In which we spend some time with dear friends in Southampton, drink tea, play music, and picnic on the green.
An account of the first leg of my 2016 Adventure through the UK and to Canada with my mother.
In this entry, we fly to London via Singapore and meet with some extended relatives, who take us on an outing to Cambridge!
In a crumbling church on the main tourist drag of Vilnius, Lithuania, a deaf man lives alone, battling with time in his efforts to keep the building standing long enough to uncover the story of it’s life, and the story of his family.
Working Title: Vytautas
Directed by: Mahalah Ebony O’Malley
Type: Short Documentary / Installation
From the Director:
7 months ago I went to Lithuania for 2 weeks alone to chase some family history close to my heart, continue my attempts to a very challenging language and make some sort of documentary from whatever I discovered or was inspired by on the trip. I never expected the story I found though and have been so indescribably moved by it, that it has driven me to make this my passion project.
I came across an architecturally striking seventeenth century church run by a kind hearted deaf ex-army general who has silently spent the last decade odd of his solitary life fixing up this building single handedly. What at first appears to be a gloomy, low ceiling church, sectioned off from the public actually houses a centuries old neglected theatre upstairs that Vytautas has been trying to restore with no funding or assistance of any sort. Beneath the building in tunnels he has excavated himself, lie two dozen skeletons, four of whom are members of Vytautas’ own family, murdered during the Soviet occupation. Vytautas sleeps in a cot under the stairs surrounded by books and his research on the church and it’s war torn history. By day he makes candles and runs the small side wing of the church which is the only portion that remains open to the public, and in his own time he fixes this building, memorising every brick, clambering over every inch on his handmade ladders and peeling back paint to reveal colourful artworks in the theatre ceiling.
I spent three days with this man. Communicating was at once complex and primal. Our knowledge of one another’s written language was limited so much was occasional emotive sounds, expression and gestures.
This past month, I have met with an editor by the name of Emily McAllan, who now feels more like my partner on this project. Aside from producing a short “festival cut” of the documentary, we are now in development on what will be more of an installation experience to help an audience grasp the layers of this story in a more intimate way through projections, spaces, objects and bone conducted sound that even those who are hearing impaired can experience. It is my hope that we can put the audience in my shoes exploring this overwhelming space and this man’s story.
– Mahalah Ebony O’Malley
Type: Short Film
Client: Headspace, in partnership with MRC
Screening: 6 pm, Wednesday March 4, 2015, Mercury Cinema, 13 Morphett St, Adelaide SA
Tickets: Through FringeTIX, www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix
All tickets $15.00
TREv members $10.00
Companion Card holders FREE
More about the making of this film at http://www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/headspace-noarlunga/news-and-events/inside-your-headspace-a-film-project
Title: Á hvaða tungumáli dreymir þig? (What language do you dream in?)
Type: Experimental/Performative Documentary
Running Time: 21 mins 31 seconds
Screened at: The Weight of Mountains Film Festival Skagastrond, 2014, The Weight of Mountains Film Festival Sauðárkrókur, 2014, The Weight of Mountains Film Festival Reykjavik, 2014
Synopsis: Emily, a young Australian filmmaker travels to remote northern Iceland to experience the visceral purity of a harsh winter. Her hunt for a reconnection with nature and her own childhood identity leads her to candid discussions with other filmmakers, local residents and at least one soothsayer. Told through the filmmaker’s eyes, this film explores the concept of humanity’s relationship to place and landscape.
From the filmmaker: “I spent three months in a small fishing town on the north coast of Iceland, during their Winter, 2013-2014. This project was part of a filmmaking residency called The Weight Of Mountains, hosted by Nes Artists Residency, Skagastrond. There were 9 other filmmakers taking part and each of us produced a short film on the theme of “the relationship between landscape and humanity.” The finished piece is part documentary, part dreamscape. It is a record of my time in this magical place, and the inner landscapes I traversed while being buffeted by the Icelandic winter. My heartfelt thanks to all who donated to my crowd-funding campaign, and to Carclew Youth Arts for their generous support. Without you I couldn’t have made this journey at all.”
“[The film] expresses the reality of everyday life among the wonders of the awe-inducing Icelandic environment, which is beautifully described as a life where you dream more than you sleep.” – Ben Smick, Reykjavik Grapevine.
Okay, so this is quite late, but I really wanted to share the story of the strangest birthday I’ve ever had. A heartfelt thankyou to everyone who gave of their time to make my 25th special. You are wonderful.
One of the most important lessons I have learned in Iceland. Thanks to everyone who helped teach me that. Also a huge thankyou to everyone who watched this series and supported me. Love to you all.
I apologize for the emotional weight of this one, I promise the last Film Letter will be a little gentler on the feelings! I just have to be honest about how things are.
Music: You are a memory, by Message To Bears – used with kind permission of the artist.
“Hjatru” – Superstitions. I muse on the strange and dreamlike nature of my time here.
I am here to tell you about the importance…of Things.
“Vetrarvöld” – the power of winter.
Music by Chris Zabriskie, CC www.chriszabriskie.com
Last week I went to Reykjavik to see it in the daylight for the first time!
Music: “Prelude 8” and “Prelude 9” by Chris Zabriskie (CC)