Film Archive

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    I was lucky enough to be at Dublin’s OFFSET festival this year to hear photographer Richard Mosse talk about his extraordinary work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Infra is a series shot on film first developed by the US military to spot camouflaged figures in the landscape. But Richard found the effect it had on capturing both the people and places of the conflict – which has seen more than five million people die since 1998 – was striking.

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    One of my top three afternoons here at It’s Nice That was spent interviewing Nadav Kander. At the end of a long day he was nevertheless the most engaged, generous and interesting interviewee imaginable (the piece was published in the summer issue of Printed Pages). So whenever he produces something new I am helplessly predisposed to like it, which is essentially fine because Nadav is a creative talent from the very top drawer.

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    Beautiful video here from the mystic Brooklyn siren that is Sharon van Etten. It was directed by Michael Palmieri whose impressive back-catalogue of music videos includes the likes of The Strokes, Belle and Sebastian, Foo Fighters and Beck. In this video for Sharon he’s taken her song title Taking Chances quite literally, setting her in a spiritual environment surrounded by smoking cups, plants, and classical, illustrated tarot cards. “When I first heard the song the lyrics immediately made me think about the opening sequence to the great Agnes Varda film Cleo from 5 to 7, one of my favorites,” Michael says of the video.

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    They may look like scenes from an animated kids’ film based underwater, but these stills are in fact all taken from PhD student Daniel Stoupin’s mind-blowing time-lapse film, Slow Life. The film combines over 150,000 photographs taken of some of the world’s most stunning coral reefs over excruciatingly long periods of time, allowing us land-based viewers to watch the otherwise imperceptible changes on the the ocean beds, which actually happen incredibly slowly.

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    Is there anything better than when pair of cool, creative individuals who also happen to be romantically involved collaborate to make something glorious together? No, I answer myself, there is not, which is why this new offering from super-couple Lena Dunham and her musician boyfriend Jack Antonoff, lead singer of Bleachers, is so fantastic.

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    It’s fair to say my dancing “style” is very much of the embarrassed-dad-at-a-late-1990s-wedding school. You know the type; he knows the Macarena but he’s not sure how. Luckily though i-D and Diesel have ridden to my rescue with this brilliant new video taking us through the A-Z of dance. It’s fair to say that it’s modern dance, so twerking and East Coast Swing are in, but anyone waiting for the waltz will be disappointed. Nonetheless it’s a super-fun celebration of some of society’s rhythmic foibles.

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    Krishna Shenoi is a 20-year-old filmmaker, writer and illustrator based in India. He is also a bit of a scamp as evidenced by his latest project which is pinging around the blogosphere today with good reason. Krishna has created an alternate scene for multi award-winning space and special effects bonanza Gravity, one which if included would have made it a very different film. The core idea is simple and funny, but as we so often say it’s the care with which he’s executed it that raises it above so many fleeting online parodies. Good work sir!

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    In case we haven’t told you a billion times already – oh wait, we have – Tavi Gevinson and Minna Gilligan very kindly had a conversation on the theme of Doing it Differently for our Spring issue of Printed Pages. They covered some of life’s most important topics including Madonna, hoarding, being the CEO of your own life, felt tips, and not giving a shit about people hating stuff you create.

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    This Thursday sees the launch of Suspended, a debut solo show by Chloe Early at The Outsiders London. The works on display are Chloe’s response to the “romantic splendour of Renaissance religious art” and an exploration of “the themes of weightlessness and gravity.” Her paintings feature realistically rendered human figures, lifted above the ground by unseen forces or large clusters of helium balloons. Chloe contends that we no longer have objects of worship within fine art, and so her images serve as celestial totems of real-world figures elevated above the mundane.

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    There’s two creative achievements to be lauded here, one of which is joyfully opportunistic. Kendra Eash wrote a terrific poem called This Is A Generic Brand Video for McSweeney’s which lampoons the kind of corporate videos dreamed up by marketing committees with too much time on their hands. You know the ones, full of inspirational imagery saturated with heavy-handed metaphors and sprinkled with impressive-sounding but essentially meaningless claptrap.

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    Daniel Hashimoto just trumped every single other dad who thinks they’re doing a pretty good job and jumped straight to the top of the podium. How? He’s an After Effects artist for DreamWorks studios, and he’s taken to adding CGI to clips of his toddler son playing at home. As a result, little James sets fire to shelves with his light sabre in toy shops, falls through puddles on the street, jumps over hot lava bouncing from sofa to sofa in his living room and he shoots things left, right and centre. He even has his very own dedicated YouTube Channel, The Action Movie Kid. Don’t miss the moment when James exclaims “Golly!” as his house collapses in ravaging flames behind him. Thank God The Independent brought this to our Friday! AMAZING.

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    Since we first heard Jungle’s debut single Platoon in June of 2013 we’ve been eagerly anticipating every new track they’ve released and keen to see how they’ll follow up their outrageously cute first video that featured B-Girl Terra, a six-year-old break dancer.

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    Imagine if, instead of being an online search engine, Google was a man in an office, surrounded by stacks of papers too high to see over. Imagine if every time you had a question to Google you not only had to wait in line outside his office, but you also had to watch ashamedly while he rummaged through the aforementioned files. Imagine the things you’d hear.

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    In the competitive, ever-changing world of the creative industries, it can be hard to get the right opportunities to make great work, which is why the time is ripe for innovative platforms like MOFILM.

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    We’ve always suspected that Robert Hunter was a talented chap – we were certainly aware that his illustration skills were pretty top notch. But what we hadn’t appreciated was what a diverse range of skills he’s got tucked up his sleeve.

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    We all know Clarks has a cult following in Jamaica – everyone from Vybez Kartel to Little John has sung about them in one form or another (there’s even a book about it). But we didn’t know that the appeal of Clarks transcended musical boundaries to the point that mysterious rapper MF Doom would consider collaborating with the brand. But, that’s exactly what’s just happened; the company that used to make your school shoes have released a custom Clarks Original with the MF Doom monogram embossed into the leather. And here’s a beautifully-shot promo by Charlie Robins and Joe Alexander to prove it, following MF Doom on a road trip to the Somerset village of Street, where the very first shoe was born. Baffling and brilliant!

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    The final of this week’s five films in the 32LDN series building up a portrait of London through the stories of the people and places which make it what it is comes Alright Superstar. It features Chloe Kelly, a 15-year-old football prodigy who plays for Arsenal and England and is arguably the most straightforward concept of the five films. But what makes it soar is the skill of filmmakers Jake Green and Simon Poon Tip; from the hazy, cinematic shots of empty playing fields (which evoke memories of late summer holiday afternoons) to the powerful but not heavy-handed juxtapositions. There is also a really nice segment towards the end which shows Chloe as the nervous, giggly and sometimes awkward teenager she is, rather than the superstar role she is having to assume.

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    There’s almost constant talk about the gentrification of London in the press and what that means for its established small businesses. Studios, workshops, barbers and quality off-licences (imagine!) are disappearing at an alarming rate across the city with blocks of unimaginative flats popping up in their place. But it’s often easy to forget that these changes affect real people who have been plying their trade for decades in these recently gentrified areas.

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    To me, a shiny-floored shopping mall signifies one thing: BORING. To those who prefer to be on wheels, this lacquered, square building with its wide corridors and seemingly endless open spaces indicate something entirely different: a perfect place to skate. As part of their 32LDN project, producer Simon Poon Tip and director Jake Green spent weeks haunting the deserted late-night mall of Stratfor City in order to find the bladers and skaters who whizz around these spaces into the small hours of the morning. The result is Smooth Floors & Open Doors – a beautiful film that highlights these strange, sometimes nocturnal creatures who whizz around pedestrians and see a shiny floor as something to be taken advantage of rather than ignored. Lovely.

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    The second of our five day celebration of 32LDN – a brilliant 32-part series of films devoted to London’s 32 boroughs – takes us to Bethnal Green’s famed cafe E Pellicci, which has been in the Pellicci family for over 100 hundred years.

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    We can all get pretty wrapped up in process, but even the most mindbendingly unusual approach can be considered a failure if the final piece doesn’t stand on its own two feet creatively speaking. Young directorial duo Santiago Carrasquilla and Joe Hollier – who work together as Santiago and Joe – have shown they understand this with their new video for Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s single Everything is Everything. The process is certainly noteworthy as the pair filmed hours of live action footage and uploaded it onto an iPad, which they then scanned as the films played out.

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    If you picked up a copy of our winter 2013 issue of Printed Pages you will have come across a tremendous series of photos Jake Green shot at the about-to-be-refurbished Renoir cinema. They were actually part of a much larger project Jake is working on with Simon Poon Tip, a collaborative collection of 32 films telling 32 London stories (the number coincides with the capital’s boroughs). We are delighted to bring you the first five films all this week; starting with the elegiac piece filmed during the last days of the old Renoir.

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    “Peng” isn’t a word everyone knows. I didn’t know the definition until about three minutes ago when I visited truth-sayers Urban Dictionary where they informed me it means “Sexy Girl. Adjective. ’There’s some proper PENG over there!’” Interesting. I don’t know what it’s like to leer after a sexy girl, but I do know what it’s like to stand in a kebab shop, dribbling, praying for them to call out my order so I can bury my face into its greasy, greasy loins.

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    Delightful stuff here from London-based, self-pronounced “architects of experience” Silent Studios, who have recently launched a new film to celebrate the Spring/Summer 2014 collection from Anya Hindmarch. This beautiful short was created in-house by their little team of very lovely, very experienced people who were briefed by Anya herself to make a piece of promotional material that explored the theme of “weightlessness.”

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    Unless you’ve spent the last couple of days in a hole far, far underground, you’ll have seen Tatia Pilieva’s viral fashion film in which 20 strangers meet and kiss for the very first time. It’s awkward, it’s adorable, and it had the whole online world melting together in a bewildered puddle of gooey feelings.

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    For the Spring 2014 issue of Printed Pages we went out to six of London’s finest galleries and museums to interview their invigilation staff about the works of art and antiquity they take care of, and what they mean to them personally. We hit the Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, White Cube Bermondsey, The Saatchi Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery, and in this film we meet Neide Gentelini, a gallery assistant at the V&A, who explains her love for a piece of Renaissance sculpture.

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    I have to confess, I’m wholeheartedly averse to public displays of affection. It doesn’t even matter if I’m bathed in a rose-tinted mist myself, all it takes is a pair of slurping snoggers on the Tube and my reflex is to double up immediately and start making violent and theatrical retching sounds, the likes of which are rarely seen outside of children’s telly programmes. With that in mind, this short film by Tatia Pilieva, in which 20 strangers meet each other and then proceed to kiss for the first time, took me completely by surprise with its simple and strangely transfixing approach.

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    “Reclaim the Forgotten, cherish the neglected, treasure the abandoned, encourage the overlooked, adore the unfashionable, re-invent the unwanted, champion the unloved, value the rejected” reads the copy on the souvenirs page on the Museum of British Folklore site. When visiting this particular page, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this museum was already up and running, but sadly it is not. And that is where filmmaker Tom Chick has stepped in – to encourage donations and support for one of the worthiest causes I’ve certainly ever read about.

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    We talk a lot about simple pleasures on It’s Nice That, but this very short little film kind of takes the biscuit (sorry) in the sense that it’s pretty much an eyeball massage from start to finish. First of all, While you were Steeping is a great project: asking creatives to do something in the time it takes for their beverage of choice to be prepared. I had a kind of personal veto against any tea-related project until we saw this yesterday, because frankly anything Geoff Mcfetridge wants to do that’s tea-related is completely, 100 percent fine by me. In this case he’s painting a white table in such a beautifully gentle, skilful way that it made me zone out and clumsily spill my own tea all over my desk. Thanks a bunch, Geoff!

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    I often feel that lyric videos were made for me and my fellow kids of the 80s and 90s . If you turned teenager in Smash Hits’s heyday then you too will recall tearing eagerly at the perforated edges of the lyrics to various Sean Paul belters and trying desperately (but to no avail) to learn every word so that you could sing along to Top of the Pops come Friday.

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    Three cheers for directorial duo Stephen Ledger-Lomas and Phoebe Arnstein for their work on Jamie Isaac’s new song, She Dried. Together they take us to a stark, monochromatic room where we are third wheel to a curious dinner date between Jamie and a fascinatingly beautiful older woman. This peculiar little love story is spliced with shots that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end – a lightbulb in a vice, white thread (or hair?) dragged between rusty nails, dark liquid dripping on to a calloused hand – the stuff of short, sharp nightmares or the more bloodcurdling scenes in Twin Peaks. What’s so refreshing about this video is the simplicity of it, as it serves as a reminder that for a great video all you really need is a few props and two very, very talented filmmakers.

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    I see you all, standing on the train platform with your fat little thumbs scrolling into oblivion as you wade through all your “friends” showing off their artisan lifestyles on their mobile phones. Hey, who am I kidding? I flipping love Instagram, and my artisan lifestyle. Retro video parody-making team SquirrelMonkeyCom have meshed the social media de rigueur with the 1980s. Sure back then they had speedboats, rolled-up sleeves and enough cocaine to dry up the Pacific but did they have the World Wide Web? They did not. What this video does is spell out just how lucky we are to have an easy way to show off our boring photos to our friends with just one click, because back then it would have taken about four days. Check out the rest of the series over on their YouTube channel.

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    We first came across young filmmaker James Aiken almost a year ago when his Icelandic surfing film captured our imagination. His unerring eye for cinematic scenery and ability to create and manipulate atmosphere in even a few short minutes was genuinely exciting, and we’ve been lucky enough to work with James on a couple of occasions in the past 12 months.

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    It was only recently we were singing the praises of Tate’s video content in the form of Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan’s tour of the Paul Klee exhibition. Clearly though this was no fluke, Tate appear to be an institution which has taken to the world of online film like a Monet to water(lillies). Their Unlock Art series (with Le Méridien hotels) is a case in point; short introductions to the ideas and movements which have shaped the art world. The themes range from the nude in art to performance, Pop Art to purchasing and they are each fronted by a famous face (like comedian Sally Phillips or Peter Capaldi, aka Dr Who).

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    To show off the latest features in Sony’s new lens-style QX100 camera-phone, Wieden+Kennedy Portland have put together a stonker of a campaign that combines childlike wonderment with cutting-edge miniature film-making.

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    Hoorah! Three cheers for i-D for actually bothering to look into a model’s extra-curricular life and find out what she’s really into. In the latest episode in their More than a Model series, we meet powerful woman Rosie Tapner (who may or may not be rather well brought-up) a countryside-loving outdoors kind of lassie who likes to follow rogue lacrosse balls into the distance via bicycle, Flyknits or passing horse. Brill!

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    We said no Valentine’s Day posts but here we are publishing a romantic video made by a couple. Love-based it is, but cheesy it is not. This video for French band Petit Fantome L is a collection of spine-tinglingly great archive footage (what is it about seeing people jumping into lakes that makes you pine for summer and kissing?) that has been collated in an interactive format.

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    There’s a reason why this French film has gone viral, and that’s because it’s bloody brilliant. A perfect example of a very simple idea executed to perfection, director Eleonore Pourriat has taken us to Paris where we follow a man around his normal day. As he goes about his chores the realisation slowly creeps in that this guy isn’t just a house-husband, he’s living in a world where the role of men and women has been switched. We watch him deal with prejudice, be sexually abused verbally and physically, and struggle in a relationship which he has little to no control over. So well-shot and perfectly timed it gives you goosebumps and spot-on enough to change your views on gender forever, this is an absolute triumph of a short film, and must be watched by everyone.

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    There’s a lot of great process films out there that take you behind-the-scenes in the studios of fashion designers, illustrators, artists and designers. There’s absolutely shed-loads that demonstrate a specific print technique in real depth, but there’s really not many that show the intricacies of a process with enough detail to allow you to have a crack at it yourself while simultaneously captivating your imagination with the simple poetry of the process on show.

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    We’ve taken the opportunity to sing the praises of Pulse Film’s best filmmaking duo Fred&Nick before when they made the astounding promo for Laura Marling’s recent album. Now they’re back with something much less whimsical yet no less haunting, a documentary set to be aired on Channel 4 entitled PAYDAY. The Croydon-based program “delves into the finances and wallets of four 20-somethings that came of age in the financial crisis, a generation blighted by debt as well as overwhelmed by consumerism.” Fred&Nick were kind enough to answer a few questions about the making of such a timely and important piece of film.