Last night in Barbican Cinema 2 writer, producer and curator Gareth Evans presented some of the edited results of Eelyn Lee's 5-day Monster Lab. Last week Eelyn led a group of 18 collaborating performers, musicians and artists through an experimental process in the Barbican's studio theatre, to find new ways of creating improvised film. Loosely inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the project explored notions of monster, demons and fear, using the setting of the estuary to locate the work.
Evans had visited the Lab on Day 4 and observed the process in action. After seeing the three scenes projected in the cinema, his first comment to the audience was:
"...The idea that we would see something translated so profoundly from a theatrical space to a cinematic one in just a handful of days is really extraordinary... the process starts ironically in a theatre space and becomes more cinematic as it goes on. A wonderful paradox..."
Eelyn Lee and long-term editor/composer Francis Morgan-Giles spent three days editing the footage shot by cinematographer Dominik Rippl. The results are three scenes of a monster story: the river; the hideout and the market. Lee says,
'We have enough footage to cut together four more scenes to complete the story cycle. I am really pleased with the results which are dark, full of suspense and evoke a strong sense of the estuary. We have truly created a new visual language through this unique process. It's very exciting.'
Eelyn is currently looking to transfer the process, characters and stories to a real setting along the Thames Estuary and further develop the work to create a feature length film.
Paul Canoville with Desmond, a student from Brentside High School
Whilst working on the Creative Connections commission at the National Portrait Gallery in collaboration with Brentside High School, artist Eelyn Lee was keen to include a portrait of someone with links to the school in the final display. With notable alumni from neighbouring schools already in the Collection, such as Peter Crouch and Steve McQueen there was an obvious gap to be filled.
Brentside does have a significant former student, Paul Canoville the first black footballer to play for Chelsea in 1982. Canoville suffered a great deal of racism both on and off the pitch, and injury forced him in take early retirement. He has since written his autobiography Black and Blue and gives motivational talks to young people.
Eelyn is pleased to announce that a photographic portrait of Paul Canoville by Hugh Hastings was acquired especially for the display and his image now sits in the National Portrait Gallery's Collection as a just acknowledgement for his contributions to British life and culture.
Eelyn has written a powerful piece about the significance of this acquisition in her guest blog for the National Portrait Gallery. Read it here.
Four 90 second films made by students on this year's BFI Film Academy at the Barbican will be screening on Wed 21st May 5pm, Barbican Cinema 3.
Eelyn Lee developed a fast track course for 18 aspiring young filmmakers, the level of which was very high. Eelyn set a challenge to re-create and then re-imagine a scene from two seminal British films, Kes and the Third Man. The results are four very different and imaginative takes on life and death including a sci fi, a black comedy, a monologue and an experimental art film.
ALL EYES ON US, a 25 minute documentary about the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games is to screen at the British Film Institute on Monday 2nd September. There are two screenings at 12.30 and at 13.30 so pop down during your lunch break....
Tickets are FREE.
Reserve a place for the 12.30 screening here.
Reserve a place for the 13.30 screening here.
A selection of films made by young people whilst working with Eelyn Lee will screen this weekend at the OPEN EAST Festival which marks the opening of the first phase of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Watch out for Muzzammil Hashmi's short teaser about the new public art commission from Heather and Ivan Morison, CAVES AND CROSS and a series of 6 x 1min films about inspiring young people, STORIES FROM THE OLYMPIC HOST BOROUGHS. The Barbican who are programming the festival have also selected MOVING STATUE, a great little film by Ifthekar Ahmed. Take a sneak preview of this his above. Tickets for the festival are available here.