1000 Londoners' NECROPOLIS shorts show how the capital gets its All Hallows on

As a born Londoner and film buff, the Smoke Screen makes it a priority to catch the short programmes produced by 1000 Londoners: a project produced by Chocolate Films and directors Rachael Wang and Mark Currie, which aims to create a collage portrait of the city via 1000 short films with each one following a different Londoner. 1000 different points of view, from all over the city and from various times of the year. It is an ambitious target to be sure, with the project still not complete yet.

Each week a new Londoner's story is broadcast on http://www.1000londoners.com , but 1000 Londoners also run movie nights around the capital, collecting together several shorts under one overall theme and often intercutting them with quirky archive footage gleaned from the London Screen Archives. This month's programme is titled (appropriately, given the dark nights are setting in) "Necropolis", and it collects a variety of Londoner's stories together which were all recorded on Halloween night. The programmers set themselves a challenge of spontaneity with this one, with a team of twelve filmmakers venturing out into the streets after dark to see how many stories they could gather.

The eleven films that are the result of that one night's work feel very true to the ethos of 1000 Londoners: in that you truly feel that before you on screen is a cross-section of the melting pot of people, feelings, dreams and conflicts that modern London is made of. There are immigrants, harmless eccentrics, the devout, the elderly, and the carefree young, all rubbing shoulders. One subject - "transformational intuitive coach" Sri - is one of the those true originals you hope the 1000 Londoner's team will dig up every time they head out; Sri being a spell caster who we see running a training session to a rapt crowd on Halloween in full zombie costume (it seems Halloween costumes and fake blood are no impediment to casting a spell). Paul, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia five times but now discovering the joys of roller skating in Halloween regalia with crowds of likeminded types, provides an inspirational tale of self-help and redemtpion. But more poignant is our introduction to Peter, an elderly Highgate resident who has lived in the area for nearly 40 years, and likes to visit the Highgate wood in his retirement, whilst wistfully recalling the days he was more active. Halloween doesn't mean as much to Peter as it used to; he is painfully aware that more years are behind him now than ahead. In a city that seems so fast moving, with masses of people always coming and going, Peter is also a reminder to us that some Londoners like to stick to their patch. You can only imagine the changes he has seen.

You can see more of 1000 Londoner's work on their website, and they will return after the New Year with more film nights.

1000 Londoners: Necropolis was held at the Lexi Cinema in North London.

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

1000 Londoners: Mapping Londoner's stories one film at a time

Documentary specialists 1000 Londoners (with Chocolate Films) are currently hard at work on a highly ambitious and unique ethnographic filmmaking project- producing a series of 1000 short films charting lives of all kinds across contemporary London.

1000 Londoners is a digital portrait of the city aiming to offer an insight into the lives of 1000 people who consider themselves to be Londoners, taking in all ages, religions, race, income, interests and opinions. Each week, a 3 minute profile of a Londoner is posted on the 1000 Londoners home page, and at the start of a new week at midnight GMT, the home page changes to show the profile of a brand new Londoner. All the profiles are archived into a searchable online gallery of Londoners.

The plan is not just to leave these stories sitting on the website however, and over the last few weeks sets of these short films have aired across London venues, each week devoted to a different theme and group of people. 

The first theme, starting from 2 November, was Night Crawlers and featured Londoners who do their living in the nocturnal hours and includes escorts, cabaret artists and clubbers, as well as Trevor who puts up Christmas lights and Save Soho's Tim Arnold. Easy Riders looked at those who traverse the city (and their own) limitations using two wheels, be it wheelchairs, pedal power or those, like Vicious C*** Cycle rider Gemma, who prefer Harley Davidson horsepower. Fight Club looks at the tougher side of life, taking hits and giving them be it in boxing or wrestling.

This writer popped down the the Hotel Elephant to catch the Easy Riders film collection on a chilly Friday on November 20, and was duly impressed by the diversity of subjects the filmmakers had captured and the intriguing niches of London life they had burrowed their way into, from Critical Mass riders to the capital's idiosyncratic rickshaw riders. There is no discernible agenda or slant to things, no on-screen text or other voiceover other than the chatter of the subjects, and no two are alike. 

The filmmakers are also on hand at each event for Q&A's, with the Easy Rider post-screening talk becoming quite lively as it ranged over the backstories of the interviewees, how well they were practicing cycle safety, and exactly how safe it is to be on two wheels in London today. As to how long it will take 1000 Londoners to finish this project at the rate they are going, that was a question for another day.

There is still one last chance to catch the last program- Fight Club- tomorrow at Hotel Elephant. Details of the entire program is below.

The screenings are part of the BFI’s Britain on Film season and are supported by Film Hub London with Londonist as media partner. 

The entire programme runs as:

Night Crawlers

Night Crawlers shines a light on the stories of Londoners who come out at night, from club kids to security guards.

Hackney Picturehouse | Monday 2 November 7pm

The Exhibit, Balham | Tuesday 3 November 7pm

Deptford Cinema | Wednesday 4 November 7pm

Stow Film Lounge | Thursday 5 November 7pm

Hotel Elephant | Friday 6 November 7pm

 

Easy Riders

Easy Riders follows the tracks of London’s bikers. If it has two wheels, they are on it.

Hackney Picturehouse | Monday 16 November 7pm

The Exhibit, Balham | Tuesday, 17 November 7pm

Deptford Cinema | Wednesday 18 November 7pm

Stow Film Lounge | Thursday 19 November 7pm

Hotel Elephant | Friday 20 November 7pm

 

Fight Club

Fight Club smashes through into the world of boxing and wrestling. Grapple with the Londoners who fight for fun.

Hackney Picturehouse | Monday, 23 November 7pm

The Exhibit, Balham | Tuesday 24 November 7pm

Deptford Cinema | Wednesday, 25 November 7pm

Stow Film Lounge | Thursday, 26 November 7pm

Hotel Elephant | Friday, 27 November 7pm

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.