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Karen and her parents, Largs 2012

Docs in Progress with the new film

Just back from our alma mater Edinburgh College of Art, where we were invited to participate in Docs in Progress, a brilliant 'test' screening of one's rough cut film. We took a 20 min sequence from (working title) My Other Brother

The event is run by the Scottish Documentary Institute who have supported the project from the outset - thanks to everyone who attended and gave us invaluable feedback.


Slightly missing Jaywick

Re-watching Jaywick Escapes last week to check the sub-titles for the soon-to-be-released DVD (honest!) I found myself rather missing it ... The admin of sorting out the production has been made very worth while by the lovely quotes we've been sent about the film ...

This from Bob Stanley
"Piquant but unsentimental, an unforgettable snapshot of a forgotten town"

and from Michael Smith
"Jaywick embodies a certain kind of hand-made, rough’n’tumble yearning for utopia, in the last place you might expect to find it - the frayed edges of the Essex coast, a place government statistics tell us is the most deprived in the country, and the Daily Mail would have us believe exemplifies Broken Britain... this film is a fresh and tender look at the town, and at the lost people who are drawn to this strange and sometimes magical place at the ends of England..."

Docs in Progress - scary in a good way

Tomorrow, Wed. 19th June, we take part in the Scottish Documentary Institute's Docs in Progress programme, screening a 20 minute roughcut segment of Karen's family film, current working title My Other Brother, to a great panel of documentarians and a peer audience for feedback.

And it takes place in our old art school Edinburgh College of Art so it'll be nice to smell oilpaint and turps again....

Jaywick Escapes production still

Jaywick Escapes - DVD / Download release

Soon after our next London screening (Open City Docs Fest, Thurs. June 20th, 12.30, Bloomsbury Theatre), Jaywick Escapes (our third film) will be available on DVD and to Download / Stream.

Remember if you want to be first to hear about how you can get hold of the DVD / DoD then join our Mailing List and come along and Like the film on Facebook too here.

Abbey Gardens Vintage Summer Party this weekend

Saturday 8 June 2pm-5pm: a free event for all ages

Join us for some vintage Summer fun:

Hear about our history
Join a history walk around the neighbourhood
Enter our Victoria Sponge competition
‘Where did you get that hat?’ workshop for children
Story corner with our older gardeners
Collecting our garden’s history – gathering stories
of when gardeners and friends first discovered the garden
Have your portrait drawn as a character from our local history
Enjoy a lunch of traditional dishes from our communities
Live folk music from Theo Bard
Plant history tour with garden club leader Hamish
Goodies on the honesty stall
Visit our tea stall for tea, coffee and home made cake

All activities are free. Tea, cake, lunch and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden. Cake competition entries are to be prepared in advance and brought to the garden on the day.

We are also welcoming visitors as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend 10am-5pm
and we are part of the 2013 Chelsea Fringe: Plant history tour starts 2.15pm

London screening - June 20 - Open City Festival

After a quiet winter (well, it's the seaside after all) Jaywick Escapes has a new summer screening confirmed as part of the fantastic Open City Docs Fest in central London.

Jaywick Escapes Screening

Thur 20 June / 12:30

Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH

All the programme & booking info is online here

Another opportunity aboard the Floating Cinema

Spread the word - along with the Live Art Development Agency we are commissioning a new live art project to happen aboard the Floating Cinema this summer.

Budget £3500, deadline May 28 - all you need to know is here on the website

Bravo Oonagh

Delighted to announce that last week we commissioned film-maker Oonagh Kearney to create a short film for the launch of this year's Floating Cinema in the summer, shot in and around East London - so looking forward to working with her!

Spring Innovation at Abbey Gardens

We can't do anything about the weather but we can offer a day out to look forward to at Abbey Gardens -

Explore science, innovation and design in the garden at our FREE event for all ages on Saturday 20 April from 2-5pm

The launch of our new Eco-Shed designed by students from London Metropolitan University
Adventures in Household Knowledge with Public Works and our veteran innovator Charlie
A plant science safari
Find out about the new bird box project
Have a go at one of our innovation activities
Q&A with garden club leader Hamish
Goodies on the honesty stall
Visit our refreshment tent for tea, coffee and home made cake

All activities are free. Tea, cake and honesty stall produce for donations to the garden.

At the Austrian Film Institute in Vienna

It's a hard workshop but someone's gotta do it...

Progress since November was pretty varied project to project, our group including Stefan Lechner, Lieven Corthouts & Emmy Oost, Madhureeta Anand & Johannes Rosenberger, Walo Deuber & Rose-Marie Schneider and Ruslana Berndl. Some directors had shot material, but mainly people had reworked Treatment texts and worked on selecting their Characters (a term that non-doc filmmakers find a bit weird, but it's just short-hand for 'casting' the strongest people on screen). I was the only native English speaker although the workshop was conducted in English, and I rather delighted in the peculiarly expressive hybrid language we all seemed to learn to speak across the week. The tutor, Argentian-born Gualberto Ferrari has a very Latin way of saying 'radical' extremely motivationally - 'Rrrraaaadeeeecallll" - It certainly helps explain a few things about how things get fired up in Latin American culture and politics and makes everyone in the room instantly agree to making a 'radical feelm'. Projects are skilfully passed around the room for feedback, and rushes (video footage) watched and interrogated - this way I enjoyed spending some time in India and Lisbon as well as in my parents' living room. Specific gaps in our plans - usually structural ones - are picked apart by Gualberto, who rightly forbids stepping into the edit without sorting these out. In general most projects find they have the first and last 12 mins sorted but the middle bit remains stubbornly muddy. Each nationality present uses a different metaphor for this problem - I especially like Johannes' one of the structure being the 'tree trunk' which you only allow branches to grow from if they are in the right place. I love a horticultural metaphor.

The suffocating context of 'television hours' (actually 52 mins when you add the ad breaks) is also given short shrift by Gualberto - we are here to make cinema, not entertain the lowest-common-denominator by compromising our vision. All this sounds pleasantly arrogant in a way that really wouldn't happen in a UK-based workshop. We'd all just mumble about what it would be like if we were 'in an ideal world' etc.

As before, hearing an international peer group's response to your work is gold-dust. How else do you find out (in my case) that the British custom of sporting paper hats at Christmas is hysterically funny to every other nation, that what's a great joke in Switzerland just obstinately won't translate, or that Europeans really don't know the first thing about Africa. Not the first thing. So each project benefits from both support and criticism, and also recognises that there are new assets within them - ones that can only be recognised by outsiders - that can be developed and exploited.

The group also pitched in some brilliant foreign-language titles for my film, though the struggle to find the right English language title continues: In Spanish 'Una Famiglia miu Britannica' seems to work, as does 'L'Amour Vrai' in French.

Another delight of Sources2 is the cursory treatment given to the production / funding issues that tend to mire so many other professional development workshops for film. Film-makers love a chance to moan about money, and of course we all want to believe you can really learn how to make it, but it's a rare and precious delight just to put the real world aside and concentrate on imagining our own little utopias for a while, which is of course what making cinema - whether documentary or fiction- is about.

Many thanks to the Scottish Documentary Institute for supporting my attendence at Sources2