LISTENERS PROJECT 3 – TELEVISION CENTRE (2015)

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Let me begin by saying that what the artists do with the 24 hours given to make these short films and the results they give us are nothing short of incredible. Whether the films are successful or not are up to you. All art is subjective and the opinions below are all mine, how I feel right now. These no way undermine the talent and skill that these artists have poured into the work, for free I might add.

“Listeners Project were invited to Television Centre in White City to capture the walls of the soon to be demolished Drama Block. The first of the Studios built at White City in 1956 it served as home to the building, painting and storing of sets and props for the BBC.

The Directors chosen had to find a writer, crew and cast to create a story for this unique space and then film it in less than 24 hours. Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘Afraid? Of whom I afraid?’ was picked as a unifying theme or jumping off point and all four films were screened on the 4th May 2015 at Televison Centre.”

What a privilege to be able to run around the iconic building, filled with stories and energies of old. The possibilities are enormous.

1-Moving On (The Screen Painting Room)
A young girl (Zoe Heighton) exercises and exorcises her body and demons in an abandoned warehouse.
The first film in the third outing for the Listener’s Project is a dance short and I must say that these dance pieces work really well. In such a short space of time it can be difficult to fully realize an idea when there is dialogue. The writing has to be very tight. With dance it’s all about the imagery. Director That Jam (!?!?) creates an interesting, intimate look inside the emotions and dreams of a young ballet dancer. Choreographed by and starring Sergio Giacomelli, the frustrations and limitations of the body so wonderfully highlighted here and the search for perfection that ballet dancers especially are constantly seeking. Perfection can never be fully reached but it’s in the endeavor to get there where the true magic lies.

2-The Porter (Loading Bay)
Written and directed by Matthew Landers, this is a simple, yet effective tale of drugs and gun running. The acting is honest with nice performances from the cast: .
The thing about these shorts is that you just have to watch them. There is little point in me telling you the synopses. The director manages to keep the tension taut throughout.

3-Late Night With Albin and Bibita (The Prop Storage Room)
Written by actress/writer Elena Pavli, starring her sister Alexia Pavli with John McCrea as Albin and Bibita, this is shot really well and the writing is interesting but I feel the piece could have worked much better on stage. The theatricality of it doesn’t always successfully translate into film, but this is also what I like about the project, many things can be tried and although they may not all work, there is always some spark of brilliance in them. The actors somewhat lack chemistry but do the best they can. Directed by Jack S Wynne, this 3rd outing at the Television Centre shows promise but lacks full cohesive fusion (or is that just cohesion?).

4-Silent Mode (The Set Build Studio)
This was my favourite of the Listeners’ Televison Centre films.
Directed by Ben Lambert and very bravely sticking to one shot that is framed beautifully; the use of the mise en scène is inspired. The conversation between the workers is gentle and genuine and the intriguing, interesting parts are the dialogue that isn’t spoken. A layered piece that shows the growth of the director, this is the best film he has directed out of this project so far.
Robin Soans, Jim Conway and Shane Cameron play the workers and all do a decent job especially Soans, who manages to convey some deeper hidden troubles .

This project continues to be different, innovative and artistic.

The films are short between 3 and 9 minutes each and are easily digestible and definitely worth a watch.
Visit the website below:

http://www.listenersproject.com/

LISTENERS PROJECT 1 (2014)

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‘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:

The Listener’s Project 1