meet the young filmmakers who ruled 2016
Get to know the best of the new cinematic wave sweeping through London.
Susu Laroche, 28. Fiercely dreamlike and a total visionary, British filmmaker Susu Laroche puts the human form at the centre of her cinematic imagery. Her contemporary yet classic vision questions the here and now, with subtle energy.
What inspired you to use film as your medium of expression?
I've always been obsessed with film. It was a natural progression from working with photography.
What are your favourite subjects?
Action, tragedy, evil.
Your preferred type of film medium?
16mm and 35mm.
Would you call yourself a romantic? A feminist?
Maybe not a romantic, but a feminist yes. Prejudice and sexism are deeply embedded in our society, it's endless. Humanity thinks it's hot shit but we're just another species in the animal kingdom.
Is there a message behind your work… What is it?
Never too much. Excess and energy as affirmation of life-force. Everything all at once.
Jenkin van Zyl, 23. Jenkin questions everything with integrity, living everyday as if he were in one of his own wild installations. He's always fully made up and dressed up, it's impossible to ignore his presence. Thankfully his film work compliments his statement making existence.
Why is film such an integral part of your work with installation?
Installation comes directly out of the process of filming. The installations I make use locations as though they were a videogame map to be cruised for treasure. Filming is a process of mudlarking; salvaging prompts mythologisation later, like an avatar in a game searching the outer limits of their world.
Has social media had an impact on your work?
Not really. I feel as though inevitably the internet -- and by extension the way exhibitions are shared online -- frames work more in terms of its success as a .jpeg rather than in motion or detail. It's difficult to not engage with that.
What is the story you want your work to relay?
My last film installation, Escape From Fort Bravo, started with furtive filming at the remains of spaghetti western film studios in the Spanish Tabernas desert. The studios are guarded by retired stunt men. So us homos were trespassing on their range; a week spent covered in sand, wearing only latex jock straps and burnt T-shirts running away from angry guard dogs and the ghosts of Clint Eastwood and co.
What are you future plans?
I'm currently working on a film about Voraphilia and learning how to contour.
Sam Stringer, 25. Sam's work peels back obvious surface narratives to reveal the sinister, sometimes comical and always fascinating subtexts that lurk beneath.
What are your loves, the things that inspire you?
British folklore, dead video formats, and Oliver Reed.
What is your background?
Painting. I love the texture you can achieve with paint. Texture has become an integral part of my films.
What are you working on at the moment?
My current aim is to find funding for my current project, an exploration of the femme fatale.
How would you describe your work?
I like to tell the stories about the freak next door. The majority of my work is shot with a pistol grip and has voyeuristic tendencies, like home movies. I like peeling away the dirty undercarriage of our generally clean and sterile society.
What kind of platform do you see you film work being shown?
Online, posing as a relic of the past. I like posting my videos on messages boards and watching anonymous people react and question their legitimacy.
Harriet Scott, 22. Confrontation is key in Harriet Scott's lively cinematic vision. Using film and animation to make the viewer to question stereotypical female roles.
How did you arrive at that idea of using animation in your work?
I have always been a keen drawer, enjoying the freedom of the hand and imagination with no limitations, which is also how I also see film -- a blank canvas for your own creation. I illustrate, but also include my illustrative work in film to generate other dimensions and aid the narrative of the film.
How do you see your work progressing?
I am currently working more towards photography and print work, although still working with film in the background. Mainly my aim now is to collaborate on various projects that excite me, whether that's film, performance, zines… to delve into more unknown territory.
What message do you want your films to convey?
Hopefully they excite and stimulate the viewer from the boredom of tradition, reflect the confusion of their construction, celebrate the performance of life, and attempt to balance the pessimistic with the positive.
What does collaboration mean to you?
It's incredibly important. For awhile I was stubborn and believed that it would compromise my ideas and creations, but now I find it stimulating and inspiring.
Alexandros Pissourios, 34. There's an ethereal element to Alexandros' filmic meanderings and musing; engrossing detail emerges within the landscape of his vision.
What kind of subjects appeal to you?
Instead of subjects, I think I'm more drawn to scenes with traces of poetry. A subject is always an excuse to talk about something else…
What fascinates you?
The urge to find an image, and if the image is beautiful and perverse then my day is complete!
How long have you been making films for?
I've been making videos since I was a child, around 12. I remember documenting my family life; birthdays and events, cleaning the house, my room. The first video I showed in an exhibition was put together with those videos.
Your films with performance artist A Man to Pet have become quite legendary, what is it that interests you about this collaboration?
I was always interested in creating a pocket of absurdity in my work and this collaboration affords me this luxury. When I get to work with A Man to Pet, we explore what we think is funny. It's our own Hollywood made out of nothing. I'm sure it comes across as nonsensical.
What do you have planned for 2017?
I'm working closely with Alasdair McLellan on some of his projects as a video editor. I'm learning to see new things through his work and it's a fantastic education to be honest! But beyond collaborations and commercial work, I am planning on making time in 2017 to develop my own curiosities. I've been shooting a lot of material over the years that just lives on my hard drives. I'd love to make an installation out of it. But I'm still not certain on the exact format it will take.
Sharna Osborne, 32. Sharna is a hero in our filmmaking landscape. Spontaneous and fun, she has a knack and an eye for capturing detail with an unselfconscious style.
What's your background?
I studied Fine Art in New Zealand then moved to London in 2010.
Your work covers a lot of areas, from reportage to your more personal work. What is your favourite way to work?
The projects are only fun if I'm excited about what I am communicating and if I'm communicating something I'm usually learning and challenging myself; that's the best feeling.
What are your plans or projects for the future?
I can't be too specific but I have been working with loads of my favourite people.
What advice would you give to an aspiring filmmaker?
Don't worry about 'film making', just capture moving images you love with whatever tools feel right and develop that for as long as you can.
Robert Fox, 23. Uncompromising and often iconic, Robert Fox's arresting visual statements reveal heightened, surreal detail.
How did you get into making films? What are your earliest memories?
I came to film as a way of distributing a message. I would write prose and need it to be disseminated in the most effective way. I required something as in-your-face as possible.
Do you have a fundamental style to your vision?
The style of my films is supportive of the message, but it's also a language in its own right. It's fluid.
Are you surprised by the reaction your work gets?
Do we ever consider the source of our lemons when making lemonade?
What are your aims?
To be head of creative direction at Emirates airlines
How would you describe your work?
A thought provoking public service with a pinch of salt and a pristine finish.
How do your films reflect society?
Like the mirror I look in every morning... a cold shiny surface with a deeply distorted sense of self gazing back at me.
Text Princess Julia