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The Closer We Really Are Getting …

At last we can share not only the wonderful new trailer for the film (with big thanks to Intermission) but also the VERY exciting news that we have our World Premiere at the acclaimed international documentary festival, Hot Docs - in Toronto, Canada - and soon!

Have a look here for more info - we screen on Wed April 29 & Thurs April 30 and tickets are already available :-)

It's an amazing start to the film's journey, and we are looking forward to bringing it closer to our home shores in the UK as soon as we can. Right ... back to trying to print out the flyers, get some hard drives off to Canada and finish those sub-titles - no rest here!

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The Closer We Get

The pedal has been on the metal these last few weeks on our new film The Closer We Get, and at the end of March we welcome once more Karen's niece Zoe to intern on this next phase of the film's life.

We're still at Splice in Shoreditch where people are beavering away finessing audio and final picture tweaks, and upstairs at Intermission Film, an incredible trailer has emerged - we cannot wait to show you it next week, we think you'll love it.

Lastly I have to flag up the great work of designer Koby Barhad (working on our film poster) and Damian Shields who has been doing our digital compositing - look at this wonderful picture below!

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Still by Nina Pope, compositing by Damian Shields

Up, Up and Away

We're having a superbusy few weeks planning the Floating Cinema's first trip beyond London - up the Bath & Kennett canal to Bristol, very slowly of course.
It's all happening from June this summer so look out for us if you're in the West Country!

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Floating Cinema by Hydar Dewachi

One Day, an Expedition Arrived at a New Place….

Very pleased to have heard that we have some very welcome Arts Council support offered for our epic 25 year project, Prospection - a multi-disciplinary survey of the evolution of a new place and community from 'Year 0'.
A prototype of what we're doing was first shown at Kettles Yard in Cambridge last year and we are hoping the survey will take place annually at North West Cambridge - where our residency in archaeology that inspired the project was - for the next 25 years.

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Mobile Garden City for Chobham Manor

We're very busy at the mo working with public works (who we've worked with before in various guises from the wondrous Egremont Folk Float to the Abbey Gardens Honesty Stall). We've been appointed 'Design Champions' (Yes, we wondered that too :-)) working with gardening charity Groundwork London, to design a temporary 5-yr garden that will move twice - yes TWICE - in its life.

The rather windswept site (pictured) is our canvas, but in reality it has a great view of the velodrome, some rather smart flats nearby, a nice cafe / play area and of course the brilliant expanse of the Queen Elizabeth Park (former Olympic Park) right beside it. The growing space will be comparable to our nearby 2009 garden project What Will the Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens and ground pollution means raised bed growing again. We're having a lot of fun looking at English garden city design principles in the early 20th century and coming up with ideas around the paradoxical concept of a moveable this space as the project unfolds!

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Vacant temporary garden site at Chobham Manor, Stratford, East London

Picture by Andreas Lang

Birmingham on my mind

I was once a very young lecturer in Fine Art at what was University of Central England (i think it's now Birmingham City University?) in the late 1990's until 2003. My colleagues (some of the most fondly remembered died too young - Mike Holland, Pete Lloyd Lewis...) and students made lasting impressions on me, and the city of Birmingham itself was unrecognisable from what's there today - I still remember the fantastic basement diners where we had to get lunch - smoke-filled places where food was cheap and fast and greasy. Pret a Manger was still nearly a decade off.

So I'm very pleased to be showing in the city for the first time, and with former students (incl. the unforgettable 'you did what with the rabbit!?' Reuben Henry) and also former colleagues (David Burrows).

So, to see the faded glamour of our beautiful vintage Bata awning in this forthcoming show:

Eastside Projects / 86 Heath Mill Lane / Birmingham B9 4AR

31 January to 11 April 2015 (Public Preview - 30 January 2015/ 6–8pm)

Tel. 0121 771 1778

Wednesday to Saturday 12–5pm - Free entry

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Somewhere hits Instagram

Happy New Year!

If you do Instagram, we do now too - at

Say hi - guaranteed no pouting selfies :-)

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It Happened Somewhere in 2014

2014 kicked off rather splendidly for us at top speed with our Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for our film 'The Closer We Get', which raised over 15k from 333 of you. It's still hard for us to believe how generously the project has been supported (some of you even coughed up way after the campaign ended, gently into our Paypal account :-)) - everyone says it, but there's nothing like crowdfunding to remind you how important and rewarding it is to connect with your audience - it was great to hear from so many of you i in person. And it's wonderful to reach the end of the year with the film at long, long last 'in the can' with the additional support of Splice in London on post-production. We look forward to an as-yet-to-be-confirmed festival premiere in 2015 and then to lots of screenings to share with you.

Taking part in May's 'Science, Stroke, Art' season in Manchester with the Stroke Association (thanks, Chris Larkin) was also a highlight this year - a panel of stroke medical professionals, survivors and carers watched our rough cut of 'The Closer We Get' and then Wellcome Engagement Fellow Dr Erinma Ochu lead a fantastic workshop discussing issues raised in the film and how to develop these into outreach ideas that will ensure the widest possible audience for the film.

It was an outdoorsy year for Somewhere too - Abbey Gardens (which we designed nearly 6 years ago now!) continues to flourish and The Friends Group is about to grow into a CIO (that's a charitable incorporated organisation for those not in the know!) through the hard work of the members, trustees and patient new administrator Vicki Lewis. Do pay a visit if you find yourself in east London in 2015 - it's so much more than a garden.

In 2014 we also made what is probably our most ambitious public art commission to date - Tomorrow, Today (working with InSite Arts and the Contemporary Art Society on the NW Cambridge development of Cambridge University). It's a large-scale outdoor cob (earth) megapolis which after a year or so will be buried under the new development, a gift for future archaeologists to uncover. The project attracted over 50 volunteer cobbers who learned to cob under guru Kate Edwards and worked in all weathers to help build this spectacular and unworldly piece with us. Unofficially you can still visit on foot, but keep it under your hat :-)

Not content with Tomorrow, Today as an 'output' from our residency with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (led by the inspiring and charmingly hirsute Chris Evans) we kicked off what aims to be a 25 year project in Cambridge too - Prospection (yep, in it for the long game - see you in 2040 for the retrospective). This is another archaeology-related project, this time surveying the inhabitation of NWC as it progresses from 'Year 0' (that was 2014 and 2 Portakabins) to 'Year 25' (apparently some 13,000 homes). We made a 'Year 0' prototype with a wonderful group of archaeologists, a sociologist and various others which we exhibited at Kettles Yard.

Summer also saw the return of the Floating Cinema to London's canals, which we work on with the brilliant Up Projects. This year our 'International' theme had us working closely with partners Jihlava and Ambulante Film Festivals and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art. We watched a helluva lot of screeners to select our programme of powerful feature films, and also enjoyed planning some left-field events with the likes of Robert Elms, the Esperanto Society and Kieron Tyler. We even squeezed a dumpling-making workshop in.

In 2015 we take the FC project outside of London for the first time, along the Kennet & Avon canal to Bristol so do watch this space for updates on that and get in touch if you have an idea for what we should think about doing along that route next summer. Recommendations for ice cream venues welcome obvs.

We had some awesome people working with us this year, and we'd especially like to flag up the talented Kirsten Lavers (cob coordinator on Tomorrow, Today), our Cambridge cooks Al and Cindy (keeping cobbers well fed), Kettles Yard show designer Koby Barhad, and Maria Duvidzon (intern) - the latter remained unphased by swathes of odd tasks from 'find us a native Amharic speaker' to 'check that this Scottish folk song is not in copyright'. On 'The Closer We Get' we've continued to reel in the face of the wonder that is editor Alice Powell (she cuts, she bakes - is there nothing she can't do?) and a delight to work with a sound designer for the first time - Doug Haywood - and to hear Malcolm Middleton's consistently inspired film score emerging. We know you'll love the result.

Our mini-retrospective at Cambridge's Kettles Yard 'Past, Present, Somewhere' attracted over 8300 visitors over 3 months, and we welcomed many old and new friends and collaborators to the latest in our once-every-six-years gallery career. Marie France Kittler of Kettles Yard deserves a special mention for her unwavering patience in the face of our films, pickles, old clothes and faux Tudor pottery.

The past few months of 2014 have seen a few very interesting speculative invites from Nice People We Might Work With in the Future. We always enjoy these escapades into the unknown. Visits have included the awe-inspiring World of Glass in St Helens (vast range of exhibits, very good ham sandwich in cafe), the high-Victorian wonder that is the Harris Museum (Preston) and a patch of land in the former Olympic Park.

Many of you are keeping in touch with us via social media too which we love to see - we've somehow gathered over 100 new Likers on Facebook this year and have just launched an occasional Instagram feed buoyed on by the encouragement of Andrew "I just do beauty on Instagram!" Nairne from Kettles Yard, who says it's mainly him and Bedwyr Willliams in there. So say hello if you are there too.

Lastly we were very sad to hear this year of the death of Joan James, a great friend to Somewhere and an amazingly vibrant and positive woman. Joan was one of the East Tilbury passengers very much at the heart of our first film 'Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future'.

Thank you all for your interest in us and what we do. It means more than we let on, really it does, so all the best to you and yours over the festive season, and see you in 2015 for more of this sort of thing,

Karen & Nina xx

1 Comment:

Great to hear that The Closer We Get is now 'in the can'. Well done. I was drawn to support you in this work by the tenderness, honesty and love which compelled you to tell your story.
Well done!

Lovely to hear that Ellen - many thanks for your support

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The Closer Karen Gets….

As of course many of you regular Somewhere visitors will know the almost complete 'The Closer We Get' is our fourth feature length film - and the latest work to come from a collaboration that has now spanned almost 20 years since Karen and I were at art school together in Edinburgh. As mentioned below until Sunday this week there's still a chance to see the other 3 feature docs. as well as some of our art works new and old in Past, Present, Somewhere at Kettle's Yard gallery in Cambridge.

The pieces on show include one of our first projects HOMESPUN made back in 1997 when we spent a week making video/performance pieces 'live' from our parents homes. Karen has used some of this footage to great effect in The Closer We Get - and this was just one of the things she spoke about last Wednesday night during a special talk at the gallery about the development of the film.

It's sometimes a difficult but often amazing experience to watch your own films with an audience but in the case of a film like this - which is SO personal to the director - this is certainly always going to be a challenge. It's one that last week I realised Karen is ready to rise too! She spoke with fantastic clarity about working with her family on the film and the, perhaps, unexpected strength and solace the process had offered to her during extremely emotional and challenging times for them all.

For me it was only the second time to have seen clips from the film with a group of people (aside from Alice, our wonderful editor, and Karen!) and it was reassuring to see both how touching and funny the audience found the material. Of course I think it's a wonderful piece of work and at moments profoundly moving, but having been in the living room for some of the filming, knowing Karen for so long and of course supporting her through the long editing process one can loose clarity on how a fresh audience will see the film. We are so close to finishing the project and it's taken a long time so I think it was a great boost for Karen and indeed me to feel the atmosphere in the room with this intimate audience at Kettle's Yard.

I'm really glad Karen recorded her talk … I was thinking forward to when she will still be talking about the film in years to come and wondering if we will recall the clarity she spoke with on this occasion. I think many people leaving felt like me - lucky to have been there at the 'start' of the journey the film will soon be making from a private family story to a film with a public.

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Karen speaking at Kettle's Yard, her Mum Ann on screen.
'Reading' as it originally appeared in HOMESPUN in 1997.

Honesty Table - Northern Twin!

On in the brilliant Grizedale Arts retrospective show 'The Nuisance of Landscape' is the Northern twin of our Kettles Yard Honesty Table! It's presently stocked with cool Korean preserves mainly.

We also have our film 'Little Deluxe Living' in the show, our multiple 'Titchy / Kitschy', and some faux-Tudor pottery from our film 'Living with the Tudors'.
Quite a mash-up :-)


The Nuisance of Landscape: Grizedale - The Sequel
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL Telephone 01539 722464

Monday - Saturday
10.30am - 5pm

(Ends 20 December 2014)

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Honesty Table in situ at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Nov. 2014
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