Looping the Loop – Sat 19th May 2012

We’re excited that Cote D’Azur is screening as part of Looping the Loop this Saturday. Looping the Loop is the North West’s opening event for London 2012, celebrating the start of Games Time in the UK on 19 May.

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More Screenings?! Watch this space….

I was thinking back to when we screened the film at the Manchester Velodrome and how wonderful it was watching the cyclists come off the track to watch the film on the velodrome screen in their cycling gear… 

This led us to thinking about screening the film again grass roots/ pop-up style. It feels like the right time, with the Olympics coming up and we’re all inspired by the Dev2Del crossplatform programme at Stoke Your Fires Festival where Sandi Dubrowski encouraged us as filmmakers to get out there, connect with audiences and self-distribute films, empowering contributors en route. Recently we were at the Manchester Histories Festival and got chatting to some sport science academics at MMU who suggested that we submit an asbtract to an annual conference and screen the film. Apparently they are looking for something new and the journey to making this film sounded interesting to them. A bit of planning and connecting is required but… watch this space.

Thanks for Sheffield Doc Fest and xolabs for the inspiration.

Related:

Cycle in cinema: http://coolbikevideos.com/cycle-in-cinema-magnificent-revolution/

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Cote D’Azur @andfestival 2011: experience is everything….

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We were overjoyed to hear that Cote D’Azur was picked for the Abandon Normal Devices Festival. We headed over to Fact in Liverpool to watch the shorts screening one Saturday morning in early October 2011, only to be told that our film wasn’t going to be screened! You can imagine our disappointment… until, we were told afterwards that the film got pulled from the screening because… its been selected for screening at the Olympic Games Big Screens and Live Sites 2012 which means that the film might go from 100 people experiencing it to 100,000! :). I wonder if this will be a bit like when we screened the film at the Manchester Velodrome as cyclists rode around the track but with lots more people!

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Despite the film not being screened that day, it was well worth the trip. We enjoyed wandering around the Andfestival trail, checking in on the various art and film installations on offer around the city. In particular we loved catching a glimpse of David Shrigley in action at his tattoo salon and getting totally mind warped by Kurt Hentschläger’s Zee installation.

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We enjoyed lunch at the very chilled out independent Bold Street Coffee before heading over to The Bluecoat to watch a live video stream from the LevelFive performance workshop ‘inspired by the self-actualization seminars that first became popular in the 1970s‘. Participants had spent a whole weekend creating new characters and abiding by the rules of this seemingly cult phenomenon. We enjoyed watching Dave Mee of Madlab live on this very strange show.

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Before heading home, we couldn’t resist getting our feet nibbled by some funny little fish. Not part of Andfestival but might as well have been for the unique and strange experience.

All in all a weekend of uncomfortable and inspired experiences! Next stop York and the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

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@Branchage Film Festival – last of the summer sun…

View from the plane

Jersey is famous for its cows, its butter and its independent status and four years and counting, the Branchage Film Festival, is another Jersey gem. Our film, Cote’DAzur was screening in the Documentary Shorts programme.

We flew from Manchester and stayed at the Royal Yacht Hotel which was slap bang opposite the Festival’s Spiegel Tent. After getting our tickets and festival pass from the Festival office, we strolled around in the sunshine before heading to see the wonderfully bizarre Errol Morris documentary, Tabloid.

Sound installation

Ahead of our screening we wandered along the beach out to Elizabeth Castle which you can reach at low tide by walking across the beach. At the castle we loved Variable 4, an outdoor sound installation in which the weather along the jersey coastline is transformed into a sound composition.

We then enjoyed some Jersey icecream before our film screened at the Pomme D’Or Hotel.

On the last night of the festival we were enchanted by the closing film, The Great White Silence (1911) which charts Scott’s epic Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole on film. Pioneering cinematographer, Herbet Ponting was given a brief to capture penguins on film. A reworking of the footage into this documentary underscored by a classical composition poignantly tells the story of how Scott and his team were beaten by the Norwegians to the South pole and  perished on their return to base. We were treated to seeing the film played alongside a live rendition of the music by the Elysian quartet.

We had a fantastic time in Jersey. Having a film in the festival was a great way to explore the island. We certainly hope we’ll have more films that take us back to this lovely place where we caught the last of the summer sunshine and came home with some Jersey black butter and a unique and memorable experience. Next stop Liverpool and the Andfestival!

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#FilmFestivals here we come…. @Branchage @ANDfestival @asffest @NWfilmarchive

looking back

This morning we are packing to get to Jersey as the life of the film begins again. We’re really excited that Cote D’Azur will be screened at three great UK Film festivals, starting tomorrow!

Branchage Festival, Jersey
Sunday 25th September 2011

Abandon Normal Devices Festival
FACT, Liverpool
Saturday 1st October 2011

Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York
3rd – 6th November 2011

One of the wonderful things about archive film is how it brings the past back to life. We hope the film goes some way to capturing this ethos both in how it is made and in the fact that it’s housed at the North West Film Archive for future generations to enjoy.

We’ll be going to all three screenings and blogging about the experience here. Hopefully a few contributors will be coming along too. We’re going to use the travelling time to dream about our next archive film – we’ve got a couple of ideas in the pipeline!

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Manchester Velodrome Screening

Screening at VelodromeFriday 1st October marked the return of Cote D’Azur to the velodrome in Manchester for a private screening to those who contributed. The film was fantastically received and we witnessed the same moment through out the screening as at the end of the film. The velodrome track is always in use, including the screening and watching the film while people whizzed passed was a surreal experience.

Screening at Velodrome

Audience

I’m really proud to have worked with these cyclists and grateful for the generosity and time given to us from the velodrome and North West Film Archive.

During our time at the velodrome we realised quickly it really is a special place for so many people; school kids to veterans, women and young hopefuls, the velodrome is a place for dreams and a place for community.

Caroline and Wally

Screening and Cyclist

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Whoops there it is….

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Irk! At BBC bar to see film screened for the first time!

Listen!

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Flâneur

I had my first meeting with the editor last week. He had a question as to whose story it was. I couldn’t completely answer him at the time, not because I have not thought about it but because I couldn’t express it in words. It was a good question to be asked, I took it back to the writer – we sat down and chatted about it and through conversation found a way to describe it.

I feel, with the footage and interviews we have, this is not a story about any one individual cyclist or even traditionally the cyclists as a group, instead this is a story about “an idea of a person” or archetypal character shaped by their environment who in many ways is the result of the world at that time. Its tricky to explain and has some similarities with the term Flâneur, which is no one person but came about through changes in society and modern history to enable such a person as an ideal and activity to exist.

There is a good description of the Flâneur here:

Flâneur” is a word understood intuitively by the French to mean “stroller, idler, walker.” He has been portrayed in the past as a well-dressed man, strolling leisurely through the Parisian arcades of the nineteenth century–a shopper with no intention to buy, an intellectual parasite of the arcade.

Its a bit of a leap, but the way I see it is that the 20thC. saw the birth of the cyclist. I don’t have a great deal of knowledge on this subject, however Kevin, the Sound Designer (originally from Manchester) said there are relations to Manchester’s history of industry and working in a factory all day, all week. The cycle gave people the freedom to escape the “dirty” city and enjoy the countryside without dependancy on anything else – just your own two feet. Indeed talking about this with the writer, she tells me that there are many instances in the interviews where people talk about cycling as a way for working class people to get from a to b. I’ll have to add a few quotes from the interviews to demonstrate this. There was so much in the film that didn’t quite make it and there is definitely a bigger story or world to explore. Erinma says she’ll blog about this.

My main point is that in conversation with the writer we came up with what we meant and could then convey it back to the editor. It moved us forward to making the film we wanted to make and being very clear about what it is and what it isn’t. This was also useful when it came to doing the sound design and explaining the concept to Kevin who asked the same question as the editor.

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Funny old world

On Friday I went with Kevin (sound designer) to the Velodrome so he could record the sounds he’d need to design the sound track. It was fun going back into the friendly world of the veterans (despite our various problems in being able to record clean sound) and I think Kev had fun returning to his Manc roots and topping up on a dose of northern friendliness.

Now that the film is nearly done I am looking forward to hear what audiences think about the film. It would have been good to have had an executive working on this film that could have given feedback on the fine cut. But it was really useful to get Kevin’s input to the film, as fresh eyes and ears, and i love his ideas for sounds that could be used to evoke a sense of the past and a collective memory.

A nice memento for me was this picture of Allen and me taken by Kev as we waited outside the veladrome for a taxi. Allen is one of the veterans who spotted me in the car park as me and Kev were leaving and he came over to excitedly show me a picture of one of the trainers with champion cyclist, Chris Hoy that he’d taken and had blown up.

I really hope the cyclists like the film and that we have remained true to their experiences and memories in how we have constructed a film. They were so generous to bring us into their world and to help us illuminate something of the past and translate it into the magic of cinema. There are loads of people to thank that helped make the film happen: The North West film Archive for example. I don’t think we could have ever conceived of the film if we hadn’t had access to footage.

We need a cast and crew screening of the film to round things off and to think about getting it into some film festivals.

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A Letter In Post

Today I sat down with the editor to get a full working sequence for the film. We managed it in 5 quickly paced hours (2 coffees helped me).

Thankfully I could walk into the edit suite this morning with the possibility to create the whole film, having spent most of Monday, Tuesday evening and a 6am start today with the writer. This accounted to knowing all the footage very well, having a theory of the structure and a conscious idea to what we could do with the V/O we have. As someone recently stated, you make your own luck with preparation.

Being a deaf director, one of my main blocks for developing the film was not having an audio transcript of the interviews. The writer was incredibly kind to write out the dialogue from the five interviews (a wooping 4ish hours!). As soon as I read it I connected again to the story, it was like someone turned the light on.

Going through this process of making a film through this scheme has given me a chance to test out all sorts of things, and as it turns out, i’ve identified problems and solutions for my disability that I just didn’t think before. This means next time I step into a project like this I know what I need. I know it seems obvious, but when you are thinking about everything to do with the production, its easy to bypass your usual needs.

Getting back to the point, I was prepared and in a good position to get the things we needed. I had a mock up to some of the film sequences and I knew we wanted the structure to mimic the training session at the velodrome; preparation – 1st track set – break – 2nd track set – break – 3rd track set – finish. Erinma, the writer, drew the timeline out shaped as a coil (see photo) and explained that the story could be three repetitions or loops told through the voice of three characters representing different points in time. Each loop or story builds on the last.

The archive footage naturally translated to the film as its very existence and motive for being created means there is a story. The velodrome footage was a little harder to cut at first as it existed more as a document of a present day cycling session, it didn’t have a history to it. What shaped our use of it instead was the structure of the session.

Our editor can naturally see time and sense and puts together shots beautifully at the right moments. Not being the person doing the edit for once meant I could relax and focus on the picture as a viewer rather than operating, this also really liberated my working in this film. Sometimes, when following a project all the way through it can be hard to see it objectively, todays edit really helped me to do this.

What’s next:

Our sound designer, Kevin Logan is coming to Manchester on Friday and will record original sound at Manchester Velodrome (who have been fantastic with accommodating us). We will then upload and work out the sound over the weekend ready for the editor to work on the grading and subtitles Monday evening.

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