NOW BOOKING: Ben Nicholson & Matt Turner talk UK premiere of 3D film PROTOTYPE

Blake Williams’ new 3D film PROTOTYPE gets its UK premiere at Genesis Cinema on 19 JUN 2018 (19:00). We caught up with indie promoters Matt Turner & 
Ben Nicholson to chat about this awesome adventure in inter-dimensionality.

Blake Williams PROTOTYPE at Genesis Cinema (19 JUN).
Blake Williams’ PROTOTYPE at Genesis Cinema (19 JUN).

[RADIANT CIRCUS]: For people that don’t know his work, what’s the elevator pitch on Blake Williams? Who is he and what does he do? 

[BEN NICHOLSON]: Blake is a Toronto-based academic and filmmaker who has spent his career to date experimenting with how we experience space and depth on screen including some pretty radical visuals and audio.

[RC]: PROTOTYPE is a new feature-length 3D film that seems to be, amongst many things, a piece of speculative fiction triggered by a natural disaster… What’s your take on it?

[MATT TURNER]: It’s a visually resplendent, expansive, mind-melting UFO of a film, a total ride. I saw it last year at the Locarno Film Festival, and it was unlike anything else there, or pretty much anything I had ever seen. I disappeared into it for its duration, it felt like being underwater.

[RC]: 3D gets such a bad rep. What would you say to the haters?

MT: 3D was kind of made for abstract, experimental film, I guess. With some of the narrative applications it has had, it kind of gets in the way, is tacked on without much thought, or serves as a distraction. PROTOTYPE puts the technology at the centre, and makes the very most of it. It’s an experience.

Blake Williams’ RED CAPRICCIO at Genesis Cinema (19 JUN).

[RC]: You’ll also be screening some other pieces by Blake Williams. What else is on the programme?

BN: We’ve got two of his shorts playing before the main feature, neither of which have screened in the UK before. RED CAPRICCIO is an anaglyph short (i.e. watched through red/cyan cardboard glasses) and then Blake’s first polarized (like modern 3D) short SOMETHING HORIZONTAL.

MT: Both rule. PROTOTYPE usually screens alone, and is quite an experience on its own, so we hope the triple hitter isn’t too much of an overdose of inter-dimensionality

[RC]: What goes into bringing works like these to London for a UK premiere? What are the challenges?

BN: For this one the main thing was finding a venue to screen something like this that also has 3D facilities. We’re very lucky that the Genesis Cinema liked the idea and have supported us throughout. Not to mention Blake being so accommodating on finally bringing his films to the UK.

MT: Also, because it’s 3D, there is genuinely no other way to watch this film. You can’t torrent it, there is no vimeo link floating about. It might not screen again here. You have to turn up.

[RC]: What would you say to anyone who has yet to try artists’ moving image? How can we get more people out of the multiplex to give it a go?

BN: Probably the most important thing to stress is variety. In the same way that narrative cinema comes in all shapes, sizes and genres, so does artists’ moving image. It can just as easily be funny or full of great music as it can be abstract or intellectual. Either way, its almost always a breath of fresh air blowing away the cobwebs of narrative. It’s a great way to cleanse the palette between multiplex visits but the two don’t exist in isolation – and Blake’s work is a great example of blockbuster spectacle in artists’ moving image.

MT: It sounds corny, but I often find artists’ moving image, especially if it is abstract, led by visuals, or otherwise non-narrative, a lot easier to deal with than films where you need to absorb so much visual information in order to follow the story. Most fiction / narrative type films, whether in a multiplex or arthouse, demand a lot from the viewer, lots of characters, plot threads, ideas, things to keep up with etc. I find it tiring. My vision isn’t amazing so I tend to miss a lot, and my brain can’t retain all the information needed.

I prefer lots of artists’ moving image as it moves slower, is less heavy on narrative, gives you time and space to think, is open to you as a presence or component, or offers nice things to look at. Like with PROTOTYPE, you can analyse or decode it, or you can just relax and let the images wash over you. You can climb inside of it. That is calmer to me. I like being challenged in other ways.

Artists’ moving image has a reputation as inaccessible or difficult, but most people would like it if they gave it a go, I think. Also, like, life is so long and boring, why would you just want the same experiences over and over until you die? Fuck things up a bit.

[RC]: How do you two work together? What is your collaboration focused on making happen?

BN: We came together because of shared tastes and what is perhaps an interest in different ways of seeing and different forms of expression. So our work together is mainly focused on giving a platform to those ideas.

MT: For now, weird objects front and centre. Going forward, bringing oppositional and complimentary things into collision and pushing against the limiting parameters of film culture as it currently exists. Trying to think more about what things mean and how they could be done differently.

[RC]: What can we expect in the future?

BN: We don’t have any more screenings lined up at present – one at a time! – but we do have a couple of other written and curatorial projects in development.

MT: I love projects. Projects projects projects.

… and that’s the meat of it.

Blake Williams' SOMETHING HORIZONTAL at Genesis Cinema (19 JUN).
Blake Williams’ SOMETHING HORIZONTAL at Genesis Cinema (19 JUN).

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