In four locations, we have been working with community groups to explore the relationship between the people of that place and the peak that overlooks it. Out of this work we are writing four songs, one for each place.
The songs will be sung by choirs made up of the local community, at several stages on a journey from the centre of the town to the top of the peak. We want to turn these journeys, and these songs, into short films.
It’s part adventure film, part music video. We don’t think there’s anything else quite like it. We’re eager to hear from film-makers who are as excited by the project as we are.
The project has been commissioned by Beaford, Eden Project North, Lancaster Arts and Shoreditch Town Hall, and is produced by ARC Stockton.
We anticipate a relatively small crew, with highly portable equipment. While we do not imagine it is necessary for the whole crew to accompany us on the whole journey, there will be some unavoidable rough and steep terrain on most if not all journeys. A recce day before each shoot will identify locations for filming to take place.
The journeys are currently scheduled to take place as follows:
1 March – Devon (destination tbc)
8 March – Stockton to Roseberry Topping
15 March – Morecambe to Clougha Pike
4 April – London (destination tbc)
We anticipate the films being approximately 5-8 minutes in length. They should all be complete by the end of April, after which they will be published online and exhibited in theatres and galleries alongside the tour of our theatre piece on the same themes.
We would like to receive proposals from film-makers or teams who would like to take on all four films, and also from teams who identify one with which they have a particular connection. Please tell us about the approach you would take to filming, including an outline of crew and equipment. Stylistic references, including but not limited to your own work, would be particularly welcome. We are happy to receive proposals in any format. Written proposals should be no more than three A4 pages and filmed proposals no more than five minutes.
We have a budget of £6500, in total, across all four projects. This includes the filming days indicated above, a recce or planning day in advance of each (we’d only expect the director/project lead at this, not necessarily the whole crew), and editing. It should also cover all expenses any equipment hire. Please send us a breakdown of how you would apportion this budget.
Send proposals by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 14th January. We will aim to shortlist and be in touch with all candidates within a week. Shortlisted candidates may be invited to an informal interview, which is likely to take place via skype or similar.
If you have any questions or require any further information, please get in touch at the same address.
UPDATE - FAQS
We've had an overwhelming volume of interest in this project, so I'm updating this post with some of the questions we've been asked most often.
Could you tell me a bit more about the structure of the films/songs?
Each of the four will have a slightly different structure, but let’s start with what they have in common. In each case the song will be about the relationship between the town/city and its peak, and will be sung by a choir from that place. It’ll be sung by them on a journey from the town/city to the peak. The film will be of that journey.
We expect footage will be taken at various stages of the journey - we don’t expect the film crew to lug equipment the whole way along with us – the journeys will be at least ten miles. On recce days we can determine the best locations for filming, and locate these as close as possible to roads. The obvious exception here is on the final uphill stretch, where we do need you to accompany us. Lightweight equipment will be an advantage!
In at least one case the main journey may be made by a smaller group, with the choir only singing at the beginning and end of the journey. In at least one case the choir may be runners rather than walkers. Still, in all cases, the choir singing the song will be the soundtrack to the film – hence the reference to music video in the initial callout.
It is likely that the structure of the journey and the song will themselves dictate to a large extent the structure of the film. We want you to be responsive to these, but we don’t want you to be shy of making strong suggestions – the fact that the songs are themselves works-in-progress gives you a clear opportunity to contribute to this as a full collaborator.
The most important thing, though, for you to get across to us at this stage, is a sense of your instincts in relation to your stylistic approach to the material.
Can you share the songs with me?
We’re still in the process of writing the songs, with the communities involved. So we’ve nothing to share yet. But to give you some idea, there’s documentation of some of our previous projects on this page here – of the projects covered on that page, musically we expect to be in the world of Wonderstruck and We’re Here.
What is the budget expected to cover?
Basically it should cover all aspects of your work on the project. Fees for you and any collaborators you bring on board. Any equipment hire necessary. Travel and accommodation. You are not expected to cover any of the costs involved in creating the project in the first place – getting the community from A to B is not your responsibility; you just have to film them doing it.
We’re aware that the budget is not massive. We’re not expecting helicopter shots.
Will all the sound be recorded live?
We hope to be able to record the choir in rehearsal too, in order to have some backup sound. We have a couple of options in mind for how best to ensure tempo and pitching are matched. We'll welcome your suggestions on this. Boff’s also pretty good at this stuff and can if necessary lead on recording the rehearsal. He'll also want to have some input to the final sound mix. We do, though, need you to capture sound live and will be very open to your suggestions about the best approach to getting good quality sound - without denying that the wild card of nature is in play.
Is the schedule set for the filming days?
Not yet, but here's a very rough outline. We expect to gather singers for a final rehearsal fairly early in the morning – around 9am. The journey will begin around 10am. We expect it to take several hours. Sunset, though, will be a hard deadline. In March it’ll start getting dusky around 5pm.
Is there a bad weather plan?
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
Is there room for spoken text in the form of interviews with choir members and/or creative team?
This wasn’t part of the initial idea, but we’re definitely open to it.
Is the idea for the films to be more “documentary” or more “artistic”?
First off, I’m not totally sure I accept the distinction. But the impulse behind the various people asking this question seems to be about content as much as tone – are we looking to explain the story behind the whole journey, or do we want the songs and journeys to stand alone? We’re totally open on this. But even if it’s the latter, it could potentially be done very lightly, with a bit of opening on-screen text, leaving the rest of the material to speak for itself.
Are drone shots a must?
No. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’d be great. But other approaches are possible.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will