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Archive for May, 2017

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Twelve

Catch up with the young women on the From Her Point of View training programme, as their time with us is nearing its end. Hear from Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Twelve

It’s week 12 and we’re back from our Easter break straight into post-production. That’s right, both films have now wrapped! Before I tell you about what we got up to this week, I just wanted to backtrack a little to last week, where I have a little anecdote to share around my experience of filming with the Black Cherry crew, whose last day of filming fell on our Easter break from usual sessions at Knowle West Media Centre.

I’ve only ever been on a set once before in my life, as an extra, but have always been fascinated by the energy they create and have around them. It can be by its very nature a hectic and overwhelming place to be, but I personally love being around the whole atmosphere. Being on an all-female crew set is extra special in this respect: it felt very empowering! Though I wasn’t able to stay for the duration of the shoot, I learned a very important lesson: never offer to look after your sound recordist’s car keys if you know you will be leaving set in a hurry. I realised when I got home, and my dad had to drive back up to set and return the keys to Holly, Black Cherry’s producer!

Back to this week though, where Thursday evening was spent watching the rough assembly of Black Cherry. As with watching Blood Warriors’ rough assembly, it was brilliant to see the film start coming together, and everyone was full of praise and helpful critique for going forward and finishing the edit. I marvel at Redi and Sookie’s patience and how easy they have made the editing of both these films look given how frustrated I got over our foray into editing a few weeks ago. [I] thought if both rough assemblies were anything to go by, these films are going to be very special indeed!

Friday’s session saw us recall Tara’s words around film festival submissions, to give us a platform onto thinking about where both teams might want to go in terms of [their] publicity strategy moving forward. Both teams started researching potential festivals, working on crew bios, thinking about tag and log lines for their films and setting up social media pages and profiles. The films aren’t yet ready to screen, but we’ve learned it really helps to plan ahead and we’re all inspired by the potential and possibilities that are ahead!

Next time, we review and grade footage and enter a brave new world of virtual reality…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Eleven

It’s Week 11 here at From Her Point of View and filming is underway. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Eleven

So, filming is underway, how cool is that? If that wasn’t enough, Blood Warriors have wrapped! Unfortunately I was unable to attend any of their shoot days but all the team tell me they had an incredible time, and if the photography from the day was anything to go by, the ladies have created something they rightly should be very proud of. Much of their filming took place down on Dean Lane at the Skate Park and beyond, where they had amazing weather!

Team Black Cherry were also setting up to film following Blood Warriors’ wrap this week. Unfortunately again I was unable to attend, this time due to my four wheels and the nature of their interior locations. I was thrilled to be attending their final day though, over our Easter break from official sessions at Knowle West. More on that next time…

With filming almost under our belts, we returned to KWMC on Thursday for a session with Tarah Judah: writer, programmer, broadcaster, and Director at Bristol’s very own 20th Century Flicks. Over the course of her career, Tarah has served on several selection committees and juries for film festivals, including: IFFR, Berlinale Forum, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, CIFF, Glasgow SFF, MIFF, Revelations Film Festival Perth, Encounters Short Film Festival Bristol, MIM, and the AACTA and ATOM Awards.

Those impressive credentials in mind, Tarah was the perfect candidate to speak with us about festival submissions. As has been a trend with my participation in the programme, I know nothing about film festivals, so this session was an eye-opener and if I’m being honest, a little overwhelming!

It seems to be a really daunting task, submitting one’s work for a panel of experts to critique and decide whether they want to show it. And it is daunting, but Tarah suggested that proper research and preparation is the way to negotiate the bumpy ride to festival submission. Have a sense of your film’s identity and where you think it might belong on the circuit. Cast your net as widely as you’d like but be aware of each festival’s rules: some may not take a film that has already been screened elsewhere and so on. Costs also come into play for some, especially the bigger, more prestigious festivals.

Tied hand in hand with research is having a plan for what you want for your film which will guide where you place it: for example, some festivals have prize money, others filmmakers are drawn to for the prestige alone.

Whichever festival you choose, know that it is often a difficult road, particularly for novice filmmakers so a thick skin is a must. More than that, never lose your conviction. New talent and ideas is how this industry will keep ticking over, and it was heartening to hear Tarah speak so passionately and enthusiastically.

As well as Tarah coming to speak to us, we also watched a rough first edit of Blood Warriors! It was amazing to see the film being completed and start being polished and you’ll see after our Easter break this feeling once again abound when Black Cherry wrap…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Ten

Week Ten in the From Her Point of View was a milestone: the two groups began shooting their films! Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Ten

Well folks, the week was finally upon us: time to put everything we’ve learned so far into practise and get down to the nitty gritty business of why we amazing women were all brought together: to make two short films!

Before production commenced though, Noomi [Yates, Programme Coordinator] and the team at Knowle West Media Centre held a special event: an opportunity to and network with guests – women who are at the top of their game in the film and television industries.

There was also a panel discussion exploring some of the issues female filmmakers come across.  Those of us on the From Her Point of View programme were also invited, to be a part of the networking and to highlight what the programme is all about. Unfortunately, this Press Agent was ill and unable to attend the evening, which made me sad and relieved in equal measure. I say relieved for the pure and simple reason that I’ve never been great at networking or approaching people to start conversations. I’m not great at selling myself to people or having confidence in my abilities, so I probably would have been the shy one in the corner waiting for folks to come to me; not a great series of traits at an event like this!

Having said that, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I can be better thanks to the example set by these amazing ladies. If I’m to get to where I want to be and get my foot in the door of a creative industry like this, I need to have confidence in myself and what I’m able to do, so in that sense I’m incredibly sad to have missed the event. I’ll be brushing up my skills for any more networking events that come my way.

There wasn’t a session on Friday, due to the fact the ladies had films to shoot! Stay tuned for next week where, along with some filming updates, we had a lesson on submitting our films to festivals…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Nine

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme was a mix of some final pre-production preparation and an insight into post-production editing, with a little help from the puppetry shorts complete last week! Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Nine

Week Nine was a rather exciting one here at From Her Point Of View, in that the ladies are very nearly ready to begin shooting their films! Initial auditions for both films have been held, with callbacks and more to come.

I was thrilled to see that the Blood Warriors production crew had such an amazing response to advertising their auditions: there were upwards of twenty young women of all different looks and personalities from different backgrounds and with different skillsets. Myself, Ellie and Rosa  all remarked how surreal but brilliant it was that somewhere in this room Blood Warriors would find their three leading ladies.

The auditions felt pretty relaxed, using some of the techniques Esther had taught us about Intention and Obstacle, but tying these in with games and scenarios to see how the actors interact with one another – important given that Rosa’s film [Blood Warriors] has a central three-way friendship that underpins it. I was blown away by the level of talent and rather sad I wasn’t able to attend call-backs!

The auditions process for Black Cherry was much more intimate: involving a read through of Kam’s script and being asked a few questions, all on film. The auditions I attended were brilliant, but I think it was decided that they needed more time to focus on finding their leads, specifically [the character of] Ange. That in mind, more auditions were pencilled in for this evening

Now with initial auditions out of the way, Thursday’s session involved the final nuts and bolts of pre-production prep: shooting dates were locked in for both films, shot lists and storyboards finalised, call sheets [were] put together. Blood Warriors had sorted out their location for their first day of shooting and were busy putting together an event to publish on social media to attract extras for the crowds. Black Cherry were also coming together to go through their next steps ahead of shooting, including catching up on where things stood in relation to sets, costume and locations, before heading off to meet more of their prospective cast members and audition them!

Friday’s workshop saw us reunite with all the puppet brilliance we’d created last week, to have a go at editing! We had to [look through] every single piece of footage, known as rushes, find the shots we liked best, and edit them into a unique film. This was probably the only time in the history of the course so far that I found the workshop difficult, given that I personally found the software really fiddly and intricate to use that by the end I hadn’t produced anything I was happy sharing with the group. That being said, I did enjoy learning about the process and will practise more in future.

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Eight

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features a lesson in puppetry: both the creative scope it can lend to a project and practical puppet making techniques.  Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Eight

Week Eight brought with it the bonus of an extra session on Wednesday, a newcomer to the Blood Warriors crew, and our first session outside of Knowle West Media Centre! We headed to KWMC: The Factory, a space for all kinds of creative enterprise, including furniture making, signage, installations, exhibitions, and bespoke commissions.

We POV ladies would be receiving a masterclass in puppetry from Marc Parrett, whose company Monster World specialises in the making of all kinds of puppetry and animated theatrical props. Marc began by showing us a few of his creations, including a fuzzy felt mouse on rollerblades, a dog with a chainsaw in place of a head , a miniature version of Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors in bud form (the bigger, more maniacal plant, Audrey 2 is also a specialty!) and a smaller version of the puppet used in Bristol Old Vic’s 2016 production of The Snow Queen, which I was overjoyed to realise I’d watched. I’m a massive fan of theatre, and the design of sets, props and puppetry, like the kind Marc does, really excites and interests me.

I loved Art at school, but haven’t actually made anything arty or crafty for a good few years, so just on the basis of those two things alone I was incredibly excited to see what Marc had in store for us. On the other hand, my disability means I don’t have great co-ordination which is a bit of a challenge when doing a workshop like this. I needn’t have worried though, Marc was ever patient and accommodating.

We all started with two things: newspaper and tape. Marc talked us through the various stages of creation, and eventually after much folding, cutting and sticking, we each had the bare bodies and heads of our respective puppets. We could accessorise and animate them as we saw fit and the variety of individual characters we ended up with was pretty amazing, including a granddad, a manic chef, a punk rocker and a mummy!

After our creations were complete we did a little filming, just of all of us sitting round together having a mess around with our puppets. This sparked a plan for our second day…

The plan? Make a  short film featuring our eclectic cast of puppets!

Day Two with Marc was spent coming up with ideas for the film and delegating jobs when we were set on our vision. It was decided to emphasise the newspaper print aspect of our puppets and shoot in black and white, and we settled on the puppets being on a cruise where all kinds of shenanigans ensue, including a run in with a sea monster!

Some incredible props were made by the ladies, including a dining room table, a chandelier decorated with nuts and bolts and motorised fish main course, as well as the boat and waves. I gave Marc a hand with the sea monster, making the mechanism to move the head, and painting our creature.

On Day Three we filmed!

It was so much fun and I think we were all really proud of our achievements – and how much we achieved in such a short space of time with no set brief. Being let loose to have a bit of fun and create something from nothing is really liberating and I think I once again rediscovered my love of being arty, even though my disability sometimes means this is a little bit trickier for me!

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

We Can Make: Artist Reflections Part Three

Artist in residence Charlotte Biszewski is working on the We Can Make…Homes project, exploring how communities could play a leading role in developing new housing for their communities.

Charlotte’s Blog: Part Three

Time to hit the streets: Knowle West never saw it coming. Except they did, from a mile away, and it looked like a big blue ice cream trolley.

A bit of a backstory: so, this residency has been about two things, firstly getting to know how people in Knowle West relate to their homes and then getting them involved in creating a collaborative piece of art for the upcoming exhibition.

I wanted to open up questions of home and what makes home… well, ‘home’ really. I wanted to look at objects, what we surround ourselves with, how we adorn the place with live and why we do this. How the physical space inside our homes makes us feel ‘at home’. Admittedly it has been a bit of a challenge – to get people to let me in their homes and have a nose around really.

I couldn’t imagine that asking up-front would work. So I built a mobile cyanotype unit using a bike trailer; it was something I could take door to door, asking people to bring me an object and take part in making long wallpaper hangings. This is how a typical encounter looked:

Knock Knock.

‘Yes?’

‘Hello, my name is Charlotte, I work at the Media Centre.’

The door remains ajar, the owner unwilling to open it fully to this stranger, who has just turned up at their house uninvited. There is a silence.

‘Do you know it? Yes? Well I work there, I am an artist. I am creating a large wallpaper hanging. In my trailer here I have wallpaper covered in this photographic formula.’

I bring out my scraggly piece of tattered blue demonstration wallpaper – it shows the silhouettes of coat hangers and lace curtains, captured in the deep blue of cyanotype. They look at me curiously – untrusting but interest.

‘I’m sorry we already have wallpaper and we don’t want to buy anymore.’

‘No, I’m not selling it, I am making it. I am asking residents of Knowle West to bring me an object. I put it in the trailer, and I expose the silhouette onto the wallpaper, it will be a long hanging artwork out of everyone’s objects from the area. It will be exhibited in the Media Centre in May.’

They pause, their face continues to be unimpressed, dead-pan.

We wait like that for a few seconds, me expecting them to slam the door on my face, or tell me to politely jog-on.

Hang on a minute! They turn back for a minute and return, triumphant-looking, with a child’s toy/ glass ornament/ frog statue/ brass ring/ some strange cooking implement.

‘Will this do?’

And then we put it in the trailer and wait for ten minutes. In this ten minutes we are locked into a conversation. In this time they tell me their stories. Their lives in Knowle West, how they came to acquire the object, the way their neighbourhood has changed, their successes in Weight Watchers, the pain of losing a partner, mother, son, the difficulties in finding a job, a place to live, a recent pregnancy. They show me war medals, Crufts awards, trinkets, gifts, tools and cups of tea. I am sniffed by a hundred different pugs, poodles, dobermans and a Jack Russell who licks my leg for about 10 minutes.

The people of Knowle West are as generous with their personal life stories as they are with their offers of tea and biscuits. It has been eye-opening – not just to the objects and stories but the people behind each door who surprised me every time.

I’m looking forward to seeing it all now at the Test Space Launch on Thursday 11th of May…

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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