A core part of the festival, we continue to show lost or hard to find films that have shaped or inspired the work of some of our friends and guests. With lively and impassioned chats afterwards, find a lost gem for yourself and get a feel for what these films have given others.
LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY
Werner Herzog / 1997 / Germany, UK, France / 80’
As The Act of Killing becomes this season's documentary sensation, we thought we would remind ourselves that the technique of getting real people to re-enact their own lives in documentary is a rich and well-trodden path. This film from 1997 is one of Herzog's best. It tells the story of air pilot Deiter Dengler who was forced to crash-land his jet during the Vietnam war, and suffered torture and starvation while chained to the bottom of a bamboo cage. The bulk of the film consists of footage from a trip Herzog took with Dengler back to Laos and Thailand to recreate his ordeal. Herzog hired locals to play the part of his captors and had Dengler retrace his steps while describing his escape.
THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS
Lars Von Trier and Jorgen Leth / 2003 / Denmark, Belgium / 90’
I get a flicker of vicarious excitement whenever I meet someone who hasn't seen this brilliant and mercurial collaboration between Lars Von Trier and legendary Danish filmmaker Jorgen Leth, in anticipation of the treat that awaits them. For me, it's one of the best portraits of a creative friendship, and also one of the most insightful glimpses into the nature of filmmaking and the paradoxical creative freedom that can come from constraint.
Over a drunken lunch, Lars invites his old friend Jorgen to remake one of his finest films, The Perfect Human, an obscure short he made in 1967. But there's a twist - can Jorgen remake it five times in five completely different ways, based on a range of increasingly devious 'obstructions' that Lars puts in his way? What follows is a continually surprising duel between the two men, with the obstructions only serving to drive Jorgen into increasingly creative territories and techniques, much to Lars' frustration and delight. But this is not just a game or an exercise, and as ever, there's method in Von Triers' madness. The whole process soon reveals itself to be a way for Lars to force his friend to confront a difficult truth about himself.
Alan Berliner / 1996 / USA / 60’
Alan Berliner takes on his reclusive father as the reluctant subject of this poignant and graceful study of family history and memory. What emerges is a uniquely cinematic biography that finds both humor and pathos in the swirl of conflicts and affections that bind father and son. Ultimately this complex portrait is a meeting of the minds - where the past meets the present, where generations collide, and where the boundaries of family life are pushed, pulled, stretched, torn and surprisingly at times, also healed.
GOOD BYE TO DENNIS O'ROURKE
I am probably one of the biggest Dennis O'Rourke fans around. He died this summer and so we are showing a rare video resume of his film career (probably unseen in the UK) put together with his partner Tracey Spring in which he shows clips from all his films and talks about them on camera.
Most of O'Rourke's films are controversial in some way. In his film about the sex industry in Bankok ("The Good Woman of Bankok") he tells the audience up front that he went there to seek love and solace after the break up of his marriage, and that is how he met Aoi the prostitute and main character in his film. Many audiences were horrified that he had slept with the prostitute he was filming, and as O'Rourke so eloquently wrote, he wanted to get away from the idea of the documentary film maker as a high priest with moral authority who shines a light on what is bad in the world, and says how we can make it better. Of course in 2013 we are seeing more and more of those types of film being made, and being told that if we boycott this, or only buy that then we will make the world a better place.
What was brilliant about "The Good Woman" is that by giving up all that moral power we see a fascinating struggle played out in front of us between the film maker and the prostitute. She has more power than she otherwise would because he is a punter and not just a film maker. Many film makers (including myself) have gone on to explore the relationship between the film maker and the subjects they film, but in my view nobody has done it better than Dennis O'Rourke.
Films large and small from around the world that have been chosen to inspire and challenge us. This year we open the festival with First Cousin Once Removed, the latest film from our special guest Alan Berliner, who is with us throughout the festival. Other films include David Needs to Fly, The End of Time, and a Herzog classic, as well as the best contemporary short films coming out of film schools in the UK.
FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED
Alan Berliner / 2012 / USA / 78'
(The Director will be joining us after the film)
“The mind can be blank and still be going. That's the trouble.”
Sometimes it seems that every filmmaker who ever had a close relative afflicted by Alzheimer's has picked up a camera to bring us the bad news. Well here's the good news: after First Cousin Once Removed, we can probably forget about all the rest.
Edwin Honig was a distinguished poet, a much-decorated translator of poetry, a ruthless critic, a twinkle-eyed charmer, a great friend, teacher and brother. Filming the last five years of Honig's life, Alan Berliner – his first cousin once removed – tries to tell the story of a once-formidable poet-thinker through the obstructions of his disappearing memory and diminishing vocabulary.
The film is both deeply affectionate and ruthlessly cold-eyed in its portrait of the man and his condition, asking questions about his art and where it came from. At the age of 5 Honig had been blamed by his father for the death of his 3 year-old brother, and by the time he was 7 he knew he was a poet. 80 years later he clearly recognised Berliner as a kindred artist.
“What you're doing is like writing a poem, you're changing what people are thinking to something you want them to think.”
This film feels like an elegy they wrote together. But of course most of the heavy lifting was done by the filmmaker – particularly in the edit. It is constructed with passion, intelligence and humour, and thoroughly deserves all the honours that have been heaped upon it.
A WORLD NOT OURS
Mahdi Fleifel / 2012 / Lebanon, UK, Denmark / 93’
(The Producer and Editor will be joining us after the film)
Many films have been made about the Arab Israeli conflict, or the plight of the Palestinians. They’ve become almost a genre in their own right, and are often painfully familiar in tone and style.
Mahdi Fleifal breaks the spell within seconds, as he takes us into his world, with his chirpy American voice, and the jazzy soundtrack. He comes from one of the biggest refugee camps in South Lebanon. He left as a kid, but all his mates, his uncle and cousins are still there, and so being a lovely kind of guy he returns each summer from Denmark to be with his family in Ein el-Helweh camp, taking his camera along for the ride. Mahdi tells his story with all the colour, sweetness and humour that has me eating out of his hand. So when the situation in the camp shifts and changes, I am drawn along with him in his enquiry, and can feel as acutely as he does the effect of this change. Now I understand what it is like to be locked in time and forgotten about.
DAVID WANTS TO FLY
David Sieveking 2010 / Germany, Austria, Switzerland / 96’
(Introduced by Kim Longinotto)
The first David Lynch film I ever saw was Eraserhead which I absolutely loved. It made me feel more comfortable about my own difficult relationship with babies. So I’ve always had an affection for Lynch and enjoyed Twin Peaks and admired Mulholland Drive even though I didn’t really know what was going on half the time.
So I was completely intrigued when I heard about David Wants to Fly. It wasn’t at all what I expected. Suddenly we see a new side of Lynch. He’s arrogant, controlling and gullible, but the young German filmmaker who has made this film is engaging and funny: all the things that Lynch appears to have forfeited for his status as a guru of cinema.
THE END OF TIME
Peter Mettler / 2012 / Canada, Switzerland / 114'
One of the most distinctive essayists working, Peter Mettler's films cannot easily be categorised. From early collaborations with Robert Lepage through his New Canadian Cinema fictions to arctic film-poem Pictures of Light and Gambling, Gods and LSD, an extraordinary enquiry into meaning and transcendence, he has dwelt constantly on the threshold, both between genres and what can and cannot be expressed on film. It's precisely this formal and thematic curiosity, this cultural searching for the metaphysical that compels me about his work.
Now, following Petropolis, his startling aerial reading of the disastrous Alberta Tar Sands extractions, he immerses himself directly in the most elusive subject of all. From the edge of space to the interior cosmologies of matter, from geological process to human dereliction, he turns a time-based medium on its own essential quality, and the dispatches he brings back from these diverse frontiers of being and knowing are remarkable.
SOMEDAY I'LL FIND YOU
Barney Snow / 2012 / UK / 45'
(The Director will be joining us after the film)
For decades, a mystery person known only as AJW has scattered thousands of hand drawn images and cryptic statements around the pubs, shops and buses of suburban West Midlands, usually with a drawing of dead opera star Mario Lanza. But who is AJW, and why does he do it?
This latest self-funded film that is produced, directed and filmed by Barney Snow begins as a detective story to uncover the truth about AJW, following retired police inspector Mick Pearson on a personal quest to solve the riddle. But the film soon develops into something more surprising and much more complex, reflecting ingeniously on the nature of art and the powerful instinct to prove that we're alive.
OVER THE BONES
Charlotte Ginsborg / 2008 / UK / 30’
(The Director will be joining us after the film)
Whenever someone is filmed or painted on canvas, they are immediately objectified, and artists are still asking the question about what or whom this serves. The relationship between artist and subject can be unhealthy - women objectified for male gratification, the poor romanticised to move the gentry, foreign cultures made into exotic oddities to titillate the bourgeoise.
This film tackles those issues head on in an immediately thought-provoking way. Artist Charlotte Ginsborg blatantly aestheticises and objectifies the two subjects in her film, a pair of complete strangers who met in unusual circumstances. Yet while they artfully perform their own words, the viewer is left in no doubt that both are doing nothing but representing themselves - the words spoken are their words, spoken on their terms, and this power shift changes them into collaborators. Ginsborg herself is always present, a clear, confident and powerful voice and hugely talented filmmaker who’s asking complex questions in even more complex ways.
SEX MY BRITISH JOB
Nick Broomfield / 2013 / UK / 63'
(The Director will be joining us after the film)
In Nick Broomfield’s latest film, he collaborates with journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai on an undercover film set in pop-up brothels in London - where female illegal immigrants work to send back money to their families in China and South East Asia.
Far from being the contentious film I was expecting (at a secret screening at Sheffield Doc Fest the audience were up in arms!) I found this a very intimate and disturbing portrait of a world that we are all fascinated by but know very little about. Hsiao’s brave filming through a pair of ‘googlespecs’ that she wears in her guise as a maid, captures the details of a house of women who sell sex for a living; the quarrels and bullying, the post-sex comments about clients, the matter of fact way of managing difficult customers and above all the intense claustrophobia bordering imprisonment that is the reality of their lives. Sex My British Job reminded me of the paintings of Toulouse Lautrec and Edgar Degas set in the brothels of turn of the century Paris. Shocking only in that they de-objectify the women and make them into ordinary human beings going about their unglamorous day to day business. But of course at the time that had Parisian bourgeois society up in arms too.
SIMON CHAMBERS' NEW FILM
Simon Chambers / 2013 / UK / 79'
(The Director will be joining us after the film)
I've always found Simon to be an intriguing character filmmaker, as he is drawn to fiercely independent and unforgettable people to help him tussle with great issues.
As much as I've questioned the dangerous power relationships when a Western, White eye tells the stories of "others" – as in his previous films, Every Good Marriage Begins with Tears and Cowboys in India – what I admire is his attempt to make a collaborative representation. You can feel that he has taken the time and effort to build a lasting relationship with his contributors.
In his new film, Simon revisits one of the main characters from Every Good Marriage – Shana, a wild and unruly Bangladeshi woman. As the film unravels, we see him subverting the filmmaker’s relationship with the subject and using this as an experiment in self-reflexiveness. With a slightly rough and ready approach he explores the idea of love, the meaning of it, and why humans love at all. It’s deep stuff, but an over the top, slightly corny soundtrack and a trademark dash of humour make this one of those films that will leave you wanting to congratulate him for its bravery, and quite frankly give the man a cuddle.
Following on from last year’s students submission programme, we aim to show this year’s best work from graduates and emerging filmmakers.
A sneak preview programme of what we think are some of the best short non-fiction films to come out of UK film schools this year. Includes a beautiful observational film about women from the UK seeking sexual and romantic fulfilment in Africa, and a poetic portrait of the gambolling capital of the world and people who are lured there in search of fame, success and financial reward. Followed by Q and A s with the film makers.
At the heart of the Quadrangle Film Festival is the desire to create a space for debate in a supportive and collaborative environment. With these Behind the Screens sessions, our guests will be taking an in-depth look at the craft and creative process of documentary filmmaking using examples from their own work and that of others. Through a mixture of informal discussion and case studies within a small group, all of these sessions seek to inspire their audience with new skills and insider knowledge about the documentary form.
TV's BIG CHEESE GOES BACK TO BASICS
with George Carey
After decades at the helm of some of the biggest documentary institutions, George Carey is going back to what he knows and loves best - making films.
In a career spanning three decades, George created the series Newsnight, edited Panorama, set up the production company Mentorn Barraclough Carey (now Mentorn Media), and made a string of successful films and series as well, and winning almost countless awards in the process. But in the last few years, he's begun to pick up a video camera and set off on his own adventures, going back to his roots and making films for Storyville and Channel 4.
In this candid session, George will give an insight into what's changed in documentaries over the years and, more importantly, teach us all something about the basic and unchanging principles of making a good film and telling a good story.
FILMING ON THE FRONTLINE
(AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES)
with Olly Lambert
Making a documentary can be hard enough, but filming in a war zone has its own unique set of challenges: where do you run in an air strike? What equipment do you need, and what should you avoid? Should you film the dead and dying, and if so, how? With a decade of experience filming in areas of conflict like Gaza and Afghanistan, as well as a recent extended trip filming on both sides of a brutal, sectarian frontline in rural Syria, Olly Lambert gives a candid insight into the reality of documenting war. This talk will also feature a special screening of Olly's short film "The Bombing of Al Bara", in which he narrates raw footage of an air strike on a small village, revealing the shocking reality of civil war as well as the personal challenges of covering it.
THE AVOIDANCE OF CHAOS
(OR "HOW PAINSTAKING PLANNING PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE")
with Vanessa Engle
"I know that if I fudge anything when I'm planning a film, that fudge will be waiting for me in the cutting room."
Over a career spanning 25 years, Vanessa Engle has established herself as a unique voice in British documentary. Her diamond sharp interviews form the basis of rigorous enquiries for BBC series like "Money", "Lefties", "Women" and "Jews", peeling back layer after layer of British cultural life. In the course of making over 50 films, Vanessa has honed her own meticulous working method, which involves detailed preparation for every stage of the production process. In this candid talk, Vanessa will deconstruct a single chapter from one of her films to reveal the rigorous and intricate planning that goes into every question, scene, cutaway and GV.
TALKING HEADS? AVOID. COMMENTARY? A SIGN OF FAILURE.
with John Burgen
We all know why voice over so often regarded as problematic for documentary: because it is done so badly. John Burgan, lecturer and film maker from the Newport Film School in Wales trawls through the archives to take examples from the work of Herzog, Phillibert and himself to explore ways to put this rich but often underestimated element to better use in our films.
FILMING IN THE FAMILY
with Tony Dowmunt and Simon Chambers
Making a documentary about members of your own family has almost become a genre in its own right. But why do we do this, and are these films any good? What are the pitfalls and what are the strengths of turning the camera on your dying mother or errant brother? Is this a shortcut to revelatory intimacy or just lazy filmaking? With this year's festival celebrating the work of special guest Alan Berliner (whose films often feature members of his own family), Head of Goldsmiths Documentary Department Tony Dowmunt focuses on the range of methods that film makers have used to document those close to them, and looks at the line these films tread between intimacy and voyeurism, advocacy and betrayal.
THE TAMING OF THE RUSHES
FINDING YOUR FILM IN THE EDIT
with Lara Agnew and Chloe Ruthven
Ever got into an edit and wondered how on earth you’re going to tell the story about a subject you felt so sure about whilst shooting?
Over the last six years, director Chloe Ruthven and creative mentor Lara Agnew, (director and founder of NFTS FilmClinic) have sat together spooling through rushes, pinning up story cards and scribbling away in notebooks to find the heart of the film.
In advance of the premiere of their latest collaboration at the London Film Festival in October, Chloe and Lara talk through the process of finding the narrative structure in “The Do Gooders” – three years, three shoots and two edits later. This talk will be a detailed analysis of three radically different versions of the film’s opening, and will reveal how difficult decisions were made about how the story could be told. A unique insight into the genesis of a film.
This year we open a brand new venue with our specially dedicated Cinema in the Field, hosting a range of films and events by day, and with the Kitchen Sink Collective running wild at night with their eclectic range of films.
THE KITCHEN SINK COLLECTIVE
Kitchen Sink is an established filmmaking collective that seeks to support, provoke and encourage independent filmmakers.
We have an avid curiosity about discovering new ways to keep the art of documentary alive and well. We endeavour to create dynamic spaces and events where creativity can be harnessed and directed towards future events and collaborations.
We advise and assist each other with feature documentaries in development, production and post production. We are always open to new collaborations with other creatives, musicians, editors, filmmakers…When we’re not making films we teach and create events around the world.
We are currently developing, in production and postproduction with several one-off projects. You can see our completed work here.
THE KITCHEN SINK COLLECTIVE PRESENTS...
Dick Fontaine / 1967 / USA / 30’
A poetic journey from zoo to echoic chamber in search of the limits of music with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and John Cage.
Although Rahsaan Roland Kirk and John Cage never actually meet in this film (Cage's enigmatic questions about sound are intercut with some of Kirk's more ambitious experiments with it) these two very different musical iconoclasts share a similar vision of the boundless possibilities of music. Kirk plays three saxes at once, switches to flute, incorporates tapes of birds played backwards, and finally hands out whistles to his audience and encourages them to accompany him, "in the key of W, if you please." Cage, on the other hand, is preparing a work for musical bicycle with David Tudor and Merce Cunningham at the Seville Theatre in London. Cage meets Rahsaan's music in an echo chamber, and he ends his search for the sound of silence in his favorite spot -- the anechoic chamber -- where it turns out to be the uproar of "your nervous system in operation." Rahsaan is in top form playing everything from “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” to his suite “Rip, Rig and Panic.”
"Arty but effective," The Nation
THE KITCHEN SINK COLLECTIVE PRESENTS...
DRIVING ME CRAZY
Nick Broomfield / 1988 / USA / 85’
In 1988 Nick Broomfield was asked by a Tele Munich, a German production company, to document the making of a musical show by Andre Heller, “Body & Soul”, an all-black revival of the music, dance and songs of the thirties and forties. Broomfield agreed under certain conditions (concerning money and schedule) but when he arrived in New York to start filming everything had changed: the budget had been cut down, the time frame changed, and the producers were not willing to keep any of their promises. But instead of walking out of the job Broomfield stayed on and began making a film about his desperate attempts to produce the documentary: he filmed telephone conversations, meetings and verbal fights with his producers, each of his failed attempt to get in touch with the money people, and sometimes he even followed the progress of the show. He did that with a truly sardonic and unforgiving eye – and produced one of the funniest and most revealing films I`ve ever seen about showbiz. If you always wanted to know if all that gossip about showbiz is true or if Bob Fosse was a pathetic liar, then you should see that movie: a delight!
In addition to the film and workshop programme, there will be special sessions, great music and food, wild swimming, camp fires and a bar serving cider, beer and wine. We also welcome back the cocktail bar this year from those crazy mojito-wielding cats at the Lost Picture Show.
THE FILMS OF VINCENT MOON
ART/E/FACT are excited to curate a compilation of Vincent Moon's films for the Quadrangle Film Festival. Inspired by the films of documentary and ethnographic filmmakers, such as Jean Rouch, Maya Deren and Chris Marker, Vincent Moon is inspired by the spaces between folkloric practice, performance and artistic representation. Rather than present Moon's films in a conventional cinematic context, a collection of his works from the Petites Planetes series will be shown throughout the festival, as 'pop-up installation'.
BRING YOUR OWN FILM
After last year's success of bring your own - this year we have six of UK's top feature documentary editors who will be available to talk to you about your film. Register on arrival to show ten minutes of your work and receive top notch advice from our guest editors, John Mister, Hugh Williams, Stefan Ronowicz, Bert Hunger, Steve Barclay and Michael Aaglund.
FOOD & DRINK:
Food as fuel isn't something we at Quadrangle Film Festival adhere to. Food and the act of sharing a great meal together is so important - we are really keen on creating a special time for reflection and catching up over delicious food, which is why we structure shared lunch and dinner breaks. This also culminates in our Banquet on the Saturday Night, where the whole of the festival enjoys a meal together. This is going to be super special this year, especially with our new food friends at the helm. This year you can buy a food token beforehand that means you get all your meals included in this flat fee! This will be available to buy online and at the registration desk on site.
INDIA AND SUZY
India and Suzy are trained chefs from London restaurants and they have come together to bring what they know about food to a farm in Kent. Their inspiration for the menu over the weekend is local and seasonal produce that has been grown and reared just within a short distance from the Quadrangle.
For that caffeine fix, we welcome back the Greencup Coffee Crew, who will be serving up great coffee and night time treats. Also, with cocktails being provided by the weird and wonderful Lost Picture Show guys, and local ciders, ales and wine on the go from our effervescent and indispensable bar folk, there is no excuse to not let your hair down. This year, we re-open the Field Bar and the Granary Bar for you to sup from. Please note - Cash Bar Only.
MUSIC & STORYTELLING:
Milly Blue and her battered ukulele have travelled far and wide. Crowds from Paris to New York, Hull to Hackney, have held her in their gaze and now armed with a loop pedal she will be here to weave her tuneful tales of love and loss with a voice Billy Paul says is 'like butter'.
JESSIE MARYON DAVIES
Jessie Maryon Davies is a pianist, vocal leader, arranger and workshop leader. She conducts the Clapham Community Choir and co-leads LIPS choir (Union Chapel, The Coronet, Standon Calling and Wilderness Festival) She works regularly with refugee choir Woven Gold (BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, St Martin-in-the-Fields) at the Helen Bamber Foundation and has also led vocal workshops for Aldeburgh Music, Wigmore Hall and Spitalfields Festival. She regularly leads singing activities with The School of Life at their acclaimed Sunday sermons.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Music, she enjoys a diverse performing career as a pianist in various ensembles. She is a founder-member of TROUPE (www.troupecollective.co.uk) which uses chamber music, dance, song and story-telling to bring local histories to life in staged concerts, often with an immersive and site-specific approach. Join Jessie on Saturday down at the Quadrangle Film Festival for a special immersive performance not to be missed.
Dean Firth is from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. He’s recently become a dad and settled down in North London, but up until that point his life was a catalogue of crazy misadventures and bizarre living scenarios: we’re talking protest-site-tree-houses, squats and abandoned hospitals here. When he’s not writing and publishing poetry he works as a musician and sound engineer. His favourite colour is orange and his passions include real ale and wild swimming.
Bike Poems is his first full collection to be published and it’s available from Amazon, Audible, iTunes and any number of funky London bike shops.
ROBIN GREY & FRIENDS
Inspired by the timeless work of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Joanna Newsom amongst many others, Robin colours in his songs about love and life with guitar, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, piano, double bass, organ, percussion toys and any other instruments he can afford. Join Robin and friends around the campfire and in amongst the grounds of the Quadrangle for some folky, bluesy, bloody good music.
“Robin Grey has a lovely fresh approach to the folk genre. A honeyed yet clear voice and his lyrics are arresting. A real treasure.” – The Londonist
Garance Louis is a song writer and accordionist from rural southern france, playing her cheeky and rickety songs coming from an old cabaret. She mixes destroyed dynamics and unexpected changes with traditional folkloric styles. You could call it a kind of "dirty tango, rock n roll ,post -musette ,progressive gypsy.." or give up on generic descriptions and just experience Garance's music for yourselves!