Further to my previous email concerning my shift within the current module:
I would like to shift my current focus away from the film process therapy workshop and concentrate on making My film Low season.
Firstly It was never my intention to start the Ma with the film process therapy, I intend on this being a longer term goal over the two years. And I do not want to rush the process, I need to design the workshop, and test it as you said, this element running in conjunction with preparing a campaign for kick-starter, feels like I am rushing all of these elements to fit inside the constrains of one module, which in this case puts potentially damaging time constraints on a complex project.
Secondly, All of my current research is essentially transferrable, Much of the theoretical or philosophical research and reading I have done supports the ‘Low season’ film. These two projects are of course linked not just in theme but in overall concept and form part of a larger series of goals that I have set for myself, i.e. to make a series of films that look at mental health and wellbeing from a modern and lived perspective, to create a body of work, that will potentially also act as a launch pad to further engagement and or research whether in doctoral study as I mentioned, or community engaged work. The workshop constitutes another part of this overall picture which is to reach out and share as well as explore the processes within film making and consider their use and application in positive change.
So My intention had always been to start with Low season the film, and push on from there.
The other reasons are largely practical, by engaging in the film through the module I can not only access resources and equipment, but more importantly engage valuable time in the development and continued process of the film. Time contributes in several other ways, I have as of yesterday found someone who wants to produce the film, they will be leaving the southwest in March. I have of course got to shoot this film before March as the locations are only suitable in the low season!And this would mean I would have to with another year to shoot, bringing me into the last year of the Ma (where I would prefer to be focussing on the launching the workshop)
One of my key locations A cafe currently lies dormant and for sale (For how much longer i don’t know).
The Module provides a valuable shooting deadline, and pushes the kick-starter project into accelerated forward momentum.
Thirdly the film not only feels like a logical fit, but I could shift the kick-starter campaign over easily as I have researched both up until a week ago. My ethical and philosophical research and readings including Godard, Eisenstein Bourdieu etc all fit very closely into the context of the piece.
And finally I am desperate to make! I need to engage all of the other work in the process itself, It involves a lot of new ground for me working with a professional actor shooting with a new crew and technologies, essentially experimenting with new filmic ideas and elements.
Phew! I hope you made it this far Kim! My apologies if this all feels a bit long winded, I just felt so energised when I realised that this I what I need to do!
Let me know what you think I will also contact Rachael and try to sort out a tutorial with her asap.
Thanks for your time and patience.
It Is difficult when approaching this subject to fully escape the shadow of early Freudian theory and how it has coloured much of modern film theory as well as psychology. It is of course not all negative and I do not wish to enter back into the Freudian debate here and at this time. I feel it important to state that my position on modern psychology, Much of this problem lies not with the goals but with the basis of the knowledge structures that forearm and inform them.
I have written before about the danger of hierarchal structure in the imposition of Knowledge and its following power, Delueze and Guattari do a much finer job of arguing this case for me in Anti-Oedipus
Still I promised myself that this is neither the time or the place to open the entirety of this debate, just perhaps to hint at a dissent in the ranks. Cognitivism a blending of psychology and philosophy, appears at least on the surface to offer a more balance and open view of the study of the mind. But, and this is a big but, if we are already down a path in a distinct direction from where we began, does making annotations to the map we hold really offer an alternative route?
A confusing and colourful analogy perhaps but my point about all knowledge is the moment we accept it as such we should be prepared to about turn 360 and reject it in an instant. It may not always be the best correct or even sensible or logical thing to do, but if we are at least willing to consider this rash action, It can help ward off the the ever present danger of knowledge being incorrectly presented as fact.
So how does all this relate to emotions? Well putting aside emotional theory in films for a moment and looking purely at our knowledge of what and how emotions work, we see rather a cloudy picture even in cognitive sciences, Nuero science offers chemical sites receptors and transmitters, it can tell us in a technical or biological sense whats happening, Is this sufficient for us to understand emotions?
I would argue that it is not, it is a where, with a touch of how, it lacks context, and even if we reintroduce concepts of the why and pretend that there is such a thing as truly objective knowledge, we still fall short of a universal understanding of and even definition of emotion.
The reason is simple we have removed the experience from the equation, and treated like mere noise or static, we have denied the experiencer there individuality, and rendered the subject and study as a one way process of viewing.
This Is what I believe plagues our understanding and treatment of mental health or wellbeing to use another term, it is good to look to study, to remove yourself from a situation and try to view a problem from dispassionate and rigorous angles. but this process ultimately leads to looking deeper and deeper, breaking things down smaller and smaller, from cells to neurones to atoms, and what we ultimately learn about the whole, is nothing.
In the study of film emotion a series of systems have been identified, how we trigger emotion, a structure is pulled out and transposed, our supposedly passive viewers now appear almost like lab rats being experimented on with our tools of emotive manipulation.
But and we know this is true there are other ways to present ideas in film, other ways to connect with an audience, these as Andrei Tarkovsky proposed are attempting a democracy in the image, an attempt to stay true as a maker and honour the Audience with an invitation, not a series of demands, or hidden agendas, but a clear invitation to find and perceive of the language and ideas as they must.
If we design a film to illicit a certain response we are leading an audience on, being dishonest with them and with ourselves. As a film maker I believe we have, as with the other arts an opportunity to describe and communicate complex ideas and emotions, but these are structured merely for the audience! They are the process, aims, the integrity and the necessity of the work itself.
In other words too much thought about the potential audience is dangerous as a film maker, it limits both imagination, freedom and scope for genuine voice and therefore real connection. Don’t try to please all the people! A balance has to be sought and found fro every artist or maker.
So to flip over to another view how do we impart as film makers our ideas of what emotion is in a film? do we follow structures laid out by others? A swelling score or sad sad piano sonata?
I am trying to suggest that as a maker our needs are to present our vision, to present what we see, feel, understand, some of this may appear to others as universal, some of it may not. but the minute we incorporate viewers opinions and needs widely into the design of the film we lose our ability to call ourselves film artists, and at worst we become entertainers chugging out standards on a broken tired piano.
So if It is all so narcissistically about the maker in terms of emotion where does this leave our audience? In my opinion It leaves them treated as individuals capable of making up there own minds, (I am sure there will remain many people queuing up to hear that broken piano)
But that is OK because some will be looking for something different.
What this amounts to is the acceptance as a maker that the films that we make, only become films when they are watched and perceived by others, that there will be as may films as there are audience members, because it is in this perceptual space enigmatically described as cinema, the magical void between screen and spectator our films can truly live.
This relationship between viewer and maker is of absolute importance, it is here we see parallels with therapy and modern mental health. A relationship that begins with an assumption I am the bearer of knowledge, I summon you to me, and so on, of course the good therapist listens to there subject, but they can not help but make judgements before a word is even spoken, by setting up a system of care giving, expertise we create an unhealthy power structure that assumes a lot, we replace the individual and there experience with concepts and ideologies, and we fail quite miserably a great deal of the time to hear anything, despite the idea that we reinforce that we are listening.
My ideas for film process therapy, I hope are designed to circumnavigate this process, by avoiding the assumption that I or any one else can properly understand a persons emotions mental state or truly what they are experiencing.
It removes the hegemony of psychotherapy by creating a loose structure for the person themselves to use as a tool fro there own self discovery.
Film process therapy is I hope chiefly concerned with (to take back a dreadfully misused management word) ‘facilitation’ of positive change chosen by instigated by and carried out by the person involved. It does not assume any foreknowledge of mental health or psychology, it does not require an understanding of the arts or film, It above all else is not a programme that leads a person on a given journey or makes any guarantees or promises.
Film process theory is not about an object or an outcome, it demands no audience or goal or agenda.
Simply it is to make, to involve oneself in a process in of itself.
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., Foucault, M., Lane, H.R. and Hurley, R. (1983) Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. 6th edn. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.