Creative cauldron where music and film are combined
The team behind Bristol's Filmic 2013 promise a three-month mash-up of film, music, talks and special events, featuring iconic composer Philip Glass, Goldfrapp's Will Gregory, PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, and Jesus and Mary Chain's Douglas Hart, as well as Drokk, a collaborative project by Portishead's Geoff Barrow and BBC Life of... composer Ben Salisbury.
Filmic is described as "a unique collaboration between St George's Bristol, a Georgian church turned concert hall celebrated for the bell-like clarity of its acoustics, and the award-winning independent cinema Watershed. It is a different kind of film and music festival, dedicated to pursuing the notion of 'the filmic', whether connected to an actual film or in a musician's head."
So now you know.
Bristol's music has always had a distinctively cinematic feel – think Massive Attack and Portishead – and its worldwide success has helped to make Bristol a leading centre for cultural production and creativity. Filmic, which is the city's very own festival of film and music, explores and celebrates "the creative intersections of film and music through mixing the work of locally based artists with that of major international figures."
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The festival will open and close with a number of events that organisers say simply should not be missed.
On Saturday, March 9, Bristol-based John Parish, best known for his work with PJ Harvey but also an accomplished film composer, solo artist, and producer, will be in conversation about his upcoming Screenplay album, followed by the world premiere of the live performance of Screenplay on Thursday, March 14.
On Tuesday, May 14, Filmic will close with a double-bill featuring world-renowned composer Philip Glass, first in conversation with conductor Charles Hazlewood at 1pm at the Watershed and then in a solo piano performance at 7.30pm at St George's – including his celebrated Etudes. An evolving series begun in the mid-90s, the Etudes have, says Glass, a two-fold purpose: "First, to provide new music for my solo piano concerts. And second, for me to expand my piano technique with music that would enhance and challenge my playing. The result is a body of work that has a broad range of dynamic tempo and emotion."
In between, festival patrons are invited to immerse themselves in boutique live music performances and film screenings: every Sunday at Watershed throughout Filmic there will be curated film seasons including five films selected by Parish, featuring Klute and Once Upon a Time in the West in March, films which have influenced Goldfrapp's Will Gregory, including Battle of Algiers and French Connection 2 in April, and a season dedicated to films scored by Philip Glass in May.
Parish says: "Growing up, film soundtracks had provided some of my favourite pieces of music – Morricone, John Barry of course, but also Wim Mertens, early John Carpenter, Nino Rota and many others. I could tell that all these influences were buried in my own music, which I thought of as filmic long before I'd ever scored a movie.
"I love writing music as part of a visual collaboration, whether for film or stage, because you have the opportunity to use space and stretch time in ways that wouldn't necessarily work in a stand-alone piece of music."
Mark Cosgrove, Watershed's head of programme and Filmic co-curator, says: "Music and film were of course inextricably linked from the early days of cinema. What excites and surprises me about this creative relationship is how musicians are constantly influenced by film or have found scoring for film a source of inspiration for their own creativity. Filmic 2013 is not only a celebration of the rich relationship of film and music but also brings together an impressive range of respected musicians locally and internationally, who all in different ways hold film and cinema close to their own creative practice."
Phil Johnson, senior programme producer for St George's and Filmic's co-curator, says: "The influence of cinema is so all-consuming that music can appear 'filmic' whether an actual film is involved or not. We're trying to look beyond the usual film-scores and soundtracks-angle to present really interesting work from a variety of contexts. The range of music on offer – from Philip Glass to John Parish to Will Gregory and Drokk – is very rich and very different. That's the festival's strength."
FILMIC 2013 HIGHLIGHTS