Tim Jones will be presenting the world premiere of his documentary about Peter Watkins, director of The War Game and Punishment Park.
Dr Andrew M. Butler will be taking part in a post-film discussion of Chavalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015) at Trinity, Tunbridge Wells, on 27 September 2016 at 8.00pm.
A Greek film about six competitive men on a fishing trip aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the Aegean Sea, Chavalier is a dark comedy about masculinity. Butler will be joining Sam Marlow to discuss the history, influence and relevance of dark comedic films and their importance to our society in the bar after the screening.
Sam Marlow is a writer, director and producer who works on feature films, shorts, web series, stage and page. He owns and runs a number of small production companies and is the Artistic Director of the Electric Lantern Festival, a week-long film and video festival that takes place in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Andrew M. Butler, senior lecturer in the School of Media Art and Design at Canterbury Christ Church University, is author of Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s (2011), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2014), “Human Subjects/Alien Objects? Abjection and the Constructions of Race and Racism in District 9” in Alien Imaginations (2015), “Sleeping/Waking: Politicizing the Sublime in Science Fiction Film Special Effects” in Endangering Science Fiction Film (2015), as well as books on Philip K. Dick, Cyberpunk, Terry Pratchett, Postmodernism and Film Studies. He is coeditor of Extrapolation. He is the non-voting chair of judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. In his spare time, he investigates real ale and collects shiny trousers.
Tickets for the screening are available here.
Dr James Newton’s short film The Empty will be screened in the ‘thriller’ category as part of the RATMA Film Festival in Keighley in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on October 8th. It has also been selected as part of the inaugural Two Cliffs International Film Festival in Ramsgate, and will be screened in the ‘local film’ category on October 14th.
James, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media, shot The Empty in a single day across locations in Canterbury. More information about the film is included in the following blog post – https://jamesedwardnewton.com/2016/01/15/the-empty-2016/
For more details on the Two Cliffs Film Festival visit: http://www.twocliffsfilmfestival.co.uk/
James Newton is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media Theory and his research interests include anarchism in popular culture, radical communities (and the role of digital media in shaping them), political cinema, horror and exploitation, westerns, and documentary. His PhD thesis, entitled The Anarchist Cinema, was completed in 2015. He has previously taught film studies at the University of Kent, film and video production at East Surrey College, and media production at South Kent College
Tim Jones, Senior Lecturer in Film, has won a Hollywood International independent Documentary Award for his documentary short, Seeking Sydney.
The documentary explores the life and work of Sydney Bligh, who made newsreels of Canterbury. His films include footage of the multimillionaire Count Zborowski whose racing cars were the inspiration for Ian Flemings’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Zborowski built his own private mile-long 15” gauge railway around his estate and Bligh’s film is the only surviving visual record of it. Bligh also filmed T.S. Eliot at the first performances of Murder in the Cathedral and Dorothy L Sayers with her first performances of The Zeal of Thy House and The Devil To Pay.
Seeking Sydney provides an insight into the scope, ambition and technical level of an early amateur filmmaker. Tim says “This is the first award that I’ve won abroad and so it was particularly exciting that this should be in Hollywood.” It will receive a festival screening at the Award Ceremony at The Raleigh Studios Hollywood on 10 September 2016.
An excerpt can be seen at https://vimeo.com/172122338
The opening weekend of July 2016 saw the deaths of two significant figures in the history of British genre cinema – director Robin Hardy and producer Euan Lloyd.
Hardy became a hugely respected figure thanks to his 1973 masterpiece, The Wicker Man (1973). That film, the jewel of the minor sub-genre identified as ‘folk horror’, featured Christopher Lee in what was reportedly his favourite role. Millions of words have been used to eulogise The Wicker Man, and so I would like to shift attention onto its ignored (and occasionally maligned) follow up, The Wicker Tree (2011).
Hardy wrote the screenplay based on his novel entitled Cowboys for Christ (2006). It is a thematic sequel to the earlier film, involving a Christian pop group attempting to convert pagans in Scotland.
It is understandable as to why the film was met with disappointment. Its production values occasionally reveal the (relatively) low budget (though there are also plenty of beautifully shot sequences), such as a shot against a green screen cameo by Christopher Lee. Also, the plot is convoluted in comparison with The Wicker Man.
Speaker: Mark Aitken, Goldsmiths, University of London
Communities may share location, allegiance, language, needs, loss – all that affects collective identity and cohesion beyond the parameters of the individual.
Understanding community dynamics for film making is a process of research, analysis and selection. Utilising four documentary films as case studies, different definitions of community are considered. Each film is analysed in terms of how research led to specific work processes and representations. The tension between community needs and responsibilities of the film maker will be highlighted. The outcomes of how and for whom the films were successful or not will be revealed.
Communities may be fragile and vulnerable. A film may stand as the only testament of a community long after it no longer exists. The nuances of voices, faces, temporal worlds caught and preserved, offering opportunity to research why and how community informs a deep need for collective identity.
Born in New Zealand, raised in South Africa, Mark Aitken moved to the UK to further his education at art school and ultimately learn film making. In the 1990s, Mark produced and directed numerous short films, music videos, adverts and television programmes. The advent of digital technology and its inherent accessibility brought Mark back into film education. In the 2000s he facilitated over forty short films with the non-profit polkadots on raindrops – a film education company he founded and dedicated to creative digital storytelling. In 2006, Mark joined Goldsmiths as an Associate Lecturer on the M.A. Film Making course. Since 2010, Mark has run the 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate Film Fiction courses. In 2014, he began facilitating the undergraduate Television course.
School of Media Art and Design, Research Seminars 2015-2016
20 April 2016
Pf06 Powell Building
North Holmes Road Campus
Canterbury Christ Church University
Email Dr Andrew Butler – Andrew.Butler@canterbury.ac.uk – for further details
— All welcome —
Research Seminar: 20 January 2016 – Work In Progress: “Corporate Scumbags”: Neoliberalism, the RoboCop Trilogy and Science Fiction in the 1980s
Canterbury Christ Church University
School of Media Art and Design
Research Seminars 2015-2016
Research Seminar: A Wild West Hero: Motifs of the Hollywood Western in four movies about Hadrian’s Wall
25 November 2015
4.15pm-5.30pm – Powell Building – Pf06, North Holmes Road Campus, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, CT1 1QU
Speaker: Dr Tony Keen (Open University)
One odd factor in the boom in ancient world movies post-Gladiator is the relative dearth of Roman settings, as opposed to Greek, especially in comparison with movies of the 1950s and 1960s. However, some Roman movies have been made, and this paper focusses upon four of them: King Arthur (Antoine Fuqua, 2004), The Last Legion (Doug Lefler, 2007), Centurion (Neil Marshall, 2010) and The Eagle (Kevin McDonald, 2011). Though not produced as a series, these form a convenient thematic set. Not only are all four set predominantly or entirely within Roman Britain, but the most significant portion (and in some cases all) of the action takes place on Hadrian’s Wall or in the barbarian territory beyond. Three of them also involve the Ninth Legion – the exception being King Arthur.
One noticeable thing about these movies is the degree to which they employ the plot structures and mise-en-scène of the classic American western. The villa north of the Wall in King Arthur, which makes no sense in terms of Roman settlement patterns, becomes comprehensible as the equivalent of the isolated homestead that needs rescuing by the US Cavalry. Centurion, as Neil Marshall freely admits, steals substantially from the prolonged chase of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, including a virtual recreation of that scene’s climax. The Seal People of The Eagle are visually coded in costumes and make-up reminiscent of recent cinematic depictions of Native Americans, such as that seen in Dances with Wolves. Only The Last Legion avoids that approach, choosing instead to appropriate the mysticism of Star Wars (which has itself been described as a Western in disguise). Why are such elements so attractive to makers of Roman movies that they want to use them to supplement the more traditional tropes of the epic? Why does The Last Legion choose a different route? If moviemakers are so keen to make disguised Westerns, why are they not making real Westerns? Perhaps there is a certain portrayal of the Other that is no longer acceptable when applied to Native Americans, but can be applied on a different continent and at a greater chronological remove.
Tony Keen is an Associate Lecturer and Honorary Associate with the Open University, and Adjunct Assistant Professor with the University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway. He writes on reception of Greece and Rome in modern popular culture, in particular in cinema in science fiction. He is planning a co-authored book on the depiction of Roman Britain in cinema and television.
Email Dr Andrew Butler – email@example.com – for further details
11 November 2015 4.15pm-5.30pm
Powell Building – Pf06, North Holmes Road Campus, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, CT1 1QU
Eddie McMillan (CCCU) Bryan Hawkins (CCCU)