Filmmaker In Residence Project: Legacy 5 (Academic Research & New Projects)

Academic Research.

One of the aims of the Filmmaker in Residence project was to provide a basis for scholarship and pedagogy. I wanted to do something creative that fed into my teaching and also my research profile, with the latter resulting in more projects and better teaching for me and also in the wider field of film education. 

In terms of academic research I believe that both outputs and the process of reflecting on and contextualising and critiquing the experience results in improved ways of thinking about industry/teaching projects and the philosophy of film teaching I've now been invested in for so long. 

Output wise, the project has seen and is seeing a few opportunities for dissemination to wider educational and industry personnel and institutions. Here's a quick recap on them.

BAFTSS / MECCSA Practice Symposium

As part of the 2016 Practice Symposium at Bath Spa University I delivered my first paper on the Filmmaker In Residence project. The one-day symposium was fascinating in that it gave me the chance to see other practitioner/scholars plying their trade. It was great to hear a keynote by John Mateer from York, whose practice and scholarly work feels aligned quite closely to my own. The paper went down well and allowed me to formulate some coherent thinking around the project in readiness for a journal article. 

Media Practice & Education Journal

The symposium had a special edition of the Media Practice & Education Journal attached and I've had a paper accepted for publication. This blog is being written on a break from final revisions. The article is due out later this year and I will write another blog to coincide.

Aesthetica Film Festival

As part of the 2016 Aesthetica Film Festival the School of Film & Television hosted a panel discussion on micro-budget filmmaking at the School, talking about the diverse ways we engage in and support independent filmmaking. I was part of the panel talking about 'Wilderness' and the practice more generally. It was great to talk about the project in front of colleagues from other universities, film festivals and old friend of the film course Mark Herman, who I first met at Aesthetica a few years ago. It was further evidence of how unique and special the project is and again, it really helped contextualise it by talking about it in public and thinking it through further. 

New Projects.

I didn't think I would be back making work in the 'Wilderness' mould so soon, and certainly not without Justin involved but an opportunity came up that couldn't be passed up. I've been talking about working with a local filmmaker and Falmouth graduate for a while, and there was time and money to do so, so we leapt on it. I wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of a H.P. Lovecraft short story and co-produced it with Kingsley Marshall, film course leader and 'Wilderness' executive producer. The project also saw me teach Kingsley about (independent) film production. 

We shot the film in January 2018, in the marking period between old term ending and new term starting up. I wrote it in a month or two and have written about my writing experiences here

The project, being a short film, allowed me the scope to teach a colleague production and also put into place and practice some things I wanted to do in the wake of 'Wilderness'. This included bringing back female graduates to be heads of department for production, editing, camera and sound. We managed it in the first three of those departments but the sound recording didn't work out. We are currently discussing the sound design with a female graduate though. 

My idea for the production structure was a student-graduate pipeline. So we had a director who had been out of the school a number of years and who is successful as a music video and music documentary filmmaker looking to make a move into narrative filmmaking. Below him we had graduates who had been out 1-3 years, working to varying degrees and at varying levels in the industry. Their teams of assistants would then be made up of current students. My hope is that this would allow current students to gain valuable experience but see the forward trajectory. It would also aid the graduates in their post-grad development. The graduate positions were all paid, and expenses covered.

It is also a project that has allowed me the opportunity to work with friends/colleagues from the School in new and meaningful ways. Kingsley had the idea of bringing in our colleague Angela Annesley to create illustrations and wood cuttings for the film. It was a thrill to work with Angela outside of the confines of work and she did an amazing job. Here's a sneak peek of her work, in progress: 

Angela Annesley WIP

(c) Angela Annesley /

It was a great success as a production project. The team worked great and much was learned. The director was really happy and is going to employ students who worked on the film on future music video and live filming projects.

I am really proud of the culture being built through these projects. For example, on 'Wilderness' our editor Steven had two assistants. One, Stine, he helped get work in post-production on graduation. We invited her to edit this new short and she came to set to log and load the footage. Her assistant was a first year, Billy. She was so pleased with his work she has got him a paid summer internship at the post-production house where she is now a shift supervisor. For me, that's the culture in action. We support both our students and our graduates and create content that goes out into the world allowing us to talk about our culture. The short is in post-production and the cut is coming along nicely. It will hopefully be at festivals later in 2018, early 2019.

Here's me on set with my co-producer and dear friend Kingsley. I was only there for part of day 1 and I'm not really in focus here. As it should be.