James Lancett

Originally from Wales illustrator and animator James Lancett graduated from Kingston University in  2011, and has since launched an increasingly impressive career in the arts world, with a warm and textured style that can’t fail you make you feel all fuzzy inside just looking at it.

Lancett’s showreel (see the video on the left hand side) shows some of his most recent animations, my personal favourites being Overcast, a rather sweet story about a cartoon character’s inability to get along in the real world due to an ever-present raincloud over his head, and The Diver, about a swimmers flights of fancy.

All of Lancett’s animations have a simple warmth and tone to them that carries across to all of his illustration work as well, which keeps on Lancett’s consistent style.

 

LINKS

Website

Vimeo

Tumblr/Blog

Twitter

Lancett is also currently represented by agency JellyLondon, and you can see his profile on their website here.

Joe Lord Photography

Now this lad has got a picture for everything, I found Joe Lord at University but he has been very busy since. His latest project being a self-publishing a book consisting of travel photos producing using the Lomography technique called Double Exposure.

From Joe

I’m a 22 year old freelance photographer & designer based in Burnley, Lancashire. I work for everyone from Record Labels to Vintage Boutiques. Recent clients include Alan Howard, the largest Salon supplier in the UK and their sponsored brands Fudge, Joiyco, Matrix and Sexy Hair. I’ve also designed 2 new t-shirt concepts due to be back from the fashion house I’ve commissioned to create them. I recently became the CEO of an Enterprise connected with SomewhereTo_ which is a huge company that works with 16 to 25 year olds and is partnered with Youtube, Channel 4 and James Kaan from Dragon’s Den.

So tell us about this latest project, how did these travel photos come about? and self-publishing thats got to be hard?

The photos and the story behind them is part of the book! I broke up with my long-term girlfriend and couldn’t bare the thought of running into her on nights out or when I do my shopping etc. So I had to escape, and travelling to see friends and family across the country/world. Self publishing would be hard if I didn’t have Kickstarter to help fund me!

How would you describe your creative style? How did it develop? You took multimedia design at uni yes?

 My creative style for design is very bold lines, part influenced by graffiti and urban art, part baroque and regal. I attended 2 years of uni but left due to family becoming unwell. The time that I have spend in-between helping my family out has been used to start freelancing and pursuing projects like this!

 

Tell us about your favourite project to date? and why?

Alot of the work I’ve been doing for Alan Howard has been good. Producing my first video project and the client being such a big name has been a huge career booster… And getting to work with beautiful models is always a plus.

Whats your next project going to be? I am sure you have one in mind.

My next project starts in 2 days time on sunday. I’m producing a shortfilm for an E4 competition. I’m expanding the project so that I can produce a music video with the footage so if I son’t win the comp I still have portfolio work.

If you could design something for Gola? Describe it for us?

Gola would be a great company to design for! I’ve always loved the Greek God Herme’s winged sandals. I know Jeremy Scott did a winged trainer for Adidas but in my opinion the designs were poorly thought out. I’d love to create winged trainers for Gola in my own style.

What can we do to find out more about you?

A great place to keep up with my experimental photos (and shameless selfless) is my instagram: @Joetry and my personal blog CashmereAndConfidence.tumblr.com And also my photography site flicker.com/joetry

I think Joe is going to very busy in the next few years spreading his wings and being involved in a lot more exciting projects to come. Keep an eye out and feel free to contribute to his photo book its well worth it and look at some of the other projects on kickstarter might find something interesting.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joetry/real-love-fake-holga

Ben Garfield

Let me introduce you all to one talented film director, Mr Ben Garfield. Ben Garfield is a London based award-winning freelance film director, writer, cameraman and editor. It is safe to say Ben is more than a triple threat. After studying Drama and Screen Studies at university, it is clear that Ben understands the language of the cinema, and how to make an enchanting film.

After recently working at Sundance film festival in London, I discovered one of Ben’s videos ‘Homey’ on their website. I needed to view more of Ben’s work. I went onto his website, and soon I found myself addicted to Ben’s short and sweet narratives http://vimeo.com/bengarfield. I wanted to share with you guys two of my favourite films by Ben; Homey and Modern Conversation.

Modern Conversation is a hilarious short film, about how the iPhone generation cannot have a conversation without checking into Facebook, live tweeting about your convo, Instergramming, liking, hashtagging, tagging and Snapchatting pictures to your friend who is sitting right next to you. I am one hundred per cent sure every person can relate to these two brilliant characters.

Homey had me glued to my seat for the films three minuet length, following a tense game of British Bulldog. I found myself biting my nails in hope that the 8-year-old young boy Bertie would make it to the other side of the playground safe and sound. Ben’s creativity and amusing short films have not gone unnoticed. Homey has been chosen as part of the Official Selections at the BFI Future Film Festival 2013, Sundance London’s 2013 Short Film Competition, the St Albans Film Festival 2013 and British Shorts Berlin 2013.

 

I got the chance to ask Ben a few questions about his career, love for film, and plans for the future.

So you studied Drama and Screen Studies at The University of Manchester. You clearly knew from a young age that you wanted to get involved in the film industry. Where has this love and passion for filmmaking stemmed from?

I always loved film but it was only on the course that I actually developed any serious ambitions to become a writer/director. I had a couple of very inspiring tutors – David Butler and Johannes Sjoberg – and around that time I started dating a girl who really loved her cinema too. Their passion rubbed off on me and I started to see film in a new light.

I actually only ended up on the screen studies course in a roundabout way – I switched from philosophy after my first year at Manchester as I wanted to do something more creative, so I took a punt on it. I’m pleased I did!

How did you come up with the narrative of Modern Conversation? From your frustrated experience of modern technology?

I didn’t actually come up with the narrative. It was written and performed by the wonderful Mixed Doubles, a London based comedy sketch group (you can find out more about them at http://www.mixed-doubles.co.uk/media). I did all the film stuff for it – produced, directed, shot, edited etc.

I agree it’s a very poignant sketch. Modern technology seems to allow you to be everywhere and with everyone at the same time – before long that can lead to an overload. It’s an easy trap to fall into! Ironically the sketch itself led us to spend an unhealthy amount of time online. We entered it into The Dave Leicester Comedy Shorts competition, where there was a prize for the most views on YouTube. Consequently we pretty much turned into those characters promoting it like mad on Twitter and Facebook!

What made you want to create ‘Homey’?

 I remember the inspiration for it coming one day as I was crossing the Holloway Road in London. It’s a busy road and, although I wasn’t actually in any real danger, as I got to the island in the middle I got a rush, a feeling of “I’m safe! I made it!” The sensation triggered a memory of playing British bulldog in the school playground and the relief of getting to the other side. I got to thinking it could work well as a film and be something others could relate to.

Is the game of British bulldog an allegory?

I think you can look at the narrative whichever way you like really. I wanted to capture something of the goldfish bowl mentality of it, and show how seriously we all took games when we were younger. I based a lot of the shots on the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. To the kids, it’s a war.

I think you can apply that to grown-ups too. It raises interesting questions for me about how seriously we regard the events in our everyday lives.

What does it feel like as a filmmaker to have your work not only noticed, but also nominated for awards by massive institutions such as BFI and Sundance London?

Homey got on the official selection shortlists for those though it didn’t win the awards unfortunately! It’s great to get noticed by those institutions. Having your film screened at the BFI in front of a packed cinema is always exciting.

What tips would you give young people trying to break into the film industry? 

I think the best thing you can do if you want to start making films is to not be afraid to make that first step and get a project underway. For my first short film the cast and crew were recruited entirely through Internet networking sites, none of whom I’d previously met. Before that I felt like I’d been waiting around for things to fall into place too long, like I’d do a job as a runner and I’d meet the perfect producer, then at the next job I’d meet a brilliant cinematographer. When that didn’t happen I decided to just do it off my own back and with sites like Casting Call Pro and Shooting People it’s all possible.

So my advice is to believe in your project and go for it.

What have you got planned for the future?

 A few things. I’ve shot some more sketches with Mixed Doubles which will be out soon. You can like their Facebook page to stay in the loop about those: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mixed-Doubles/390702900983297?ref=ts&fref=ts

I’ve also directed a music video for Hypeman Sage and Subculture Sounds, which we’re editing at the moment. It’s an exciting one, there’s a great team behind the project and the rushes have come out well. I’m looking forward to getting it out there!

Short film-wise I’ve just finished the script for my next film. It’s the longest to date and will probably come in around the 15 minute mark. Now I’ve got to start thinking about getting it off the ground…

Just like the two amazing ladies in Modern Conversation would do, go and tweet, share, like and retweet Ben’s brilliance.

http://www.bengarfield.com/

Fresh Loaf Productions

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard about Fresh Loaf in the last few months. Throughout Manchester, people have praised their creativity and tipped them off as something exciting.

Fresh Loaf are an independent theatre and film group based in Manchester. They are yet another reminder that Manchester is growing into a city of creativity, perhaps more exciting than anywhere else in the UK. Fresh Loaf is not only a  fantastic production company in a thriving city; each of the members are committed and passionate about their work. So far they have explored projects in theatre (Stacy, Hand Over Fist) and film (Coastal Shelf).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Joe Mellor, who told us even more about Fresh Loaf and the exciting things we can come to expect from them in the future!

 

Could you tell us a bit about Fresh Loaf! 

Fresh Loaf are a group of 5 Drama graduates from The University of Manchester who are all extremely passionate about making theatre and film.

We aim to create stories with high production values on a minimal budget. Our ethos is that a lack of financial backing should not hinder us from making high quality professional work.

After meeting  at university and setting up the Manchester comedy night Funbox, the team behind Fresh Loaf was created…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Laura Woodward is a director/actress who deals predominantly in theatre. She directed the last stage production we did, called ‘Stacy’. Jade Greyul is a director/actress/camerawoman who used to deal predominately with theatre, but now does a great amount of film work. She directed the last film which we did called ‘Coastal Shelf’. Ollie Kerswell is an actor/editor/cameraman and did the majority of the editing for ‘Coastal Shelf’. Although Ollie has been very strong on stage in the past, he looks most happy at the moment when sitting on his laptop, beautifully piecing the shots of film together. Joe Mckie is an actor/writer who wrote ‘Coastal Shelf’. Joe also wrote our current film. Joe’s last play went to Edinburgh last year and did very well. Joe Mellor is an actor/director who deals predominantly in theatre. he acted in ‘Stacy’ which got selected for National Student Drama Festival. He is currently acting in ‘Hello, my name is…’ and directing Helena Davies in our latest piece of theatre, ‘Hand Over Fist’.

Now that we have met the team behind Fresh Loaf, lets find out a bit about their productions…

Our last performance was called ‘Stacy’. It was written by Jack Thorne, who is an incredible playwright (he’s written for Shameless, Skins, This is England etc). This production was selected by National Student Drama Festival, which is a festival that showcases the ten ‘best’ productions nationally by a team under the age of 25. The response was passionate – people were definitely stirred by the piece.

One thing which did please us greatly, is that we won Spotlight’s ‘Best Actor’ award whilst we were there. So both myself and my director left very happy.

The second piece we developed  is a monologue called ‘Hand Over Fist’. This is a production part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. This piece tells the story of a lady called Emily who is trying to fight through her Alzheimer’s to remember how her first love began. But, rather than it being depressing and emotive, it’s risky and darkly humorous. This one has been challenging for me as a director, as I really have to tread the line carefully with it being such a delicate issue.

Fresh Loaf’s first film, Coastal Shelf, was also premiered at the Cornerhouse earlier this year and it was described as a ‘triumph’. Therefore it is no surprise that it features in the team’s proudest achievements:

I think Joe, Ollie and Jade were most proud when their film, Coastal Shelf, was screened at the Cornerhouse to a full audience and incredible reviews.

I guess myself and Laura have been most proud that we won the ‘Best Actor’ award for Stacey. This was most definitely a team effort, as a monologue can only successfully work with a very strong actor/director relationship.

What are your hopes for the future?

Although we’re very please with what we’ve made, everything has been relatively small scale. Monologues are great but we want to do a large scale production with a large cast and larger budget. Therefore our hopes are to get some great reviews under our belt to make it easier to apply for Arts Council Funding.

We’re now on the radar for a few different theatres and companies (The Lowry, Slung Low, Transport, etc) so it would be great if they were to ask us to tour our work to their venues.

 

So what’s next for you guys?

At the moment we have a film called ‘Hello, my name is…’ This is a two minute short film for the Virgin Media competition!

 

So why not keep an eye out for the up and coming productions and films coming from Fresh Loaf? It’s great to find a group of people who are prepared to work 9-5 in order to fuel their passion for film and theatre. As they have started to establish contacts in the theatre world, perhaps through reading this article you will be encouraged to attend one of their shows and show your support? Either way, the next year looks extremely exciting for them.

 

Visit Fresh Loaf at:

The Fresh Loaf Website

Facebook

Or tweet them at @freshloafprods

Ellie Ragdale

Ellie Ragdale is a stop motion animator based in Sheffield. As well as creating her beautiful and intricate films, Ellie is also on a mission to bring the creation of animated film to the masses, running workshops for children and planning film screenings designed to bring the Sheffield creative community together. Find out all about her and her work below.

Ellie has been making animations since her final year studying Drama and Screen at the University of Manchester, when she managed to persuade her tutor to let her take a new second year module in animation. She had always been interested in animated film, having loved shows like Pingu and Camberwick as a child, but says it was the inspirational teaching of Barry Purves, the module leader and acclaimed stop motion animator, that made her realise just how passionate she was about it. Ellie threw herself into the course with enthusiasm, making her first film, Tim the Tiny Horse, a project focussing on adapting fantasy texts for screen and based on the stories of comedian Harry Hill.

Ellie says that the reason stop motion animation appealed to her so greatly is because it allows her to combine her two loves, namely making things and making films. Her films encompass a variety of styles and techniques (such as puppet animation, pixilation and papercraft) and she cites her influences as not only children’s stop motion television programmes, but also the “non-polished, handmade aesthetic” of director Michel Gondry.

After graduation, Ellie found work experience with a variety of different filmmakers, companies and festivals, including working with Broken Pixel animator Ashley Dean on two music videos (Gazpacho’s Black Lily and Fossil Collective’s Let It Go, which won best music video at the 2012 Aesthetica Film Festival). She continued to create her own films and in the summer of 2012, through what she describes as ‘almost coincidence’, began to make films with musician and friend Andrew Anderson. The pair’s skills complimented each other perfectly, with Andrew’s original compositions providing the ideal score for Ellie’s animations. Their first film, You Let Me Down Again, was a music video for Andrew’s band Proto Idiot, and has since been shown at the London Short Film Festival. Since then, they have worked on several films together, including The Animal Arkhive, for which they received funding though IdeasTap and permission to use sound effects from the British Libraries sound archive.

Ellie’s says that her plans for the future are to continue working with Andrew under their company ‘Peck Films’. Their aim is to secure commissions to make animated shorts for companies, as well as to continue to make their own films. Recently, Ellie has also begun to teach animation as part of the Kids Art Academy afterschool club sessions around Sheffield. Through Sheffield-based community arts charity Art in the Park and somewhereto_ (a nation-wide Olympic legacy scheme that focuses on connecting young people aged 16-25 with free space to do the things they love) Ellie secured funding through O2’s ‘Think Big’ grant, meaning that she was able the run a series of animation workshops in more disadvantaged areas of the city and, as a continuation of this, last month had her application bid for O2’s ‘Think Bigger’ fund accepted. As a result, this Autumn she plans to stage an immersive cinema screening event for children. Ellie says that she wants it to be a community event, showcasing the work of local children created in a series of workshops leading up to the event, and involving other young creative people like herself “to combine a variety of skills and talents and make this event something really special and unique”

For more information about Ellie’s work, visit her Vimeo page or follow her on Twitter.

Danny Cooke

Danny Cooke’s films celebrate unique artists and Great British tradition. The featured video is a short which captures David A. Smith’s journey as he creates an album cover for American musician John Mayer. David is a traditional ornamental glass artist and Cooke’s film reveals how much time, skill and passion goes into his work. In a similar vein is the short film Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film, which is about the technique of letter press printing and how it is currently enjoying a revival in popularity, perhaps as a response to the fast progression of the digital age.

http://vimeo.com/35688592

Danny Cooke is a freelance filmmaker, cinematographer and editor based in Torquay, Devon. As well as the films I have described above Danny is also involved in the production of music videos and in promotional work, visit his website by following the link below for more details.

http://www.dannycooke.co.uk/

Danny’s style of filming is often intimate and romantic – an effect achieved through the use of lingering, close-up shots of facial expressions and hand movements. He also favours striking musical accompaniments over naturalistic use of sound and this contributes to the immersive nature of his films.

Ahoy! Animation

Dynamic lines,  atmospheric imagery, humour and imaginative narrative are all at the heart of good animation, and new collective of artists ticks every box. I’d like to introduce to you, Ahoy!, a collective on animators set up by Oana Nechifor and Peter Shaw of Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

Ahoy! is the ECA winner of the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises, a very competitive award for a £10,000 business grant focusing specifically on creative industries in design. The founders of the collective, Oana Nechifor and Peter Shaw have worked hard to make their idea become a reality, and now have given themselves the opportunity to continue working within the field of animation, as well as supporting other up and coming animators who share their passion and talent.

Although Ahoy! is a newly founded business, both Oana and Peter have had very successful films and projects during their time as ECA students.

Notably, Peter and Oana among other students Farah Ahmad, Amy Shields, Miryam Lacey, and Gavin Robinson were given the opportunity to animate short 5 minute films that were broadcast last November on BBC Scotland, as part of a series titled ‘Addicted to Pleasure’ hosted by Brian Cox, which investigated how the brain and body are affected by different substances such as sugar, alcohol and tobacco.

Alongside this, Peter and Oana both produced beautiful short films for their final year show at ECA.

Peter made Lagan, a film about a fisherman and his son full of magical realism and apocalyptic atmosphere. This will be shown at the Edinburgh Filmhouse as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 26th, alongside other films eligible for the McLaren Award in New British Animation.

Oana Nechifor also made a stunning film called The House with No Doors, exploring the life of the character Jon who lives his life as a hermit and whose only escape is through imagination and the arrival of a little bird. The film, which is also eligible for the McLaren Award, will be shown at the Filmhouse on the 21st of June.

Please take a look at the Ahoy! show-reel and stay tuned with them to find out what will be happening next.

From the Sea to the Land Beyond

My love for the cinema led me to be given the amazing opportunity of working at Sundance Film Festival in London. I got to see some amazing films as one of the great perks of the job. Whilst working I was lucky enough to witness the unusual collaboration of director Penny Woolcock’s and the Brighton-based sextet British Sea Power’s film From the Sea to the Land Beyond.

As I took my seat in the Indio music venue at the o2 arena, I was not sure what to expect- a screening or a gig? When the lights darkened, and the crowd chatter softened, out walked six silhouettes. The mysterious silhouettes took their seats next to their instruments on the front of the stage. The band began to slowly introduce soft seaside sounds, and the silent film began to play. British Sea Power brought to life the silent narrative and From the Sea to the Land Beyond took my imagination back to what I image the early cinema to be like- watching a silent visual, accompanied by a live orchestral score. This feeling of being in the early 1900s was also visually enhanced by the footage Woolcock edited together.

From the Sea to the Land Beyond is a film/ documentary about the British coast, which depicts our British love for the seaside. Woolcock made and edited the film through sourcing one-hundred years of film heritage and footage stored in the British Film Institute. Woolcock weaves together the BFI’s footage of the coastline, transforming audiences into experience World War I and II, and allowing audiences to witness the end of Empire and a decline in industry. Woolcock also takes audiences to across the country from Blackpool to Brighton, and to beauty pageants and to beachside parades. Woolcock documents the rich history Britain, the British coastline and British cinema has. These rare visuals are not something that you see everyday, and were reminiscent of some of Sergei Eisenstein’s films I have watched, such as Battleship Potemkin– except not nearly as harrowing, nor full of dark tones, but being more reminiscent due to Woolcock’s use of montage. Woolcock accompanies these images with the musical score by British Sea Power. British Sea Power’s musical skills brings the footage alive through the combination of a musical soundtrack and natural soundtrack such as the sound of wind, seagulls, and ships, allowing for audiences to escape into the British seaside.

It is unsurprising that this film has naturally gone down well with crowds and critics, such as Catlin Moran in The Times, [I] fell down a dream. From the Sea to the Land Beyond really was something else”. This is a film not to be missed.

For more info on this unusual film, check out;

The official website:

http://www.landbeyond.co.uk/

Watch the live launch:

http://thespace.org/items/e00016c4?t=cmbx7

To buy and watch the film:

http://filmstore.bfi.org.uk/acatalog/info_24996.html

Luiz Stockler

Animation is a difficult game, and one that takes a great deal of time and talent to do even a little of. But when done well, a nicely executed animation can be more arresting and memorable than any simple illustration or art piece. And Luiz Stockler certainly manages to capture the enviable trio of success in his work: style, skill, and (when needed) emotion.

Vovô is my personal favourite example of his work, and it won a variety of awards after it’s first screening in 2011. It’s a heartfelt and very touching short film recounting Luiz’s memories of his Brazilian grandfather – vovô meaning granddad in Portuguese. The style is simple and sketchy, but has a beautiful tone that makes it a powerful piece of animation. However being his graduate film for the University of Wales that he made over two years ago now, Luiz has since moved on to some other really interesting projects, including a looped animation display for RCA’s 2013 Work In Progress show.

Presently Luiz has just (as of two hours previous to me writing this very article) finished Montenegro, his MA graduation film for the Royal College of Art- a film about a young man going through severe depression and anxiety because he’s slowly losing his hair (it also features a brief cameo from Zinedinne Zedan). I have yet to see the final film, but am sure it will live up to the high standard set by his previous work.

You should also take a look at his illustration and sketchbook work, they have a real sketchiness and sense of wit to them that’s lovely to see. Also all of the work mentioned above can be found via the links at the bottom of the page, so go take a looksie.

 

What’s the most recent update on your latest film Montenegro?

Ummm…I’ve literally finished it about an hour ago…YES!

What would you say is the biggest inspiration for you and your work?

I’m pretty inspired by the small things I notice in the everyday world around me. Situations and the humour or poignancy in them. Also, i get ideas from things I read or hear, poetic phrases or combinations of words resonate with me quite a lot, my illustrations have a strong relationship with words. Most of my work generally starts off as being a series of anecdotes that I have written down in my book, sort of like sketches, and at some point I get them all together and write something with it

Your illustrations are also really accomplished pieces with a great sense of style- was choosing between animation and illustration, or even fine art perhaps, ever a significant choice for you?

Actually no. ‘Art’ or ‘Fine Art’ always sounded so serious to me – As a kid, the idea of people scratching their chins before deciding to pay ridiculous amounts for a pile of bricks seemed insane. I just liked making comics and drawing obscene things in my books. Then I discovered Hiroshige and Lowry when I was about 15, that totally changed my perspective on what was ‘Art’. The little people in Hiroshige’s paintings reminded me of Herge’s drawings in the Tintin books. There was playfulness and humour (just like the pile of bricks…) and these were drawings from a few hundred years ago. I remember thinking how amazing they were. But yeah…fine art never crossed my mind really…I love art so much and I get a lot of inspiration from painters, sculptors etc..but it still sounds too serious now. Animation/illustration, a lot of the time, makes me think of childhood and fun…which is awesome

What does the immediate future hold for your career?

I’m graduating at the end of the month from the Royal College of Art so I guess I’ll be freelancing (unemployed) until further notice…but hopefully Montenegro will get into some festivals and I can travel and with it and see audiences enjoy it…or not

And finally, do you have any favourite musicians or bands you like to listen to whilst working?

Lately I have been rinsing the new Daft Punk album – Random Access Memories, its really great. I also listen to a lot of Devendra Barnhart. When I really need to concentrate and focus, I prefer to listen to podcasts rather than music – Radiolab has kept me entertained the past few weeks, you can learn a lot whilst animating

LINKS

Website

Vimeo

Tumblr/Blog

Twitter

Jo Peel

Jo Peel’s ‘Pipe Dreams’ is the largest mural completed by an individual artist.

Urban decay and construction are the main subjects of London artist Jo Peel’s drawing and animation. Her vibrant and creatively dynamic canvases suggest an attunement between the individual and the cityscape; despite the decay of the environment, her art makes it clear that it is very much the place where the heart is situated.

There is no denying the “inviting warmth” and “nostalgic feel” attributed to her work but in taking in the broad vistas she illustrates, what becomes most visible is the presence of a strong socio-cultural critique. Her site profile states that Jo “creates a dialogue by accurately recording the urban landscape in front her”. She does so “by leaving in the elements of construction and decay”; a stylistic gesture which embeds a “rawness and reality that pin-points a moment in time”. This dialogue is also the tension between the creative vibrancy of the artist and the dullness of the city.

Jo is a significant force in the urban contemporary art scene and a member of the internationally Scrawl Collective. Her most recent work is the animated short ‘Pipe Dreams’, a visual record of the process of decay as represented by a simple scrap of paper. Painted on a five-story building, ‘Pipe Dreams’ is the largest mural completed by an individual artist. It was created over the course of three months and uses a shipping container and a decommissioned double-decker bus as part of its mixed media.

Facebook
Twitter
Prints
Website

Mat Johns

Mat Johns

When Mat saw Terminator 2 at eight years old, he was suddenly hit with a desire to act, be a stuntman and do special effects. It was a few years later, after writing and directing films at college, that he realised what he really wanted to do.

Mat is a filmmaker in Manchester who first came into his own at age 17 when he had his film screened at an event that inspired him to keep on going. Now he has gone from self-made films, to collaborative films with amazing crews. Mat has started to learn that collaborating is what truly makes a great film and focuses on the writing, directing and editing – instead of taking up every single job! However, his ability to have expertise in different areas of film helps Mat’s films achieve greatness. He is particularly proud of Kiss: a film that brings together a loner and a sex worker under unusual circumstances and Run, the story of a man, Sam, who writes a letter home to his mother. His films are heart-rendering and dark. They draw the audience into the narrative, through complex layers, before spitting them back into the real world. The images are clear and crisp, beautifully edited. His films are truly works of art.

Mat has quite a few exciting projects coming up: from a film called Radio Silence – the story of a woman surviving at the end of the world with nothing but a CB radio; a film noir music video that was shot in Holland;  3 sixteen second shorts for Four4 competition and a VMS entry called ‘When I’m 64’. With all of this on the horizon, it’s easy to see where Mat’s success is coming from!

Mat’s ambition is explained best by himself, ‘My biggest ambition is to direct truly cinematic films that have all the bells and whistles of a high-end production but with wonderful, engaging stories at their core. I am fascinated by the schizophrenic nature of beauty and violence and how they live side by side in the same world… I want to make films that reflect that.’

It is so very often that we see films that appear fantastic but have no heart. Mat’s films are different from this and perfect the art of storytelling. It will be exciting to see where he ends up in the next few years, and hopefully we will be seeing films that are beautiful from the screen down to their very core!

 

Storm Freerun and Visive Productions

Recently, whilst visiting the Southbank, I’ve been noticing a lot of freerunners – mostly young men, who use the city’s architecture as a playground to perform incredible feats of gymnastics. It occurred to me that the showmanship of their sport would make for an excellent short film. However, as with most of my good ideas, somebody already thought of it. Step forward Visive productions and Storm Freerun.

Visive Productions are a production company based in Kent and Storm Freerun are a professional London Parkour team who are now regularly releasing footage of their skills through Visive. The featured video to the left; ‘Storm Freerun London Jam 2013’, is their most recent collaboration (at the time of writing) and is a compilation of London’s top Parkour spots and the people who practice their art there. This community of people have clearly spent many, many hours learning their skill, and this contributes to the attraction of their performance although, in itself, freerunning is mesmerising to watch. Storm have also released tutorial videos showing potential freerunners how to utilise different spaces and they even have their own brand of freerun apparel.

Visive Productions utilise montage, vastly different angles and slow-motion to best display the stunts being performed by the freerunners. Visive have shown a knack for portraying athletes, their previous videos include footage of gymnasts and cyclists, as well as freerunners, who are all filmed in a way that highlights the joy that the athletes are feeling rather than prioritising any competitive element of their sport. For a better idea of what Visive do or if you want to generally feel great about life follow this link:

http://vimeo.com/56018911

For Visive’s official website click here:

http://www.visiveproductions.com/