2 weeks ago Cherry Kino ran a project with 20 students of the Leeds College of Art where we shot 8 black and white Super 8 films and hand-processed them all in coffee! Here was the original brief I sent them (a little hard-line in some areas, but i do love to keep experimenting with different ways of doing workshops!):
The intention of the course is that the students produce one combined collective finished piece by the end of Day 3, fully edited, that they are ready to present as a collective effort. The course will result in one final piece of film, rather than separate ones. This will be attained by students shooting in groups and sharing camera time. The final piece, after collective editing using an experimental impulse/intuitive approach, will be transferred to DVD in-house at the Cherry Kino Lab at the end of Day 3, simultaneously teaching the students DIY telecine methods.
As the Light Night theme is ‘The Dead of Night’, students will work with the black and white film stock thinking about symbolic and physical gesture with relation to obscurity, shadows, and the contrasts between black and white as well as the different effect that developing with Coffee-based developer has on the image (this simultaneously teaches the students how to use regular developer as well as home-made ‘eco-friendly’ developer that works extremely well). We will make full use of a totally blacked out room with short bursts of light, as well as strong lighting, props of the students’ choice, and physical gesture. Participants will be encouraged to take part in experimental shadow play so shadow silhouettes can be filmed.
Expectations of Students
The workshop will have a strong emphasis on physicality – not only of the film material but also of the students’ bodies – and all students will be expected to fully engage in this. This doesn’t mean that I expect everyone to be totally uninhibited, but I do expect them to be willing to overcome some inhibitions. I will insist that every student attends every single session, arrives on time, and becomes fully immersed in the workshop, as it will be necessary if we are to be successful in our endeavour to create something collectively. I am quite strict about this!
The workshop was brilliant fun! It ran for 3 days, and all the participants were really engaged, very immersed in what they were doing, I was impressed. As a result, the students created a really fantastic piece of work that was screened at the Leeds College of Art on Light Night (5th October). In terms of what was filmed, there was a huge range of things - from marbles, to body parts, to spinning spirals filmed as shadows cast by overhead projectors, black glistening glitter on arms, dice held between teeth, ghoulish figures by gothic churches, the hair of two girls braided together so they were tied to each other, walking through leaves and forests, slow motion waterfalls, and so so much! The filming was carried out with full knowledge that the final result to be projected would be shown as a negative, not a positive, so the students had to work doubly hard to think of which images would be most dynamic as negatives, while shooting.
When it came to processing the films, we did so in coffee! (recipe found on the ck blog post 'processing tri-x film in coffee!' from November 2011).
The challenge of editing the films together to make a collective film was tricky but we eventually found a way to do it and everyone was happy with it. I guess for future projects it would be good to have a whole extra day for the editing session alone, since it is possible to spend a great deal of time on that side of things.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, and loved meeting and spending time with such a great bunch of people! Thanks so much to Paula who sent me these ace photos of the workshop!
And at the bottom of this post you'll find another collage of photos by Stephan - thanks to you both!