Filmmaker and composer Andrew Telling is a master of creating rich, immersive atmospheres. It’s no surprise that he’s trained in sound as well as visuals as his films marry both to create a compelling sensual experience. His just-released piece following the Rapha Condor Sharp cycling team on their Spanish training camp typifies this multi-layered brilliance and is as fine a three minutes as I have seen in a long time. He’s also just unveiled his good-looking new website giving us the perfect excuse to soak up his work in its entirety, and to ask him a few questions.
Hi Andrew, what was the thinking behind getting a new site?
Well it was well over-due an update and I felt I had the right balance between personal and commercial work where I had handled all aspects of the project from the creative, editing and scoring the music. It was important to get across that I make music as well as films. Showcasing the music as an album on the site allowed it to live alongside my films with equal importance and I’d like to say a big thanks to Chris Thompson for seamlessly bringing all the elements of my work together.
How long did the Rapha film take to shoot and what were the complexities involved? What atmosphere did you want to create?
I was with the Rapha Condor Sharp team for seven days in February out in Benidorm, Spain. I was included in all aspects of their training regime (apart from the massages much to my dismay) eating all our daily meals together, filming them whilst they rode long and hard and in the evening, team meetings where we all talked about our day.
I wanted the film to echo the constant pace of the riders on the bike but also mirror this with the normality of hotel life and down-time in the training camp. I felt it was important to show the physical and emotional stages they go through individually and how the training camp is about fitness but also building the team, mentally and physically.
The challenge from the first day was dealing with how fast the cyclists were as a team on the bike. The landscape of the mountains and rolling cherry blossom fields provided the perfect back drop but made for some interesting car tactics as we constantly tried to rush ahead of the team in the steep winding roads.
The best spur-of-the-moment was filming out of the support car’s open boot on the main descent from Sella which we attempted on the last two days. I got thrown around a lot as there was nothing to hold on to, but it made for some dynamic shots of the team and individuals, as they knew it was one long descent back to the food buffet from there.
You’ve just done your first music video haven’t you – how did you enjoy working in a new area? What were the biggest challenges involved?
I’ve just completed a short film (released on Friday) in collaboration with Felix (Lucinda Chua). I definitely enjoyed it, it was nice to get out of my comfort zone and to work with a great piece of music. The biggest challenge was taking my usual documentary aesthetic and marrying it with new narrative ideas that I had created working against the lashing storms on the open beach – the cheap umbrella that blew away in five minutes didn’t help either.
Do you get frustrated as a filmmaker knowing that a lot of people may only experience your work on their computer screen rather than a cinema etc?
Yes and no. The internet has allowed my films to reach a far greater audience and in some results has led me to talk and collaborate with my peers. My frustration is the quality of the screen, our diminishing attention spans and poor quality speakers which never fully reflect the work of editors, cameraman and composers. It’s a problem that I have been trying to factor into future projects.In an ideal scenario, I would like to present work in a controlled gallery/venue context, giving people the space to enjoy it but also allowing the audience to take away a physical part of the project; a cd/dvd or even an image or still from the film.
What’s next for you?
I am back on the road with artist Conor Harrington heading to the Scandinavian territories in July for the next chapter of our films. A follow up collaboration with artist and illustrator Hello Von is underway, I’ll be continuing my collaboration with the Felix as well as finishing some musical projects, rest of the time I’ll be sleeping in between and paying the bills…
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