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Gillian Ayres abstract painter 1930-2018

The wonderful Gillian Ayres, abstract painter, died on 11th April 2018 at the age of 88.

We were lucky enough to have made a short film with her back in 1985, when she was living and working in a remote farmhouse on the Llŷn peninsula in north Wales. She was like a 'mother earth' figure, and insisted on putting up our crew of six overnight and feeding us a delicious dinner with lashings of wine and a hearty breakfast. This was part of 'Looking into Paintings', a Channel Four series made in collaboration with the Open University.


There is an excellent Guardian obituary of her here.

Patrick Reyntiens - Reyntiens Revels

When we launched An Empty Stage, our John Piper film profile, at the Goldmark Gallery, as luck would have it one of our audience was John Reyntiens, son of stained glass artist Patrick Reyntiens (and himself a noted stained glass maker). John said that he loved our Piper film and would we please make a film about his father Patrick, who had been an important collaborator with Piper. And so our next project was born.

In fact, we both already knew Patrick Reyntiens; Charles had met him through a mutual friend and Libby had interviewed him in 2007 for her film about Frank Brangwyn’s stained glass; he also appeared in our John Piper film. We actually began filming the Reyntiens film profile in November 2009 at Cochem in Germany and, as with the Piper film, Libby Horner maintained a blog throughout the vicissitudes of the filmmaking process which you can read here


John Piper - Piper Papers

We began working on An Empty Stage, our film profile of John Piper on 28 April 2008, and the film was finally launched on 27 September 2009. At every stage of work on the film, Libby wrote a blog entry detailing the ups and downs of the filmmaking process, a total of 67 entries. You can view the blog here


A Film-maker’s Odyssey

ADVENTURES IN FILM AND ANTHROPOLOGY

Filmmaker and Anthropologist Toni de Bromhead’s new book has just been published by Intervention Press. The book explores de Bromhead’s filmmaking over more than 30 years, from her super 8 work whilst studying at the National Film & Television School through 16mm film series for Channel 4 TV to digital video projects in Sicily today. The book includes a DVD with more than a dozen film clips and was edited, designed and authored by us at Malachite.

The book will have its official UK launch at the Royal Anthropological Institute on Monday 2nd February, introduced by Colin Young, former director of NFTS.

DVDs or Downloads?

Here at Malachite we are great enthusiasts of DVDs. increasingly however, the future is moving towards downloads, as has happened in the music business. Video editing and training guru Larry Jordan, based in Los Angeles, has recently posted an interesting article ‘Rethinking DVDs’ about all this which you can access here. Malachite’s Charles Mapleston has contributed a comment to his piece:

My background is making long-form documentaries, originally for the BBC and, back in the day, shot on 16mm film. In those days, making programmes for a fixed broadcast time slot, we often had to “murder our darlings” – favourite scenes which didn’t quite fit the narrative or which had to be excised for length ended up “on the cutting room floor”.

What I’ve always particularly loved about DVDs was that at last all those scenes on the cutting room floor could now be included as extras, deleted scenes, etc. And as much of my work is about music and arts, the DVDs could also contain slide shows, additional music tracks, PDF documents, even websites, all accessed from menu buttons. This was in the heyday of Apple’s DVD@ccess, still good on Macs, but this sadly no longer works on PCs after Windows XP.

What is particularly good about DVDs is that all this material is packaged together and is easily accessed and can be inter-related through disc navigation. Also, tracks can have chapter markers to easily jump to a particular scene. Much as I love and use downloads and Vimeo, I’m not aware of any online way of easily packaging all these elements together – but maybe someone is already working on a solution. But personally, I still like to have the physical product – and then of course there is information on the sleeve and maybe an insert booklet, too. DVDs – standard definition or Blu-ray – may be on the way out, but it seems that we are a long way from finding a replacement that is as versatile, accessible and comprehensive.

Long may DVDs continue; we shall certainly keep producing them as long as our clients keep wanting them. We produce and use downloads too, but I worry that without the DVD’s ability to package together all those elements, those ‘murdered darlings’ will remain on the cutting room floor.


The Carniverous Plant - now titled Magnum Opus

(Charles)

Fiore de Henriquez & Peralta, her Tuscan hill village

Shot on film between 1975 and 1978 and edited digitally in 2014-15, this feature-length film celebrates the life and work of sculptor and 'larger than life' character Fiore de Henriquez and her support network of artisans and specialists based in the area around Pietrasanta, Tuscany, including this very traditional blacksmith's forge.


New Publication

(Charles)

Libby Horner's new book Brangwyn at WAR! has now been published and is available from the Goldmark Gallery:

http://www.goldmarkart.com/brangwyn-at-war.html

184 pages, 126 works (almost all of which are illustrated) ranging from pre Great War illustrations for The Graphic, through all his war work to the murals in Winnipeg and the initial designs for the House of Lords memorial. The book discusses Brangwyn's attitude to war, his war art compared to contemporaries and his use of photographs. His posters are 'illustrated' by excerpts from Great War diaries. There's a chapter about propaganda and multifarious gobbets including the medical corps, gas attacks, army slang, smoking soldiers, Wipers Times, the photographer William Rider-Rider plus explanations about lithography, wood engraving and linocuts, plus an index of titles, index of catalogue numbers, museums list, exhibitions list and the usual extensive bibliography.



Dylan Thomas & Land of the Falcon

(Charles)

Working on the Fiore film reminds me of the first film I made with eminent cinematographer Ian Wilson BSC - 'Land of the Falcon' - made for the Falcon Inns hotel group in association with the British Tourist Authority back in 1975; it went on to win the International Tourism Exchange prize in 1976, competing against 29 films from 17 countries. We had to travel around Britain staying at top hotels and eating and drinking on expenses, visiting stately homes, beautiful beaches, even whisky distilleries; it was a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. One of the sequences we shot was in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, home of Dylan Thomas. As 5 May is Dylan Thomas day, here is a short clip to celebrate the great man. 

Fiore de Henriquez #4

(Libby)

Started transcribing sections of the film.  Luckily, English being Fiore’s second language, she speaks fairly slowly and clearly (and loudly) so is far easier to transcribe than some soft-spoken, fast-paced Brits, or those who ‘er’ or divert into multiple sub clauses and lose focus en route.

Fiore+Florynce#1

Transcribed Fiore/Florynce Kennedy meeting aboard the Staten Island ferry today.  Interesting because ‘Flo’ is another HUGE and LOUD character who enjoyed interrupting with ‘Oh my God’, ‘Kick my Ass’ and other expletives and I had the impression Fiore didn’t appreciate the competition.  Rather amusing really and quite inspired of Charles to introduce two such outgoing women to each other.  He thinks both characters are wonderful, but then he tends to think the best of everyone and rarely speaks ill of folks (although when he does he’s decidedly un-PC) whereas I’m far more cynical.


Fiore de Henriquez #3

(Libby)

Watched some more rushes and Ian Wilson’s magical camera work – I’ve fallen in love with the Italian countryside and the evocation of gentler days and lost arts and crafts (viz the local blacksmith).  Fiore’s portraiture is brilliant, uncanny how quickly she can sculpt the essence of her sitter.  I’d love to see her abstract works in the flesh to really assess properly.