Moving forward with the Russian Theatre Film series. Researching and writing and setting up related sites which will contain information about the progress of the films individually and the series as a whole. Two more web sites are now in preparation and will be the main focus for organising and distributing information about the whole project. There will be one site which will focus on the series as a whole and connect to the other pages and sites. To see it click here.
Some videos of the latest process and progress of the series can be found as clips and related information which is built around “Chekhov Country” This is a small on-line project which will loosely chronicle the series “Russian Theatre of the Early 20th Century” in documentary form with videos clips from some of my travels in and around places in Russia connected with the films and series, behind the scenes footage and generally related material. The first few are about last summer where I wrote most of the first draft material for the scripts. More to come soon.
Now the holiday is officially over here in Russia its time to take stock and make a few announcements. The long holiday – Christmas and New Year in Russia extends until 14th January ending officially with “old” New Years Day – gave me plenty of time to consolidate my thoughts about future projects and work. Continue reading →
This exhibition examines Russian avant-garde architecture made during a brief but intense period of design and construction that took place from c.1922 to 1935. Fired by the Constructivist art that emerged in Russia from c.1915, architects transformed this radical artistic language into three dimensions, creating structures whose innovative style embodied the energy and optimism of the new Soviet Socialist state.
The drive to forge a new Socialist society in Russia encouraged synthesis between radical art and architecture. This creative reciprocity was reflected in the engagement with architectural ideas and projects of such artists as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Liubov Popova, El Lizzitsky, Ivan Kluin and Gustav Klucis, and in designs by such architects as Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginsburg, Ilia Golosov and the Vesnin brothers, as well as Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, European architects who were draughted in to help shape the new utopia.
The exhibition juxtaposes large-scale photographs of extant buildings with relevant Constructivist drawings and paintings, vintage photographs and periodicals. Many of the works have never been shown in the UK before.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International, known as ‘Tatlin’s Tower’, specially commissioned from Jeremy Dixon of Dixon Jones Architects has been installed in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.
A supporting exhibitionin the Architecture Space (23 September – 29 January 2012) explores the conception, vision and symbolism of Tatlin’s Tower and uncovers the intriguing process undertaken for its special recreation at the Royal Academy.
Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with the SMCA-Costakis Collection, Thessaloniki, and with the participation of the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, and Richard Pare.
The last few days have been a process of clearing away old obstacles and barriers in order to proceed with a several new projects. A few years ago we spent a fair amount of time in Japan shooting material for a couple of films which I have been working on and editing. The work on this project was interrupted by the Stanislavsky film “Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre” which is now complete. After revisiting the Japanese project it is re-emerging as web documentary called “Japan – Philosophical Landscapes”. More information about it can be found here. Also the first part has been uploaded to the internet (see below).
At the same time a new site is being constructed to accommodate the Fairground Booth Project and discussions are taking place as to how best proceed in organising the logistics of the film and its corresponding documentary projects “Carnival and the Russian Theatre” and “Vahktangov and the Russian Theatre”. Once the site is up and running details will be released.
Have been updating the web site to include a store front which specifically gives the opportunity for those in the UK who are interested in buying Copernicus Films DVDs the opportunity to do so. Previously it was necessary to buy the disc on Amazon.com in the USA and pay for shipping to the UK. People have been approaching me on social websites and by e-mail wanting to purchase the discs in the UK. Now there is a facility to purchase disc in the UK with free shipping. Check here for more information. Alternatively click on the tab above PURCHASE DVDs ON LINE and in the sub menu click “Purchase DVDs in the UK”
Making my way around Moscow to meetings and checking out various possibilities, cameras etc, for the films. The last few days have been a question of working out a tone and style for the film adaptation of The Fairground Booth. The accompanying documentaries in the project “Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre” and “Carnival in Russian Theatre” are relatively straight forward with the stress on relatively. However a film adaptation of Blok’s play is distinctly problematic. Firstly, there are many stereotypical takes on the main characters -Pierrot, Columbine and Harlequin which I want to avoid. I aim to find a particular tone and style for the production and this will effect the overall design for the play, costumes set and general look. This will take time so the best thing is to continue with the shooting script and background research to all the three films. This will provide the necessary depth once some of the other questions begin to get solved. Its a similar situation I faced in the film “Alexander Rodchenko and the Russian Avant-garde”. It was the first film I made in Moscow and required scenes showing Rodchenko at work at his desk and other scenes of Rodchenko. For an extended account about the making of this film click here.
In this film I needed to solve two basic problems. The style in which I would shoot and casting the role of Rodchenko. It took a long time and followed a specific process of finding the right person for the role. A similar process is emerging once again whereby there are a lot of questions and and you have to wait for some of the answers.
Despite a bout of Moscow flu work continues on the three film project about Russian theatre – a film about Vahktangov, a film about Carnival and Russian theatre and a film adaptation of Blok’s “Fairground Booth” a play he wrote and was presented in Moscow in 1907 with Meyerhold as director. The three films will make up a series with the two films already completed – “Meyerhold Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde” and “Stanislavsky and Russian Theatre”. This weekend has seen progress on all three of the new films in terms of research and background material and a start on the shooting script for “The Fairground Booth”. Enormous amount of questions to solve on all fronts but the only way is to work through them step by step. Much of the work this weekend was on deepening the understanding connections between the three films and exploring new thematic possibilities and lines of development.
Up to now a way of approaching the shooting script seemed illusive, mainly because it is a theatrical play and needs adapting to a film. However this process is gradually becoming clearer and a way forward seems open to resolve the questions posed by this process.
Another couple of days of writing and preparing the projects of Vahktangov and Carnival in Russian Theatre. Last night had a meeting in the centre of Moscow about the main location for filming but as yet there is nothing concrete decided. Firmly back into the Moscow rhythm after a few weeks in the Russian countryside. Slowly evaluating this period – a productive time of writing and reflection(and chopping firewood). Starting to flesh out a shooting script for “The Fairground Booth” using the Celtx screen writing programme. I am not sure how this will work as the screenplay is an adaptation of a theatrical play but will persevere. Today dosing myself up with lemon tea to try and ward off the Moscow flu. Autumn weather taking a hold a cold wind whipping around the side streets of Moscow a sure sign that winter is not far away. Awaiting the possibility of Babi Leta (Indian Summer) which often starts around this time but as yet no evidence that it is on its way.
A long time has passed, or so it seems, since completeing the film "Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre" and a process of reflection has replaced the frenetic rush to finish the film in time for the premiere and get it released at roughly the same time. The […]
After a decade working in the film industry in the UK, mostly on the packaging of feature films for international prodcution companies and later in the financial and production aspects of feature films, he travelled to Moscow in 1995 to make films and write where he has lived and worked ever since. He started making his first documentary film about Alexander Rodchenko in 1998 and from this experience embarked on series of films about the Russian Avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. Three more films in the series followed:"Architecture and the Russian Avant-garde and , "Meyerhold, Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde" and "Mayakovsky" . Two further films have now been completed "David Burliuk and the Japanese Avant-garde, with locations in Moscow Tokyo and Kyoto and a 6th film "Kandinsky and the Russian House" shot in Germany and Russia. Michael Craig returned to Japan for two 3 month periods to shoot a film about Japanese culture and art. The project is called Japan Philosophical Landscapes and is being released in short episodes on the internet-Click Here to Watch for Free.In 2011 a documentary about the Russian theatre director and founder of MXAT (The Moscow Art Theatre)