“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”
sometime attrributed to Dr. Seuss, and sometimes to Gabriel García Márquez in Spanish:
"No llores porque ya se terminó... sonríe, porque sucedió."
I received an email last month from Ardent Hare saying that they were closing. You can read the original release here.
So Ardent Hare, or DADA-South as they were known, is no more. When I linked to the newsletter on my Facebook page, I said 'sad-face' because I was genuinely sad about it. Then I thought, I must mention the Upstream Festival in Brighton, because that was one of the best times I've ever had.
But then I thought back, so let me take you back... to 2003.
I received a phone call from Surrey Arts. They told me about the Go Make Bursary, which I’d not heard about before, and said they needed more applications.
Only a year before I had been hugely inspired by Finnish Artist Eija Lissa Ahtila exhibition at Tate Modern, and I was thinking of exploring those ideas and formats in my own work.
I already had a finished script, 'Coming Out', written in three columns, which was my way of exploring similar formats in artist film.
I immediately saw the Go Make bursary was a way of getting it funded.
I filled in the application form, and few weeks later was surprised to find that it had been accepted.
The film was made with a small crew, and with actors who I'd never met before, and was a great experience, as was having it shown at the launch in Brighton, which was my first gallery showing of one of my films.
I remember that time fondly, as it was my first proper commission, but mostly I realise how far I've come since then.
Around 2007 I was accepted on to their mentoring programme and was mentored by Sarah Scott. This was such a great place to be in as I got to talk about my ideas and share ways of working. The main thing that I still remember from that time is Sarah's advice that the days where I don't do anything, or am unable to function, can be just as creative as the days where I do stuff. They can be creative thinking time, or rest time, and I now have a different way of seeing those days.
In 2008 I received a bursary to attend DADAFest in Liverpool. This was the first time that I was able to go on a trip where travel & accommodation was paid for, and it was great to see DADAFest for the fist time too, and again, met a number of new people.
In late 2010 I found out that I had been selected for Upstream, a major festival which would run alongside The Brighton Festival 2011. This was one of the best times I've ever had, meeting new people, staying in Brighton, and seeing the festival up close for the first time. A couple of friends were also selected, along with a few new people I hadn’t met before, and still keep in touch with.
The strength of any organisation belongs with the people involved, whomever they are and however they operate. And its these people that will take those skills and the organisation to where ever they want to go.
I'd personally like to thank everyone at Ardent Hare for their support, encouragement and commitment to the arts in general, as well as to me and my work.
Its their dedication and commitment to the organisation that have got it known World Wide, and, whilst it is a shame it no longer exists, without it being there in the first place, myself and so many others would not have had the opportunities to make or present their work.
Happy New Year!
I thought I’d start this year by recapping last year. Why do I think last year was so good when I had a family bereavement in January & I was assaulted by 2 'youths' in August? I think, at least for the past year, I've been feeling pretty well, and simply didn't want to let things get in the way of what I was doing - possibly because I had such a terrible 2010. The other reasons are work & funding.
I've done more this year than I ever have, starting with The Freewheelers Theatre Company, who I've been working with since 2007. One of the things I've enjoyed with them this year is that my writing / story telling skills have been used with the Uscreen project. Working with ten students we came up with a zombie story that was fun to plan and make, with some of the Freewheelers being mentors.
Perhaps the best validation of my work came from being selected for Upstream, which was held as part of the Brighton Festival. This was an amazing experience and I met a couple of people who I would love to collaborate with in the future.
I was also involved in Driving Inspiration, a huge project which saw me teaching in schools across the south east.
I met lots of inspiring people and taught 42 young people about filmmaking, making 12 films along the way.
Sync South East came to an end with the Pitch! event. I got to show rushes of my new film The Dog & The Palace, and made some good contacts.
In August I visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This was my 1st time at the Fringe & I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was also great to see the shows, both stand up & theatre.
I was selected for The New Voices Programme in August too, which was all about writing, and with that in September I attended Decibel in Manchester for the 1st time.
This was another great experience & along with writing reviews of shows, I suddenly felt as though I'd just discovered a new art form called 'Theatre'.
As I'm no stranger to theatre (honest!) this was a bit of a surprise, but I think the shows I saw were so varied that it was a mini revelation to see what people could achieve through a diverse mix of art and storytelling.
September also had another highlight as I worked with Rachel Gadsden & Deaf Men Dancing for the first time, filming their workshops at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
My 'personal projects' this year also grew in strength. In April I received Arts Council funding to develop my installation ‘The Dog & The Palace’. I've blogged about this throughout the year.
And in November I received more funding from ACE to complete The installation. This will see me filming in somewhere that looks like a royal palace, and working directly with more people in the film industry this month & next.
I also did well in my writing, taking my wedding comedy feature script onto the next draft, which I now want to take to the next level.
I've also done well on two other scripts, an hour long spec TV script written with Mark Lever, and my 2nd feature screenplay.
So this week I need to hit the ground running, working with others & teaching. Oh, and attending the Paralympics closing ceremony. It'll be a fun year.
I've been thinking I need to do a new blog post for sometime now so here it is.
I've had a very busy time preparing and then 'doing' upstream, which was a major experience for me and one that I've been more than happy to be a part of. There was so much work I wanted to do in preparation for it that (along with everything else) for two or three weeks beforehand I felt like I didn't even have time to piss (I'm writing that cos I actually thought that a few times in the run up to it!)
So things were very hectic for me and rather exhausting as for one reason or another I didn't get much sleep that whole period which only adds to issues.
However, I knew what I wanted to show and what I needed to do to get it right, and what kind of impact I wanted to make, so along with doing all the PR stuff along side it, it had to be done.
A lot of this work I actually enjoyed, and it was great to be in the local paper as a result of being part of a major festival, and also to be there with everything sorted.
So during the week I was able to network with a few people I didn't know, and some more I haven't seen in a while, and also see some great work from others, which was one of the bonus' of being at the Brighton Festival.
There's so much going on in Brighton during the festival that I'd urge everyone to go, and being part of Upstream means that I now feel confident enough to submit a proposal to the main Brighton Festival for next year. Never done that before, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes. And, as a side note, The Brighton Festival in May 2012 will be the perfect showcase to premiere The Dog & The Palace, my new film.
All that preparation leads me nicely to the work I needed to do for my next event, Pitch! (great name huh?) which I've also been happy to be a part of. Pitch! is the final day of the 2 year Sync South East Development Programme, led by Jo Verrent, Sarah Pickthal, and Hannah Reynolds. The amount of work I've had to do for that, although I'm showing different things, seems far less because of the preparation already done for upstream, and I'm going to show two previews of works in progress, which I think best reflects my current working practice.
I'm looking forward to the day, networking with over 100 people, as well as seeing the 30 individual artists that have shared the development journey for the past two years. More on the impact of this in another blogpost, but the impact of both these programmes seems to be very high for me, both professionally and personally. And the effects of that is likely to continue well into the future.