A brand new silent film about the culture and diversity of London, is set to launch a crowdfunding campaign on 16 September 2014
LONDON SYMPHONY is a poetic journey through the city of London, including St Margarets, exploring its vast diversity of culture, religion and design via its various modes of transportation. It is both a cultural snapshot and a creative record of London as it stands today. The point is not only to immortalise the city, but also to celebrate its community and diversity.
The film is being made in the style of a silent City Symphony. As director Alex Barrett explains: “We believe that by looking at the present through recourse to the past, we can learn something new about life today. We won’t be parodying the style. We will be true to the spirit of the filmmakers that came before us, and we hope to capture the rhythm, the motion and the experimentation that made their films so wonderful, while simultaneously reimagining the City Symphony for the 21st Century”.
Alongside making the film, the team will also be creating a new score – an original symphony – written by composer James McWilliam. Says James: “Music plays an important role in silent cinema, and our score will help take viewers on a journey through modern-day London”. The filmmakers plan to record the music with a live orchestra, but also have it performed live at special event screenings of the finished film.
LONDON SYMPHONY reunites the team behind the short film HUNGERFORD: SYMPHONY OF A LONDON BRIDGE. A three-minute city symphony in its own right, the short film now serves as a pilot for the team’s intentions with the feature-length LONDON SYMPHONY. The short won three awards and screened at festivals around the world including Edinburgh International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. It can be viewed online at www.londonsymphfilm.com.
“In the early days of the cinema, there were several great City Symphonies – for Berlin, Paris, Rotterdam, but never for London. Alex Barrett is going to put that right, and his plans suggest a remarkable picture.”
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
The filmmakers have been developing LONDON SYMPHONY since the beginning of the year, and are now ready to enter production. They have strong interest from leading independent distributor SODA PICTURES – but first they need to raise the finance. Producer Katharine Round says: “The aim of LONDON SYMPHONY is to create a record of what London means to modern-day residents, and creating a community around the film at this stage is part of that. Crowdfunding also opens up possibilities to create something ambitious, exiting and meaningful without corporate or commercial interference”. Adds Barrett: “Our campaign is a chance for people to make a real difference, and show the world that silent, ‘non-commercial’ cinema still matters”.
The filmmakers intend to make the production of LONDON SYMPHONY “as open, as interesting and as interactive as we can”, says Barrett, and all of their reward packages include access to exclusive behind-the-scenes updates. Other rewards on offer include an annotated script ebook, a travel card wallet, a flip book, the chance to be in the film, the chance to have your building featured in the film, photographic prints, an original etching, a constructivist-style poster, and, of course, the chance to see the film and download the soundtrack. There’s also the opportunity to become a producer on the film.
THE LONDON SYMPHONY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES ON SEPTEMBER 16TH 2014
For more information please visit www.Londonsymphfilm.com
ABOUT THE GENRE
The ‘City Symphony’ was a genre of filmmaking that flourished in the 1920s, arguably beginning with Charles Sheeler’s and Paul Strand’s MANHATTA (1921) and reaching its apotheosis with Dziga Vertov’s MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (1929), which was recently voted the best documentary of all time in a Sight & Sound poll. Often musical in structure, city symphonies used techniques from the avant-garde to build poetic portraits of city life through exciting rhythms and surprising juxtapositions.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
- Alex Barrett – Director/Editor: An independent filmmaker whose films have been screened at over 60 international festivals and garnered ten awards. His debut feature, LIFE JUST IS, was released theatrically in the UK in December 2012. Sight & Sound contributor Brad Stevens called it “one of the most promising debuts in contemporary cinema”, while Mark Kermode acclaimed it as ‘DVD of the Week’. The feature was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2012, where it was also selected for the ‘Best of the Fest’ screenings. www.alexbarrett.net
- Katharine Round – Producer: One of the leading names in UK crowdfunding, Katharine recently raised over £100k for the documentary adaptation of the critically-acclaimed book THE SPIRIT LEVEL, making it the most successful UK crowdfunded documentary on IndieGoGo. She has worked in documentary film and television for over 14 years, making films for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, and Discovery, amongst others. She established Literally Films to produce documentaries which push boundaries in form and content, and which are distributed in cinemas, online and on television. She is also founder of leading documentary organization Doc Heads, and regularly gives masterclasses on documentary production & funding. literallyfilms.co.uk
- Rahim Moledina – Writer: An award winning filmmaker and writer, Rahim completed his Masters in Screenwriting at the London College of Communication in 2012 and currently works as a freelancer. His script Iqbal’s Shoes was selected from more than 3000 scripts to be part of the BBC Writersroom scriptroom 2013. www.101projects.org
- James McWilliam – Composer: A composer and orchestral arranger, James has written music for 3 successful feature films, a number of high profile short films and TV shows for the BBC, Channel 4 and international network stations. As an orchestral arranger he has worked with some of the leading film composers including Eric Neveux, Gabriel Yared, Klaus Badelt, Gustavo Santaolalla and Patrick Doyle. www.jamesmcwilliam.com
- Peter Harmer – Cinematographer: A professional filmmaker and film tutor. His production company Stories specialises in community and youth-based filmmaking projects and helps outside organisations work successfully with the moving image. www.storiesfilm.com