Are You Looking At Me?

I’m currently working on a commissioned exhibition for the White Elephant Contemporary Gallery in Morecambe based on my long-standing personal project “Slingfilm“. More on Slingfilm another day, but as a part of the exhibition, we knew early on that we wanted to engage young people in the area with idea of making home movies, what the term means, how digital innovations have changed the experience of DIY movie-making and getting them to play with old and new equipment to make short DIY movies themselves. One of the things we talked about with them is the notion that in many ways, the camera has been flipped around in recent years. Previously the camera was directed away from the maker towards a different subject, so the person holding the camera became absent in the film. Now more and more, we are seeing the proliferation of people directing the camera at themselves, and making ‘selfie’ videos. Vlogging is so commonplace it has become a career choice. ††

So we’ve asked young people involved with More Music to explore old and new technology to create 3-minute DIY films around the very loose theme of “Are You Looking At Me?”. Last night, I took a couple of bags of kit along to More Music, to meet and talk with several of the people interested. I screened some old super 8mm cine film on a Kodak Brownie projector, we played with some Super 8 cameras, and I introduced them to my Lomokino (a modern, hand-cranked analogue camera which makes ultra short, lo-fi movies on 35mm film). We took a short look at La Jetee (a 1962 art film made almost entirely from still images with voiceover), and we talked about how movies could be made with non-moving images, the use of sound and indeed silent movies. We played with the notion of them making short 7-image stories on vintage Viewmaster reels.

In short, we filled their heads with a bunch of creative ideas and possibilities, and set them off on the journey to make their own short films in any way they chose.

And next Wednesday, with Neil Wilson from White Elephant Gallery, I’ll be delivering a one-day Masterclass in film-making for their More Music Arts Week to help them develop their ideas, work on storyboards, try out different locations and offer more inspiration.

The plan is to then take several of the films on to a studio in Manchester where they can be given a full studio production. We are then hoping in September, to tie in with either the Slingfilm exhibition or the Film Morecambe Festival, that we can show the finished results. I’ll keep you posted!

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