Thursday, July 31, 2014

CLOUD OF SKIN: One Week Left For Indiegogo Campaign

There is just one week to go on the Indiegogo funding campaign for my upcoming feature film Cloud of Skin. We have so far raised 71% of our target. A huge thank you to all who have contributed either through helping finance the project or just by getting the word out there.

If you're not aware of this project, please take a minute to visit the campaign page where you will find full details of this long-cherished film project:

The teaser trailer is here:

And you can also follow us on Twitter:

Cloud of Skin
is an Experimental Film Society/Close Watch production.

Here are the first stills from Cloud of Skin, featuring Siannon O’Neill and Dean Kavanagh. They are taken from preliminary scenes shot earlier this year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Reactions have been coming in to my recently completed short Night Regulation (view here). As usual, Dean Kavanagh was particularly startling and eloquent in his kind response, which I have published below.

(PS: For the record, I found New York generally charming, having encountered many nice people and much fine food on my recent visit there. Any 'apocalypse' is, as usual, entirely my own...)

It was as, you said, your 'New York film'- but it is a history piece too. I felt so compressed watching it, as if drifting through the NY of olde, seeing the pavements, the structures through the gritty, sulphuric black & white, moments of illness (extreme colour). I found it very interesting that, at least in my mind, the use of colour here wasn't a signal or anything (in the same way it wasn't in Damp Access), it wasn't a climax in any way- that was what was so upsetting, it arrived after an extreme fully manifested 'moment'- sometimes of pure gloom and revealed something new- as if one were hearing the sound of flies popping, crackling and dying, followed by being shown the carcasses with the glow of an electric blue light, the smouldering bodies revealed through smoke in an illness of colour. It affected me a lot.

Completely apocalyptic, the drone of the warning sirens, the 'everything must go' sales, the rotten streets. Life only seen through into the shadows (Vicky entering the apartment complex or the camera gliding through the dark into the LED space with the voices of people, then out the other side- such a wonderful homage to Zulawski perhaps?). It seems life has hidden itself from the streets, it is ashamed, and the camera like a war-reporter takes to the asphalt to see what is left. And what is there left? New York seems lost, just utterly wasted away, an elephant graveyard; the bodies of old starlets like Gena Rowlands, or that girl from Permanent Vacation reduced to concrete statues, not like old Greek statues (the daughter of Zeus, or Venus De Milo etc) but like the bodies found after Hiroshima or Pompeii. It felt as if your presence there was like that of a ghost, walking through the streets, revealing the places perhaps where all the great films were made (that shot of Vicky with sunglasses near the bins was a like a note to Ferrara). The smoke and then the sounds of the water and the traffic and the occasional distorted and slowed few seconds repeat of a police siren, as if the past was reaching the present or vice versa.

When the darkness falls, and the lights come out, that's when things got very scary. Parts of the city light up, like old nests- traffic ratcheting its way in dark, grey swarms towards the dying hive. What was most striking was that the film was even darker in the daylight scenes... It really felt like New York at the end of the 1970's (the long shot of the bridge and buildings with boat and skyline). Beautiful.

What was so worrying was the solar panels reaching out blocking the old buildings, as if the drowning creature was trying anything for one last breath. And finally the last scene, with you in the bathtub and that humming sound, just complete claustrophobia, not from the small room, the tub, city itself or the atmosphere, but the history or what little of it is left.

Monday, July 28, 2014


My new video, Night Regulation is now online. Video diary as Film Noir. In NY! And starring Vicky Langan...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

EFS Programme in Brazil

Tangled and Far will play as part of an Experimental Film Society programme in the Fronteira - International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival in Brazil: 

A programme of Experimental Film Society will be screening at Fronteira - International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival. The first edition of FRONTEIRA - International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, runs from the 30th of August to September 7th in Goiânia, Goiás - Brazil. FRONTEIRA is dedicated to films that resist to predominant ways of cinematographic language, questioners of prefabricated views of the world that offers new ways of seeing, thinking and experimenting the reality. The idea is reunite unseen films in Goiás and most of times unseen in Brazil, from a various places, in a significant panorama of the contemporary worldwide and Brazilian film.

Special thanks to Toni D’Angela & Rafael Castanheira Parrode
More info HERE and HERE
Complete programme and line-up HERE

Saturday, July 19, 2014


De LUX Edition

Some news just in:

LUX Moving Image will distribute Absences and (Im)possibilities as a touring programme of Irish experimental film to their exhibitors. Absences and (Im)possibilities, is a programme of experimental Irish film curated by the Experimental Film Club, commissioned by Irish Film Institute (IFI), supported by Culture Ireland. The programme features a selection of films from 1897 to 2013, chosen for their relation to the possibility of an Irish experimental cinema. From Experimental Film Society, the programme includes films by Maximilian Le Cain, Dean Kavanagh, Michael Higgins, Esperanza Collado and Rouzbeh Rashidi. For complete information, list of films and hiring please visit here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Operation Rewrite Interview

A recent interview with Operation Rewrite at Tabakalera, San Sebastian, Spain, on the occasion of our recent performance there. For those who understnd Spanish or who, like me, occasionally pretend to:

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Expansion of the Microscope

More Indiegogo action! Another very worthy campaign running at the moment, to help with the expansion of New York's wonderful Microscope Gallery. Please consider supporting!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

It's Happening: CLOUD OF SKIN

 For the past few months, a major project has been brewing, a feature film called Cloud of Skin.

I've launched an Indiegogo campaign to finance it:

And we're also Twittering and Tumbling:

Here's the pitch:

Cloud of Skin is a love story with hints of science fiction. It concerns three main characters, all of which are gifted with visionary powers that prevent them from settling to a normal existence, leading instead rootless, wandering lives. In previous films such as Private Report (2009) and Areas of Sympathy (2013), I’ve used vague genre plot set-ups from which to build collage-like structures that tap into the characters’ states of mind directly rather than unfolding as a linear story. Cloud of Skin will elaborate on this poetic approach to the material, treating the film as three overlapping inner visions. 

Landscape and atmosphere will be crucial, a brooding, wintry vision of Ireland that will combine post-industrial spaces with urban edgelands and timelessly bleak countryside. The film’s visual texture will also vary, to highlight the different characters’ subjective perceptions. Although it will be shot primarily on DSLR, there will also be sections shot on Super-8, DV and even VHS. 

Cloud of Skin will be produced by Experimental Film Society, Dublin. Rouzbeh Rashidi, head of EFS, will co-produce and bring his overall filmmaking expertise to the project as technical consultant.

The two lead roles will be played be actors I’ve already collaborated with fruitfully on previous projects. The male lead is Dean Kavanagh, the Wicklow-based actor and filmmaker with whom I worked on Forbidden Symmetries (2014). And the main female role will be taken by Cork-based actress Eadaoin O’Donoghue. The section of the collaborative feature Weird Weird Movie Kids Do Not Watch The Movie (2013) that I directed was built entirely around her performance. Newcomer to the screen Siannon O’Neill will round out the cast.

Sound is a crucial part of my filmmaking. I seldom use synch-sound, creating instead artificial soundscapes to root my images in. Cloud of Skin will be a departure for me in that I’ve relinquished this task and invited composer Karen Power to create the sound for this film. Amongst her many other accomplishments, she collaborates with me on the ongoing expanded-cinema performance project Gorging Limpet.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Rashidi's 'Rearrangement Trilogy' Online

Rouzbeh Rashidi's 'Rearrangment Trilogy' is now online, three wonderfully warm new features that celebrate friendship and creativity, and display a gentleness and lightness of touch that contrasts with a lot of the darker material he has been working with in recent years. These films are edited from material shot for earlier works. Esperanza Collado and I appear in the third instalment, Poetics.  

Hypothesis (with Jann Clavadetscher)
Conditions (with James Devereaux)

Friday, July 04, 2014

Sternberg's Wisdom

I believe that every artistic creation is a search. When a painter paints, what do you think he does? His brush searches all the time. He looks for something that is greater than what he himself demands. And when what comes back is only what the artist himself thinks, then it is not good. When something comes back which has a mystic, mysterious unity which is beyond the conception of the artist, that is then good. When the artist cannot recognise his own work. When he does his own work so he can recognise it, then it is not good.

When I say "I know exactly what I am going to do", I mean I know exactly what ideas I'm going to take or what ideas I'm going to use as the foundation of my work but I've no idea of how to direct. As a matter of fact, I've often been asked by my producers- God save their souls!- to tell them what I should do. But how can I tell them? I don't know what I'm going to do. And they say, "You can't do this!" And I say "I can't do anything else". Because I never know if what I want is correct until I see it... And very often in making the film, unless something comes back to me which is better than what I wanted, I don't think it's good. So I very often have to accept the scene as mediocre because you can't work all day long on a single word from eight o'clock in the morning until eight at night... Occasionally something comes back which is better than what I wanted but otherwise it's a reflection of my mind and that's not very good....

I don't have the same reaction to pictures that you have. I view a picture like a surgeon views an operation. If an operation is good and the patient dies, that's too bad. But the operation is what appeals to me....

As a matter of fact, it's difficult for me to talk about my own work. The Russians say: "The chicken does not talk about its own soup".

- Josef von Sternberg (1966)    

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

EFS @ The Guesthouse: Double Bill

On July 17th, as part of Cork's Avant Festival, screening at The Guesthouse: 

The Cork premiere of two films shot last year involving members of Experimental Film Society in which The Guesthouse is one of the main locations.

Tangled And Far (Vicky Langan/Maximilian Le Cain, 2013, 12 mins)
This video is the most recent in the ongoing collaboration between Vicky Langan and Maximilian Le Cain. Drawing on footage of Langan’s performances over the past two years, as well as scenes specifically shot for this video, it foregrounds the overlap between intimate domestic detail and its reflection in Langan’s performance work. The private and public projections of her presence and actions collapse into each other in this phantasmagoric continuum of alternate selves and self-images to form a fractured dream portrait.

Forbidden Symmetries (Dean Kavanagh/Maximilian Le Cain/Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2014, 97 mins)
Emerging from a Guesthouse residency, this collaborative feature is an ostensibly science fictional trip, arranged in three half-hour ‘phases’, one by each director. They are three witnesses to the invasion giving three accounts. Are they observing the same thing? Were there any warning signs? And, after all they’ve seen and heard, are they even competent to offer a reliable report? The purpose of this film is to demonstrate that an effort to construct functions known not to exist may on occasion produce interesting frauds.