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Heavy Load play out Brit Doc 2008
This doesn't really do justice to a wild performance

Heavy Load

I'm just back tired and emotional from BritDoc 2008 & I can definitely report that the festival is much more fun when your film is not playing! This year I was able to see more stuff, concentrate on what was being said/shown and enjoy responding to the question of 'what are you working on next' with 'a film about cat breeding' ... which caused most 'networking' pressures to evaporate ...

My absolute top recommendation would be a co-SXSW film from this year 'Heavy Load - A film about happiness', which I was excited and nervous to see. It didn't disappoint, I loved the film & you can't help but love a band who cover Kylie & the clash & wrote a song in tribute to George Michael 'Gay at weekends'.

Visit their website for more info & sign up for screening info when it's released in the UK - you won't regret it. The image to the right shows the band singing with the producer & director at the closing party.

It reminded me of Bata-ville in a funny way, and how moved I was by the experience of making it, and the commitment of many of the films 'characters'. Bata-ville has been called 'a sad film about hope', in many ways Heavy Load is a sad film about happiness, it obviously had as big an impact on the director as Bata-ville and its participants had on Karen & I.

The other film I saw was Man on Wire ... also a cinema visit you won't regret, although at a festival focussed on composers & music, it was shame to see a film with such a miserable off the shelf top-classical-hits sound track. For me it spoiled an otherwise top notch film.

Other highlights were my 'surgery' with Danielle DiGiacomo of Indiepix & an extraordinarily helpful hot housing session (we BritDoc grantees get extra special treatment) with the forthright Documentary Doctor Fernanda Rossi. The woman is an advice power house, I could see why you might end up paying her to Skype you with exec. feedback!

A gratuitous repeat of this unforgettable image
of transatlantic Tudorness at SXSW earlier this year

The joys of local media

Here's a forensically detailed review of our film Living with the Tudors!

Detail of 'Titschy/kitschy'
How can you resist?

The Honesty Table at Arnolfini's 'Far West' show

We *think* that the Northern Art prize-winning Honesty Tables are out on show at Bristol's Arnolfini Gallery right now as part of the show 'Far West'. If you've seen the show please confirm or deny....
The show is a quiet launch of the finished multiple 'Titschy / kitschy' (the prototype was on show in the NAP too), a collectible set of two model houses depicting rural idylls in the English Lake District and Japan.
Price? I think that's up to the gallery....but excellent value of course.
Read more here about the show, though there's a far nicer project website here.

Have Juneau/projects been here much?

Karen on Exmoor

This week I'm on gorgeous Exmoor in Somerset, developing my project for the Triparksresidency, a great project hosting artists in 3 of England's National Parks. Following a productive 2 days of meetings in the implausibly named Pixies Holt outward bound centre on Dartmoor (a first for me to stay in one of these places, and goodness me what a crime against interior design it was...) I have broken away to pursue my many leads here in Exmoor.
You can read about my attempts to invent an Exmoor National Dress here.

Dodging showers on the greenway
photo: Tim Olden

What Will The Harvest Be? - The Walk

Thanks to everyone who came along on the walk on Saturday, Karen & I really enjoyed it!
Special thanks to Len, Janice, Gordon & Louise for opening up the world of Newham
allotments for us, and to the Friends of Abbey Gardens for the food in the evening.

For those there (& those who missed it!) you might like to see my pictures on Flickr

Somewhere Seeds

I've been enjoying myself preparing packets of seeds to give away on the What Will The Harvest Be Walk we're planning for Saturday. I must say I'm quite pleased with the packets, as Karen says 'it all comes back to printmaking skills' in the end. The idea is to link the seeds to both the site/person who collected them and eventually to an on-line database of plants in the Harvest Garden. We're interested to see if we can link the real garden to an on-line audience and personalise the plants and gardeners at the same time.

See the What Will The Harvest Be Blog for where these first seeds were collected from.

Walk with us ... this weekend

This Saturday July 12th you can walk & talk with us about our new project WHAT WILL THE HARVEST BE? We will be leading a walk from Abbey Gardens around some of Newham’s other green spaces:

3.00 pm Abbey Gardens (Bakers Row)
3.15 pm West Ham Park
4.15 pm St Mary’s Allotments
5.00 pm The Greenway
5.30 pm West Ham Allotments
6.00 pm Abbey Gardens - Picnic

Come & join us for the walk to hear more about our proposed projects for Abbey Gardens and meet some Newham residents with green fingers. Following the walk there will be an informal gathering for a picnic with the Friends of Abbey Gardens, which you are also very welcome to join. Feel free to bring along some food (especially home-grown!) Elderflower drinks will be available made with the flowers I gathered on the site.

To book a place on the walk please email us.

Click here for more information on the project.

Abbey Gardens is located at the end of Bakers Row, Stratford, East London E15 3NF

The Haverhill audience - 99% Tudors?

Tudor Screening

We had a great turn out from Kentwell last week, for our special screening of Living with the Tudors, so much so that the 'regular' audience members are virtually invisible! The manager of the cinema was very excited to see a mid week queue of Tudors stretching out down the block.

It felt great to finally show the film to a big group of participants from the re-creation, and a really interesting Q&A followed the screening. Questions touched on what our expectations had been, why we didn't show more 'non-gentry' characters and how we ultimately felt about the bad feeling the filming caused with some participants at the time.

Karen and I were too nervous to sit through the actual showing and went for the obligatory Somewhere regional curry. Fortunately we returned to the sound of much applause for the film as the credits rolled and there seemed to be a general good vibe to the evening. Of course some might argue that it's impossible to expect that everyone involved in making a film might like it - but of course it doesn't stop you hoping that this might be the case. I think the poor distribution manager from Soda pictures had certainly had enough of hearing about the Tudors by the time we let him back out of the car in Hackney.