By Emily Power
As we start a new year, lets look back at the festival circuit of 2020. While 2020 saw the shutting down of many productions, it also brought some gems to the 'silver screen'.
Here are my 2020 film festival circuit picks:
Another Round is a comedy drama, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, which follows the story of four friends who set up a drinking experience to see how low levels of alcohol will improve their daily life. Mads Mikkelsen brings an energetic stand out performance. This film has such a good balance of fun and excitement while not shying away from much deeper topics.
Corpus Christi, directed by Jan Komasa, is the incredible tale of how Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), a recently released convict, attempts to free himself from his past as he explores his deep connection with his faith. This film has darkly comical moments while holding a mirror to society and making people accountable for their actions.
Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness directed by Massoud Bakhshi follows a young woman who is sentenced to death for accidentally killing her husband. Based off a real Iranian TV show, young Maryam must beg for forgiveness live on air for her life to be spared.
Wildfire directed by Cathy Brady, in my opinion is one of the best Irish films to be made in recent years. This film took five years to make and with a powerhouse performance from the late Danika McGuigan, the story of the intense bond of two sisters uncovering their late mother secrets is a truly captivating watch.
Saudi Runaway, directed by Susanne Meures, follows Muna’s story, a young woman living in Saudi Arabia who is documenting her attempt to flee the confined life she is forced to live, after her arranged marriage. This is an edge of your seat, nail biting watch but it is a story that very much needs to be heard.
Minari is a drama written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung. It is a semi-autobiographical exploration of Chung's own childhood. This slow paced insight into the 'American dream' for immigrants will have you weeping.
By Emily Power
Hello, my name is Emily Power. I am a 23 year old MA student from Ireland, studying Film and Screen Media here in UCC.
As a child, I would go to the cinema or rent a DVD from Xtravision. I was always so fascinated by the different stories people told through the medium of film and I knew that as I got older that I too wanted to tell stories through film. As I finished secondary school, I leaned more towards the editing side of film and undertook a BA in Multimedia in the Cork Institute of Technology.
Multimedia was extremely hands on with a broad range of modules such as UX/UI design, photography, film, web design and sound production. While towards the end of my degree, I hoped to narrow in more on film, the broadness of this course allowed me to understand my strengths and weaknesses as well as giving me an understanding of multiply areas with media production. I was also very lucky to avail of the Erasmus program which allowed me to study film in a Darmstadt, Germany. In this college, I was able to study modules that would not have been possible in Ireland such as documentary filmmaking, practical effects and Super 8 film. As I finished my BA, I knew that I wanted to continue studying film and with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it gave me the push to apply to UCC for the MA in Film and Screen Media. So far in this MA, I have been able to study topics and area's of film that are truly fascinating as well as being able to expand on my own filmmaking style with the chance to undertake a creative practice thesis.
Throughout my college experience, I began working as a freelance editor and director. This gave me the best of both worlds where I could work both from home and out on sets. I found my style of filmmaking has also changed throughout college and now going into the professional working world. In my early college years, I focused mainly on either experimental style films or short documentaries. My documentary, 'Keeper of the Lights', ran in the Cork Indie festival and Story! Documentary Film Festival. Seeing my work on screen with people watching was firstly so terrifying but absolutely exhilarating and it really spurred me on to continue working. I continued working freelance, directing music videos for local bands with the music video, 'Gilbert's Dead', winning Best Music Video in the First Cut! Youth Film Festival as well as being selected for festivals such as Cork Indie Art(ist) section, RAMIFF, HER International Film Festival and LockedIn Copenhagen Underground Festival.
In 2019, I was selected to be a member of the Cork International Film Festival Youth Jury, this was such an interesting experience as I was able to see films that I myself would never have probably chosen to see but I am so glad I was able to get the opportunity to see some wonderful films. This experience led me to become a submission reviewer for the Cork Film Festival in 2020 and I was able to view hundreds of great short films. I would highly recommend film students to partake in something like this as you are able to see what is being made by other filmmakers from all around the world.
After I finished my bachelors degree, I was able to find work as a production assistant with Stori Creative, an Irish production company. I continued working them in the area of set design and now I currently work as a producer with the company. Getting real on set experience has been such a great learning curve and has given me great insight to see how professional sets work and the preproduction process.
If I was to give any film student advice, it is all about making connections. Talk to people in the industry, go to festivals and see what's being selected and try to focus on work that will advance your portfolio and make you stand out. With Covid-19, it can be very difficult to make connections but most film festivals now run online networking sessions which I have found extremely beneficial and would highly recommend.
Links to mentioned work:
By Eric Feldmann Sanchéz
Hey, my name is Eric Feldmann Sanchéz. I am 21 years old and study film at Hochschule Darmstadt in Germany.
Ever since I was in High School I was very interested in movies and photography, so the choice came naturally. In Germany there’s not that many public film schools in which you have a realistic chance to get into right after High School, so Darmstadt was my top choice from the beginning.
I would say that my university has a bigger focus on feature films. So a lot of seminars are about the creative process, writing, directing and so on. I enjoy a lot that the university gives us a lot of freedom to try things. It’s definitely not your usual college experience, we don’t have exams or long papers to write, we have different projects to take on that can be very challenging.
When I came from high school I thought that I wanted to do feature films, but with time I discovered that my strengths lay elsewhere. During my time in university I got to see so many different films and start to develop my opinions and what I want to do. I feel like besides the friends and experience you earn, that is one of the most valuable things I got from college so far.
I don’t necessarily have a favorite director or film. My opinion on films changes quite a lot over time. I try to get as much inspiration from as many different directors and films as possible and not focus on one in particular.
The German film industry is very complex and complicated to get into. You have to decide very early what you want and how to get there. There are many different film funds in Germany, but many are tied to a deal, like shooting your film in a certain state in Germany. The German film industry often gets a bad rep for being very conservative, but it is changing with companies like Netflix funding more German TV shows and more innovative content, so the future is looking brighter.
Most of the work I did was freelance for different events. I also gained some experience with an internship in Berlin. I was working as an editor for an advertising film production. In general I can recommend internships a lot, because personally I think that’s the best way to quickly gain experience.
I really don’t know yet what area of film I hope to work in. It’s hard for me to focus on just one aspect, so I try to be as flexible as possible and see what comes along.
By Aidan Kyle
My Name is Aidan Kyle, I'm 21 years old and I'm From Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada.
I've always loved movies. As a kid my parents didn't let me play a ton of videos games or watch TV, but we always watched movies together so they were pretty special. Ever since I was about five, I've been fascinated with cameras. Whenever my parents would try to film me I'd always try and get behind them and see through the lens. When I was about 5 or 6 they started letting me mess around with an old Hi-8 and I would try to re-create movies I liked, or sometimes ones I thought needed improvement ( I remember trying to re-do the 2nd Indiana Jones Movie).
I took film as soon as it was an available class in high school, as it was really the only thing I was ever really really interested in. I loved making films in that class, and quickly became a T.A.. As my graduation started approaching I started looking at film schools, and ended up choosing a local one because of my ties to my city, and because I wasn't super interested/ didn't feel ready to take the LSATs to go to the states (It can be a bit of a grueling process) . I ended up choosing my University (Capilano University) because of its positive reputation locally, and the hands on nature of the program. At 18, I really wanted to make movies, and the idea of getting practical experience instead of just sitting in the classroom really appealed to me.
Capilano was really unique in that they have a flipped system compare to the normal college experience in Canada. Instead of doing your fundamentals and theoretical processes first, it focused on the more hands on approach first, with a diploma and certificate exit window, so that you were able to get your technical training early on, and if you weren't interested in a whole degree you could go out into the field and work.
I had lots of great instructors and despite really enjoying the practical side of things, some of my favourite courses were the more bookish ones, Screen writing and Producing but particularly Canadian Cinema classes and more analytical Production Design and Cinematography classes which forced us to look at films in a different way in a deeper academic sense. I really began to appreciate more atypical film, more explorations of different viewpoints and not simple just films that I enjoyed. A good example of this for me is the films of Yorgos Lanthimos, who's film The Favourite was recently awarded an Oscar among other awards. His early work and in many ways his work on The Favourite plays with how uncomfortable and awful he can make his subject matter while keeping his audience engaged. The first time I saw one of his films I was disturbed, but I also found I couldn't stop talking about it. There was something deeply attractive about how he created these brutal worlds and it made me realize the dimension of emotions and experiences you could convey with film, not just euphoria, but also a kind of fascinating disgust, an enticing horror, or a conflicted attachment to a dark character like in Night Crawler.
Being exposed to different types of filmmaking like this has really influence my style to focus more on the uniqueness of the story, the specialness of the experience. I like to take inspiration from a variety of sources. People like Yorgos Lanthimos and Dan Gilroy, but also other like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Damien Chazzelle, Spike Lee, Richard Curtis, Denis Villeneuve, Greta Gerwig and Hiro Murai. Really one of the greatest things about film school has been the sheer variety of what I've been exposed to, and what films outside of what people conventionally watch that I'm willing to explore in the future.
Canada as an Industry has a pretty decently strong national presence, especially considering we're right next to the Americans with the powerhouse that is Hollywood. In Vancouver, we have a lot of what are called service productions, which are American shows coming up north to Take advantage of our experienced crews and favourable tax credits and exchange rates. They even call us Hollywood North due to the frequency of this. The Tax credits also work in our favour, with the government giving additional breaks for the more Canadian creatives you have involved in your production. There's also a lot of focus in terms of funding bodies, if your a Canadian with an idea there are certain a lot of people around to support it if its strong enough. Depending on what type of film you want to make there's the NFB, The CMF, The Bell Media Fund, The Harold Greenberg Fund, The Hot Docs Completion fund and many others.
We also have a fair amount of domestic production in Vancouver, though most of it is based in Toronto or Montreal, on the opposite side of the country, which is over 4000km away. There are lots of opportunities in Vancouver, it has a fledgling independent scene which has been hurt with the rise of COVID. Normally this year I'd be attending the Vancouver international film festival (VIFF) and the Whistler International Film Festival (WFF), but both have moved online. There is a bit of a sense that to increase your chances you should move to Toronto (or Los Angeles), if you want to work "Above the line".
I'm currently working in what's called factual. It's similar to reality television except in that the action of the shows isn't scripted like one of those housewife shows, and they tend to focus on more activity based things. Activities like fixing cars, Mining, Fishing, or repair based work. I work as an Office PA. It's mostly administrative and logistical position, I assist the production team in making sure we stay financially and technically on top of our shoot. It involves a lot of emailing and filing of paperwork, but while sometimes including a bit of tedium, all of it allows the production to function efficiently at a high level. What I really enjoy about it is the problem solving aspect, every day in the office presents a new challenge and when working in factual with smaller crews and tight deadlines, you often have to be creative to make sure you get all the footage you need to deliver the show in the way you want it. Being a part of those solutions and getting to obverse the complexity of those situations is engaging and really allows me to build my skill set as a producer. No one really knows what a producer does outside of the film world and to be honest I don't think many people inside of the film world could tell you either, but what I can tell you is that being as versatile and experienced as possible ensures that your production will go as smoothly as possible. As the producer your kind of like the glue and being able to navigate all these situations with a cool attitude is the difference between success and failure when the budget is tight and the crew is starting to want to go home. It's a lot harder to see the route up into producer or line producer or coordinator, but I think its just because of the true vastness of the job. Hopefully in a few years I can see myself closer to one of those positions, but for now I'm content to watch and learn as much as I can.
By Geraldine Boyle
My love for photography began as a young teenager. Studying Art & Design in school, I was
obsessed with capturing images and the development process. I studied a Photography evening
class at GCSE level. Spending many nights in the darkroom I never dreamed it would lead to
University, let alone working for the BBC and flying drones.
Art College opened my eyes to the importance of networking, gaining trust and permissions. My
first university project involved convincing the manager of the Royal Mail Headquarters to let me
photograph in the building. I was told it would be unlikely and to prepare a back-up. Instead of
emailing or phoning, I simply walked in, absolutely terrified but pretended to have no fear. To my
surprise, I was welcomed in, given a quick tour and shown the view from the roof. It was a total
bluff but it gave me the confidence I desperately needed.
My confidence continued to grow from the thrill of these challenges. I accompanied police patrols, capturing work
late into the night, on occasions in dangerous circumstances. I followed teenage gangs for a year, gaining their trust and documenting them against the landscape. It
became an obsession. Regardless of the day, the weather, I walked, searching for content with my Mamiya camera. In the end, I was known on a first name basis, and ‘welcomed’ into the groups. The work portrayed the animalistic nature of youths gathering in large crowds to socialise. It represented the way in which they actively constructed their own identity, individually and collectively. I was honoured to exhibit this work with the Royal Ulster 'Mistaken Identity' Academy in Belfast.
After the excitement of university ended and the real world beckoned, I stumbled, trying to
decide on a career path. I did freelance work, shooting family and social events, but it didn’t
bring me joy. My Mother spotted an advert in the newspaper calling for young people to apply
for BBC work experience while studying for a Diploma in media techniques. I suddenly realised
that my background in Photography was a great foundation into the television industry. After a
grueling group interview I was given the incredible opportunity to be trained by the BBC. I
shadowed the Current Affairs office where they filmed Panorama and immediately fell in love
the fast paced work. I was offered freelance work as Production Assistant and a contract
thereafter. Starting at the bottom involved a lot of late nights, weekend emails and being on call
during important filming dates. But, it also gave me the opportunity to experience various
elements of TV. I assisted on shoots, organised logistics and payments while maintaining the
departmental camera equipment. Working on eight productions at once was the norm. It was
fast paced but extremely rewarding, particularly when your name appeared in the credits at the
end of a long production.
My interests in camera operation and new technologies evolved so in 2016 I moved to London
embarking on a new role as Senior Technician. I was determined to combine my passion for
photography, the outdoors and production. My goal was to become a Drone Operator. Once my
mind was set, I knew it would happen, but I had to convince several managers first. It took a few
months of continued effort before training was approved, but I was determined. At one point in
February, I stood outside for four hours in the same spot... flying a drone in figures of eight. At
the time, I had a chest infection and pleurisy but I was adamant to keep going. I loved flying and
filming so much that I stubbornly carried the kit for 2 miles to the designated flying field. The
apparatus was cumbersome and heavy even only a few years ago. After six months of formal
training and exams, I became a Certified BBC Drone Operator; the only female operator in the
department. I was ecstatic! It was empowering to know that I represented my female colleagues.
A mere forty years ago, women were rejected from working in the same department.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to film for the likes of BBC News at Ten, Gardeners’ World, Panorama
and Children in Need. However, I never imagined my drone work would lead me to the shores
of Cork. On a freelance shoot with Vodafone last year, I filmed in Baltimore and Skibbereen.
Although I visited Cork over the years, that experience of working in the creative industry
opened up my eyes to what the County had to offer. The crew joked about how wonderful it
would be to live in such a place... The joke is on the crew, I decided to make it happen!
It’s a truly special time for the film industry in Cork and I’m thrilled to be part of it. I have always
been a huge advocate of the creative industries in Ireland. Covid-19 didn’t stop my plans of
studying an MA in Film and Screen Media at UCC. Rather, it encouraged me. Who doesn’t love
a challenge? In a year where the world has come to a halt, I’m privileged to have the opportunity
to collaborate with like minded people, and expand my knowledge of an industry with which I am
By Emily Power
At the surface, 'The Cabin In The Woods', seems like your average horror film; a group of five friends venture out to a creepy secluded cabin as the viewer watches supernatural forces come out to play. However in this deconstruction of the horror genre, all is not what it seems.
Please be warned: Spoilers Ahead.
The films eerie opening sequence psyches up the viewer for the following 95minutes of scares they are going to endure. However we cut to two white collar workers chatting on their lunch break. This opening is in place to throw viewers off the horror scent of the film, with the creators hoping the audience would be tricked into thinking that they came into wrong screening. This is the first taste we get of how this film is going to play with the genre of horror.
Now enter the group of friends we follow through the film. Dana, Marty, Jules, Curt and Holden; each representing a common horror trope, the virgin, the stoner, the whore, the athlete and the scholar. The film then begins to deconstruct it characters, as at first glance they all seem to fall into the classic horror character stereotypes but just like the overall film, not all is as it seems. Dana, who is the main protagonist, who takes on the virgin trope for this film, however it is alluded to that she had relations with her professor. Marty is the fool of the group and while that fool is portrayed as a stoner, throughout the film we see how smart and quick thinking Marty can be. Jules, who takes on the whore trope is actually in a committed relationship with Curt, the athlete, is shown to be highly intelligent as he is in college due to a full academic scholarship and even recommends books for Dana. Holden, who takes on the scholar trope is shown to be brains and brawn by demonstrating his athleticism.
As the friends progress on their journey, they first encounter 'the town crazy' who warns them off their journey, in a throwback to the early Friday the 13th film. On this journey, the group travel through a tunnel in the side of a mountain as the camera pans to a beautiful bird soaring majestically in the sky until it hits an invisible barrier and this sets the tone that everything is really not as it seemed. In a nod to horror classic, Evil Dead, the friends enter this cabin that is, you guessed it, in the woods and read from a book that they most definitely shouldn't have in a creepy basement they definitely shouldn't have gone into. The group is constantly monitored by the white collar worked, Sitterson and Hadley, that we saw at the start of the film, as it revealed there are camera's in every room of the house. They and their team watch for 'scenario adjustments' as they weave their plans into the group. This can be seen in the joke about chemicals in Jules hair dye that will make her act more like a 'dumb blonde'. As bets are placed on the groups fate, we learn that they must transgress in order to meet their punishing fate which is done from their own free will. However, this free will is influenced by chemicals in the house that makes everyone fall more in line with the trope, they have been selected for.
In this basement where the group is, we seen that it is adorned with creepy artefacts that all represent a horror that is awaiting them, if they chose it. However, they are interrupted by Dana who reads from that book which unleashes the Buckner family, a family of redneck torture zombies, that makes reference to zombies having their own sub genres. Jules is the first to succumb to the cabin as she fulfils her role of the whore by showing mild nudity which is a a horror genre classic. One by one, each friend is picked off leading to Dana seemingly fulfilling the end girl trope.
Possibly one of the biggest subversions of this film is 'The Ancient Ones'. This is a race that roamed the earth long before the human race. The Ancient Ones are a clear homage to Cthulhu Mythos universe created by H.P. Lovecraft.
This film is a great commentary the horror genre and the subversion of it. The creators deconstruct and reconstruct their new version of horror which leads to an interesting watch and a definite recommend of a film.
by Emily Power
In honour of Spooktober, I will break down the origins of one of the most terrifying villains to grace our screens: IT.
The first question to ask when looking at this entity, is what is it? Simple answer, no one really knows apart from the mind of Stephen King. From the two films and miniseries, there isn’t much background information on his origin, and this is a case where we must look to the source material. IT is an ancient cosmic being that originates from a different dimension known as the ‘Macroverse’ which is referenced in other King works, such as the Dark Tower series. When looking at this series there is evidence that IT, is the creation of an autonomous omnipotent creator, known as ‘The Other’. However, IT is not the only creation of ‘The Other’, ‘The Other’, also created Maturin The Turtle who is seen as It’s mortal enemy as it represents all that is good. In this universe that Stephen King created, Maturin unlike IT, is a being of creation and vomited up the universe in which we live in and It crash lands on. It came to earth through an asteroid and landing in the place that millions of years later would be known as Derry. It hibernated until human began to populate the area and then It began its first cycle in 1715, where it would awaken every 27 years and feed on them.
The second question you might ask now, is why every 27 years? This question is a bit easier to answer. While the films stay rigid to this 27-year cycle, the book gives It more breathing by saying approximately every three decades. 27 years simply gives the viewers a more concrete answer, but the number 27 wasn’t chosen randomly. According to The Secret of the Tarot, “The number 27 expresses a love for and interest in the well-being of humanity and one who is diplomatic and wise. This number is about non-judgement, compassion, and tolerance of others and their beliefs,” this statement is the complete opposite for everything It represents and quite ironic. Many physicists estimate that 27% of the universe is made up of Dark Matter is a force detectable only from its gravity. Just like dark matter, IT is an invisible force.
Being this other worldly entity, IT has several powers which include shapeshifting, telepathy and mind control. With the knowledge of these powers, we can see how terrifying IT truly is as it can read our minds and see into our deepest darkest fear which It in turn will use against us with his shapeshifting abilities similar to villains such as Freddie Kruger. IT does this because, it must eat humans to survive and IT likes to eat human flesh, ‘that has been seasoned with fear’. This explains firstly, why it targets children more as they are easier to scare and it also explains why It enjoys stalking its victims as this prolongs the terror until the person is well and truly terrified of IT. Like Kruger, IT has a ‘preferred’ form which is it reveals itself as most often, in this case it is ‘Pennywise the Dancing Clown’ as clowns are a common fear of many children. Mind control is also a major factor when looking at how terrifying IT is and the destruction it loves to cause. This can be seen in multiple ways, most notably with Henry Bowers, the town bully who on his own has terrorised the main group of protagonists known as the ‘The Losers Club’. IT controls Bowers by making him do its evil bidding. Within this power of mind control, IT also influences the whole town. Firstly, by creating this cloud of amnesia which always hangs over the town and is why no one is appalled by the amount of murders and missing people cases that occur in this small town. It’s evil influence also contributes to how the adults in this town remain quite oblivious and in ways are then turned into monsters too. There is also a rise in violence and hate crimes, in his awaken after his 27 years, which is shown in the opening seen of IT Chapter Two (2019) when a homosexual couple are targeted by a group of thugs. Another power It has is the use of Deadlights. Deadlights which Beverly Marsh witnesses in the 2017, IT Chapter One film, are glowing orange lights that blind his victims and keep them ‘fresh’. Deadlights are meant to be so powerful, we cannot comprehend with our brains and it will drive the person looking at them insane, although Beverly is only rendered unconscious by them.
IT is a truly terrifying villain who not only taps into our deepest fears but creates new ones.
by Aisling O Connell
I've been in this game for years, it made me an animal
It's rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step-by-step booklet for you to get
Your game on track, not your wig pushed back - The Notorious B.I.G
This piece of writing will use and abuse the lyrics of ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ by the Notorious B.I.G, in an adaptation geared towards selling the sweet, sweet, slip into a full-blown addiction to the creative process. This process, a deeply personal practice, should be something every creative individual pays very close attention to. The privilege and outrageous luxury of attending third level education, is that this observance is often a requirement, and you sometimes get rewarded for it.
This is my opinion only, and I hope it does not read as prescriptive. We all know how dangerous it is to mess around with other people’s prescriptions! (Still though... MR PHARMACIST!!)
I have chosen ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ as an example of what it is, I think we should be chasing when it comes to what influences, excites and informs the/our work. Chase the attitude that excites you. Don’t limit yourself to your own discipline. Let your influences and references be as varied and sprawling as they want to be. Find the ethos you believe in. Punk, hip-hop, 70’s protest images, Debenhams sit ins, Joe Strummer, Ben 10 on repeat on your kids iPad, rise of fascism, the constant drone of lockdown, Francis Bacon, a lone man protesting outside CUH, teenagers wailing in the night, Irish wakes, Brendan Behan, neighbours playing classic hits through the walls, drunk people playing hurling in your driveway, grime, Vivienne Westwood circa 70’s in her SEX shop, Vivienne Westwood TODAY, Emily Dickinson, originator of outsider ethos, speedcore Techno-outsider ethos, getting lost, Rebecca Solnit, Joseph Beuys gilted gold, True Crime magazines, shotgun weddings, 90’s Playboy covers, trashy is classy, Maya Derren, Jeff Keen, opiate queens, a long, slow scrape of a hand through the earth. If you are a filmmaker, don’t always look toward film to inform your work. Get the richness and the layers from everything else that surrounds you.
Embrace the chaos and approach it systematically.
Rule Number Uno, never let no one know
How much dough you hold cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy 'specially
If that man fucked up, get yo' ass stuck up
In terms of budget, just don’t have one. Just have no money, no resources, and no equipment. Any limitations, circumstantial or personal, will perfectly be putting out the fire with gasoline. Necessity is the mother!! And your films will be the beautiful babies!
You will recognise ‘the one’ when you begin to acquire equipment. You will develop real, legitimate connections to these devices, especially if you’re working from a low budget. Think about and question these relationships often. These devices are an extension of you and your thought process.
Number 2, never let 'em know your next move
Don't you know Bad Boys move in silence and violence?
Your creative arena, I believe, is the only place you don’t have to let anybody know your next move. It is a place of total freedom. The decisions you make, in terms of composition, colours, subject matter are your choices and yours alone. In the ‘real’ world, we all have so many responsibilities and people to consider. In this creative space, you decide what gets in and out. You decide what lives there. You decide who you want to talk to. And nobody else really cares what you are up to in there, which is liberating. Moving in silence and violence lends itself well to the discipline of filmmaking. Don’t explain everything, and a violent approach to cutting, editing, and shooting has always been my personal favourite.
Number 3, never trust no-bo-dy
Your moms'll set that ass up, properly gassed up
Hoodied and masked up, shit, for that fast buck
She be laying in the bushes to light that ass up
To talk about trusting anyone or anything in these bizarre times would take too long. Trust your instinct and that is all.
Number 4, I know you heard this before
Never get high on your own supply
I strongly oppose to this, in this context. Get so high on your own supply. Use that addict spirit to create! Channel it into creating, chase the adrenalin rush that comes from it. In my mind, nurturing a creative practice, presents itself like addiction. There is insane highs and severe lows. You think you have it under control, then control is dead. You think it’s gone, then it’s back, devouring everything in sight. Pay attention to this process, let it happen. Don’t let any amount of sitting in beige and brown walled, plastic chaired, damp carpeted rooms kill this addiction. This is the addiction that will triumph over all others. The others will starve and erase you. This is the addiction that feeds you, nourishes you, reaffirms your identity, and you just get a huge buzz off it, let’s be honest.
Number 5, never sell no crack where you rest at
I don't care if they want a ounce, tell 'em bounce!
Let’s say crack in this instance is your work, where you rest at, is your story. Visit your own stories, things you know. It is up to you if you want to embellish these stories or keep them hidden away.
I believe an individual’s creative practice is a process in which you are getting closer to who you are and what you believe in. In times of great uncertainty, housing, unemployment and now pandemics, your creative practice can be the one place of certainty you can return to. It’s the only solid thing, and its not solid at all. It’s slippery and unpredictable and delicious compared to all these other unstable elements that make up daily life.
When we talk about these unstable times we are living in, there is often a pressure that we should be making art about it. Art as activism, a site for politics and protest. I do believe that art, film, and literature should reflect on and be critical of what’s going on around us. However, I would be very cautious about trying too hard to say something of great political importance. Go back to your own stories. Nobody really has an easy ride of it. In this way, the personal becomes political, and then you know what you want to say, and why.
Number 6, that goddamn credit? Dead it
You think a crackhead paying you back, shit forget it!
I will take from this, the idea that you will start to recognise other ‘crackheads’, or slaves to the creative process. Gravitate towards them. This will make it easier to begin to identify yourself as an artist, a filmmaker, a writer. This is a hard step to take coming out of your undergraduate course. It always felt embarrassing to me to think of myself as an artist and a filmmaker. Now I am clearly past caring. Lol.
7, this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated
This is a luxury most of us can’t afford. I think I’ve always been trying to balance being a parent with trying to establish a creative practice. Both things started at the same time, and this has been my main experience of adult life so far. My studio must be my kitchen. Acknowledge your circumstances, never be defined by them. Or just ignore them totally! Listen to BbyMutha if you want some guidance about being creative while parenting. Punk ethos!!! Also, Patti Smith writes beautifully about it in the even more beautiful book, ‘Antonin Artaud, Works On Paper’ (MOMA, NY). Or just read Artaud all day for a few years.
As we’ve heard one million times, the pandemic has meant we are all working from home. This is important. You must know you can survive without the support of an institution, or the company of friends, or a shared studio space. You must know you will continue to create, without the deadlines of college, or the chance of a group exhibition. Taking time out of education to establish your own routine, your own process, strengthens your resolve to carry on even if there is a real possibility nobody might ever see your work. And then, you can go back to the warm safe space of the institution and focus on your studies!
Number 8, never keep no weight on you!
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jums too
So, to paraphrase Biggie, don’t get caught. A mistake I have made many times, is proclaiming I have a film nearly made, or an essay nearly finished, and then realising I don’t really have anything done at all. Say nothing!!
Number 9 shoulda been Number 1 to me,
If you ain't gettin' bagged stay the fuck from police
In terms of potential creative inspiration, engagement with any kind of state services is usually very beneficial. Generally, anger, frustration and desperation are hugely important components to making great art. Don’t totally rule out getting arrested.
Number 10, a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain't got the clientele, say "hell no!"
'Cause they gon' want they money rain sleet hail snow
The consignment, the crack – your work, should always be coming in, even if you don’t have the clientele. Don’t worry about who will consume it. Just keep making, no matter what. Don’t be afraid of it. Imagine somebody’s dad shouting and spitting from the side-lines of an under 12’s GAA match, roaring, his face red and contorted from the pull of his hands in his thinning hair, and he is pointing at his child, DON’T BE AFRAID OF IT!! DON’T BE A AFRAID OF IT!! This is your guardian angel, you are his child, and if you are lucky, he will sit on your shoulder and scream this in your ear every time you stare at a blank screen, a white canvas, or stand behind, or in front of a camera.
 Mark E Smith, The Fall, Mr Pharmacist
 David Bowie, Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
by Emily Power
Sat in the Cork School of Music on a cold March morning, the faint whispers of a virus called Covid-19 suddenly became a harsh reality when my lecturer walked in and explained that this was the last time we’d be meeting face to face. My classmates and I all parted way that evening, naively saying, ‘See you in two weeks’ not understanding what was to come. As a soon to be graduate, my life was completely halted and through into chaos. The ‘plans’ I had so meticulously made were now non-existent and everything in the world just seemed to stop, including the film industry.
This ‘new normal’ saw the halting of several television and film productions with large amounts of production staff who typically work freelance being laid off. For other areas of the industry, the easing of restrictions did allow work to resume such as smaller productions and animation but as the restrictions eased and work slowly trickled back, the industry faced new issues such as social distancing and securing adequate funding. Considering this, Screen Ireland announced that it would be offering new support measures that would hopefully cushion the blow of Covid-19. Production isn’t the only area being affected, with production halted and less film being released, cinemas are now struggling with the next James Bond film and big budget productions like Dune (Denis Villeneuve) being pushed back and less than satisfactory ticket sales for Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020). Cinema chains like Cineworld are now considering closing all its cinemas in the UK and Ireland causing mass job loss.
Adapting is the new norm in today's society, with events such as the Academy Awards and Golden Globes pushing dates back and extending the period of eligibility. Other festivals such as the BFI and Slam Dance have created a type of hybrid festival with viewing available in cinemas and online. Many films that were slated for theatrical release such as Lost in Russia or Mulan have now moved to online streaming platforms. Television productions has also had to adapt and a prime example of this is EastEnders and how they’ve managed to create a ‘covid free zone’. The studio has turned into a one-way system and actors have Perspex glass between them to keep them safe during scenes. These new tricks will have to be the way forward for productions to continue running in this uncertain climate.
by Ailín Crowley
Memento (2000, Christopher Nolan) is, in my opinion, still one of Christopher Nolan’s most inventive and compelling films to date. A riveting and imaginative crime thriller, Nolan has created a piece which raises the bar for directors in terms of cinematography, performances and, most certainly, narrative. For a relatively low budget of 9 million USD, Memento certainly pulls off extremely appealing aesthetics. Nolan uses his usual muted tones throughout, as seen his other works such as The Dark Knight (2008) and Interstellar (2008).One notable scene that is visually pleasing is the opening scene, in which we see Leonard shaking a polaroid photograph, but instead of the photograph developing, it fades to blank. The scene that follows, of Leonard shooting Teddy, is also played in reverse, an ingenious way to set the tone and prepare the audience for the fractured narrative that will follow. Nolan displays his use of ingenious and innovative cinematography in scenes such as this throughout the film, confirming his status as an avant-garde director.
In terms of performance, Guy Pearce is most memorable as the protagonist, Leonard Shelby, and successfully conveys the bewildered nature one would associate with having short term memory loss. The audience empathises with Pearce’s portrayal of Leonard; who, despite the film not being over-emotional, evokes their interest in a moving display as he grapples with his condition.
Perhaps the most interesting factor of the film, however, is its narrative. The premise is simple; it is the story of a man with anterograde amnesia attempting to find his wife’s murderer, and avenge her death. Certainly appealing as a psychological thriller, however, what makes this story so intriguing, however, is not the plot itself, but rather the way in which the story is conveyed to the audience. The ever-innovative Nolan disregards the typical three-act structure in favour of telling the story ‘backwards’, using what Andrew Dix describes as an ‘unruly time scheme’. (Dix, p.109) A bold decision, and yet he pulls off this feat seamlessly. As Jean Luc Godard said; “a story should have a beginning, middle and end, ‘but not necessarily in that order’. (Godard in Dix, p.110). Coloured scenes are used within the film to progress the present-day narrative as Leonard attempts to discern and locate his wife’s murderer. This narrative is expressed in reverse-chronological order, whereby the film’s opening scenes occur at the end of the narrative and its concluding scenes exist at the start of Leonard’s quest.
The placement of reverse-chronological order coloured scenes against black-and-white chronological scenes propel the plot forwards, whilst encouraging the audience to actively watch and engage with the film the entire way through. This is a rare feat in this modern era of cinema; so few of us focus entirely on a film during its course nowadays, due to so many distractions around us.
However, Nolan does not allow the audience to sit idle, or to passively enjoy his content. The viewer must remain fully alert during the film, lest they miss out on vital details. Nolan searched for a way to structure his film, so that the audience could experience the same feelings of disorientation and confusion as the main character. As he states in an interview in the Blu-Ray edition DVD of Memento; “How do you give the audience the experience of not being able to remember?” He uses the temporal organisation of the film to temporarily withhold crucial narrative information from the audience, simulating the disorientating experience Leonard endures with his condition. This structure is poignant in a particular scene in Memento, where Leonard wakes up in a bathroom, holding an empty bottle of alcohol. His internalised confusion is made apparent to the audience through the conventional neo-noir genre use of voiceover, yet the narrative truth only becomes evident through the repetition and overlap of each scene throughout the narrative, revealing that Leonard was hiding in the apartment in attempts to assassinate its inhabitant.
We as an audience cannot attempt to predict how the narrative may advance as each scene concludes, but rather we are left to question the events that have taken place prior to each scene commencing. Each scene answers a question posed in the previous scene, and poses a question as to how our protagonist wound up there. We must piece the puzzle together with Leonard Shelby, and it is only at the end for all of us that the final question is answered – who is his wife’s murderer?
The novelty of a story told in an unusual manner is appealing enough to the average audience member, however, the plot structure would grow tiring on its own, if the audience was left to do all the work. Nolan realised this, and so he eases the audience into the complex framework of the film; the use of scene repetition and internal echoes are first used to guide the audience through the events of the narrative, allowing them to simulate their own interpretations of the series of events. Then, as the narrative progresses, the use of repetition reduces in frequency and elisions between scenes are incorporated. Therefore, the audience becomes ‘conditioned’ to accept and process the non-linear narrative just as Leonard conditions himself throughout the film, using notes and polaroid pictures as reminders in order to ‘replicate’ his old memories. As well as this, Nolan cleverly crafts a plot that leaves us shocked with one final twist at the ‘beginning’, chronologically, despite us knowing all of the events that occur after. Even though we have been given the majority of the puzzle, Nolan still manages to surprise us at the last revelation, when he hands us the final piece, and it all clicks into place.
To conclude, Christopher Nolan has created a stellar and masterful film, which both captivates an audience and subverts their expectations. It’s unsurprising, really, that this is a film which has gained such a large cult following. Nolan evidently values his audience’s intelligence, as he said in an interview with The Guardian; ‘I think people’s ability to absorb a fractured mise en scène is extraordinary compared to 40 years ago’. This is simply not just a film that one can watch and subsequently forget about – it is what John Truby describes as ‘the never ending story’, as he ‘creates an apparent’ equilibrium and then shatter[s] it with one more surprise’ (Truby, p.419). This is one of those rare films that garners multiple viewings in order to capture every clue – and I would personally recommend one to view it repeatedly anyways.
UCC Film Writers
Editorials and reviews by students at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. Compiled and edited by Emily Power.