‘Number 18, Clapton’
The Listeners Project is an experiment using spaces, actors, directors and writers in order to create something new.
Their manifesto is as follows:
“Walls tell stories and we listen. By creating a series of short films we acknowledge the history of the space and tell stories that keep it forever.
Each director picks a room at random. Their crew must create a story within that space (and only that space) within a specified time limit. Crews are given a unifying theme but each film has its own unique story. All films are screened together in the space on a given date as a celebration of the creative project and the space itself.
We usually work in old, interesting spaces that are due to be renovated or modernised, from semi detached houses to warehouses, boats to stately homes, and we are always open to new ideas, so come and talk to us about the stories you want to tell.”
“This Listeners Project used an old shop in Clapton that was due to be turned from a dilapidated 1970’s relic into two modern flats. Over 30 collaborators were involved. Each director was given a room at random (front room, stairwell, sitting room, bedroom) and worked with their crew and cast to make a short film 2-6 mins in length. Each team had Walter de la Mare’s poem ‘The Listeners’ as a jumping off point, 24 hours to film and two weeks to turn it around. The results were: in the front room, ‘Whispers’; in the stairwell, ‘The Traveller’; in the sitting room, ‘The Castaway’; and in the bedroom, ‘Happy Birthday’.”
The first game is set in an old shop in Clapton and consists of four short films each utilising the poem, The Listeners by Walter De La Mare as a starting point.
The first film, The Front Room is an anomaly. It seems unsure of what it wants to achieve, or if the makers know, it doesn’t translate clearly enough. It is different, though and there is some lovely choreography between actor and camera. These are experiments after all and what works for one may not for the other, it’s a subjective thang.
The second film, The Stairwell, is my favourite. There are elements of The Shining in it, utilising the mellifluous voice of Kasia Coleman as narrator and using old postcards and images from time gone by to create this strange, eerie tale. Directed and written with mood and atmosphere by Richard Allen, this short leaves the audience wanting more. A sequel, perchance? Or maybe a feature?? Poetic and evocative of Lynch this is weird and wonderful.
The third film, The Sitting Room, features Ben Lambert as a man wishing to escape from his mundane existence, or is he? An interesting premise and development.
The last film, The Bedroom is directed by Ben Lambert and features Tom Gill who brings to life his character with depth and naturalism; his speech is beautifully realised and his acting is real and unadorned. Nice direction and progression.
It’s best that I don’t go into depth about each of the stories as that would spoil the viewers’ enjoyment.
This game/experiment works better than others at times but is definitely worth a look.
Each film is less than 10 minutes long.
Watch these films below: