Interview: 85A for Cargo, Camera...ACTION!
How did 85A come to be involved in this project?
Glasgow Film approached us to be part of their bid for Festival 2014. After the brilliant 2012 Glasgow Film Festival event that 85A organised at the Glue Factory – which featured over ten site specific micro-cinemas showcasing the work of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer – it was a great chance to contribute to the brief that aimed to transform underused locations along the Clyde promenade into film screening spaces…an opportunity not to be missed. 85A have got a bit of history with building cinemas in unexpected sites. Our very first project was the screening of Stellan Rye's Der Student Von Prag with a live, musical re-scoring, in a disused ice cream van garage in Partick. We went on take over The Old Hairdressers, well before it re-opened as a functioning bar, for our submarine spectacular, The Orzel Film Performance. We had audiences of fifty packed inside an elaborate cardboard set of a Second World War Polish sub, all the while watching this 1958 masterpiece as a live crew of musicians and folly artists created the soundscape.
Participating artists have been asked to look through a cinematic lens at the city’s history of shipbuilding and shipping, and at the history of sport throughout the city. How did you approach this?
The main challenge of this project was to conceive an outdoor cinema event on a day where it wouldn't be dark until 10pm. As such, we didn't want to keep the audience in a tent or sit in front of a big LED screen. Glasgow Film had secured the amazing Clyde amphitheatre location for the event and we wanted to create a buzzing, celebratory atmosphere along the busy promenade. The solution was to turn the brief on its head and look at cinematography through a performative lens, and create a show about a madcap film shoot, enabling us to look under the skin of cinema and the shipping history without using a screen. With the Clyde as a backdrop, the cargo ship was an obvious choice for the set as it created a natural link from the city's history to many classic sea themed movies.
At nightfall, our ship will become a spectacular cinema space with a two-hour screening programme. Between 10pm–12am, we will be complementing the commissioned artists' films (By Chris Leslie and Torsten Lauschmann) with some amazing documentaries from the Clyde's shipbuilding heydays – featuring equal measures of brilliant footage of human endeavour and mighty industry. We'll also be showing early work by New Orleans filmmaking collective Court 13 (makers of Beasts of the Southern Wild) who worked with the remains of Hurricane Katrina as a set, and destitute communities as actors – it's great stuff.
How do you recommend audiences prepare for the performances?
Even though this will be the height of the summer, this is an outdoor event in Glasgow, so we're preparing for a 'rain or shine' show, and audiences should do the same. To make the most of this sea voyage as well, outfits in tones of blue/green/grey/black/white are highly recommended. However, once the filming starts, anything can happen – so all our extras should be ready for their action packed 15 minutes of fame!
Tickets for Cargo Camera...ACTION! are free and go on sale on Thursday 26 June. Keep checking glasgowfilm.org for details.