshop – 2:30 – 3pm 
Children’s Craft activity – 2:45 – 4pm 
Flower photography workshop – 3:30 – 4pm 
Bug Hunt – 4:15 – 4:45pm

For consideration in the competitions, entries should be submitted before 4pm. 
Food, Tea, cake and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.


NGS, RHS ... It's all go at Abbey Gardens -

On Saturday the 8th of Sepetember (10 - 5 £2 entry) we're opening up as part of the NGS scheme for the first time.

On Saturday the 22nd of September (2 - 5 FREE) it's our annual Harvest Festival

and last month this really nice article by Alison Gibson appeared in the RHS magazine.

AND two peaches made it past the local kids to actually being ripe!