Saturday 23rd June SLEEP FURIOUSLY: the Spaces and Sounds of British FOLK

10 Jun

16:45 pm
Saturday 23rd June 2012
AV Hill Theatre
UCL/Torrington Square
London WC1

Music, stuffed owls and sword-dancing? This PassengerFilms investigation of folk spaces is taking place by kind invitation from OpenCityDocs film festival. The film programme consists of the feature Sleep Furiously (Gideon Koppel, 2008) and the short film Rapper Dancers (Doc Rowe, 2003). To present and discuss these we are delighted to be presenting Koppel himself who will be dicsussing representations of music, dance, change and continuity together with Rob Young (author of Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music). This event will be taking place as part of Open City Docs festival 23 June / 16.45 /  UCL AV Hill Theatre (click here for a location map) and tickets  can be booked here. (£10 / Concessions £8)

With backgrounds in both artistic and commercial film-making, Gideon Koppel’s film Sleep Furiously (2008) turns back to his hometown Trefeurig, and the ways in which this Welsh farming community is extending and reinventing itself against the rhythms of nature and of the twenty-first century. A year’s passing allows us to meet town-criers, mobile librarians, school children, local committees and ever present animals, to the sound of original music by Aphex Twin. It has been described as ‘off-beat tender poetry’, and ‘possibly the most beautifully elemental documentary film to have emerged in Britain in over a decade.’

The short documentary film Rapper Dancers (2003) is one example of Doc Rowe’s legendary collection drawn from nearly half a century of recording the cultural traditions, vernacular arts, folklore song and dance of Britain and Ireland. The impromptu group of rapper dancers take on the challenge of sword-dancing in the confines of a modern pub, with breath-taking speed, without hitting either a drink or a drinker. It forms part of a recent BFI release- Here’s to the Health of the Barley Mow– that presents filmic documentation of British Folk Traditions, from children’s games in Blitz London to Cornish May Day rites.

These two films are framed by a discussion between the director Gideon Koppel, and Rob Young, editor at Wired magazine and author of Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music.

Rob Young is British music author, journalist. He is currenty editor-at-large of The Wire, a British-based experimental music magazine but has contributed to a variety of publications including The Guardian, Gramophone, Uncut and Frieze. His 2010 book Electric Eden surveys more than a century of music making in the British Isles, and investigates how the idea of folk has been handed down and transformed by successive generations- song collectors, composers, Marxist revivalists, folk-rockers, psychedelic voyagers, free festival-goers, experimental pop stars and electronic innovators, taking in Vaughan-Williams, Cecil Sharp and Kate Bush as well as many other less well-known figures. For more information see his blog ElectricEden.

We are delighted to have been invited to present this screening in the context of Open City Docs. This is a live festival devoted to exploring the world we live in through the vision of documentary film; presenting films about real life, about the experience of real people many of whose voices are not otherwise heard, we challenge, explore and expand ideas of what documentary can be and do. With music, debate, interaction, food the festival provides stimulation and enjoyment for everyone. Provoking debate and opening minds.

The festival has diverse programme of more than 100 films from around the world, innovative live events and filmmaker-led workshops will take place over four mid-summer days and nights in venues around central London and across University College London’s (UCL) WC1 campus. Search http://www.opencitydocsfest.com or download the festival schedule to find out what’s on offer making use of our handily organised festival strands  – including Science Frictions, Protest Works, Sound Waves, Still Lives, Artists’ Documentary, The Image of the Engineer, City Scope and World Visions, alongside a showcase of the winners of our nationwide online film-making competition, MyStreet, variousshorts programmes and a number of special events.

NB: For those interested in a double-dose- Koppel will also be participating in another OpenCity Docs event earlier that afternoon during which he will be joining Mike Grigsby, Peter Howell and Larry Sider in debating the use of techniques usually reserved for fiction features in documentary-film. For this and the rest of the OpenCity programme please see their website.

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