Still Films’ Latest Co-production Screens in Berlin


Still Films’ latest co-production Last Hijack wil premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival this Friday.

Directed by Femke Wolting and Tommy Pallotta, Last Hijack is a true tale of survival in Somalia told from the pirate’s perspective. Combining animation with documentary storytelling, the film takes an innovative hybrid approach to explore how one Somali pirate – Mohamed – came to live such a brutal and dangerous existence. Animated re-enactments exploring Mohamed’s memories, dreams and fears from his point of view are juxtaposed with raw footage from his everyday life in an original non-fiction narrative.

Working closely for the past four years with directors Femke Wolting and Tommy Pallotta and the Submarine team, Nicky Gogan and Caroline Campbell  of Still Films produced the animation for the documentary with Gavin Kelly and the animators at Piranha Bar, using a bespoke technique developed with Tommy, painter Hisko Hulsing and illustrator Aaron Sacco.

Producer Nicky Gogan said: It was such a privilege to work on this documentary with Tommy and Femke, both of whom have made films I love and admire. Also bringing to life the paintings in such an imaginative and unique way was really exciting to us. It was really great to work with Gavin and his team as we have a long history of pushing animation boundaries both technically and aesthetically through our collaboration when programming the Darklight Festival.”

Last Hijack  is a Dutch / Irish / German / Belgian co-production by Submarine in co-production with Still Films, Razor Film, Savage Film, IKON and ZDF. In association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board. Supported by the Media Programme of the European Union, Netherlands Film Fund, CoBO, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, the Dutch Media Fund and the Flanders Audiovisual Fund with the participation of PLANÈTE + and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse.


‘Seaview’ screening on RTÉ1



Still Films award-winning documentary Seaview, which was filmed with asylum seekers living in the former Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Mosney, screens at 11:45 tonight on RTÉ1.


An hour north of Dublin beside the sea is a bizarre looking collection of grey cement buildings with brightly painted doors, and rusting fairground rides. This is Mosney – Ireland’s Coney Island. A former Butlin’s holiday camp, Mosney was once a world fully equipped for entertainment, with arcades, fairground rides, holiday chalets. It was a place where Irish families would escape the daily grind of work in order to relax, to dance, enjoy themselves. A visit to Mosney today presents a radically different picture, but still a picture of escape.


Seaview is directed by Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley.





Film Ireland talks to Nicky Gogan, co-founder of Still Films.


New Irish Feature Film ‘Black Ice’ Confirms Cinema Release Date



Independent Irish production companies Bandit Films and Still Films today confirmed that feature film Black Ice will be released in Irish cinemas on September 20th 2013.  The film will also screen at the Galway Film Fleadh this weekend and had its World Premiere at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in February.  Directed by Johnny Gogan and starring Killian Scott and Jane McGrath, the film is a dramatic action thriller set against the backdrop of the local petrol-head scene in rural Ireland.  Black Ice will screen on Saturday July 13th at 2.15pm at the Galway Film Fleadh with stars Jane McGrath, Dermot Murphy and director Johnny Gogan in attendance.


Set in rural Donegal, Black Ice follows Jimmy Devlin, played by ‘Love/Hate’ star Killian Scott, and his complicated relationship with girlfriend Alice Watters, played by newcomer Jane McGrath who has been receiving rave reviews for her feature film debut.  The story, set in a clandestine road racing scene where Jimmy is considered “top dog” among the petrol heads, also follows his and Alice’s struggle to break into the legit professional rally scene, but there are other forces at work in this shadowy border world threatening to undermine their ambition.  The world of cars, whether it be the modified car scene or the rally scene, is a big sub-culture in many countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. There is a degree of mystery and secrecy around the world of cars, young people and speed.


Set in the period around the Irish economic crash of 2008 Black Ice was shot on locations in Sligo and Leitrim, a developing hot-bed of film-making now playing host to the new Ken Loach film. Gogan’s third feature after The Last Bus Home and Mapmaker, Black Ice is co-producer Still Films first fiction film foray having previously scored hits with documentaries Pyjama Girls and Seaview.


The title track for the film, performed by Sligo rapper Myster E and Sarah Crummy and written by Johnny Gogan and Myster E will be released as a single in Ireland on 29th July.


Johnny Gogan, director and producer, while expressing his gratitude to the film’s wonderful cast commented: “It’s very fitting that Black Ice should be screened at the prestigious Galway Film Fleadh given that the film was produced under the auspices of Studio North West, a hugely vibrant and creative filmmaking community in the North-West of the country.  Their involvement and that of the region’s car community was decisive in the successful realisation of a film with so much action and high production values.  We’re really looking forward to screening the film at the Fleadh, and to the release of the film on September 20th.  All of our cast and dedicated crew worked tirelessly on the project, so to see the final result on the big screen and to have the appreciation of an audience is really important.”


Producer Nicky Gogan also commented on the commitment of the cast and crew, noting that “The enthusiasm and energy of the crew has translated onto the screen, where the thrilling high-speed race sequences are brought to life very vividly.  Along with the dynamic aspects of the film, there is at its heart a deeply affecting universal story of first love, with people trying to pick up the pieces and make a life for themselves after the economic crash.  The film really does have something for everyone, and we think it’s a model of how films can be made in Ireland in the future.”


The film was produced by Bandit Films and Still Films, with the support of The Irish Film Board / Bord Scannán na hÉireann.


Film Ireland 133 Summer 2010: Spotlight on ‘Pyjama Girls’



The TV premiere of Pyjama Girls takes place on RTÉ 1 at 10:15pm on Tuesday, 13th March. Ross Whitaker talked to director Maya Derrington shortly before its screening at the 2010 Stranger Than Fiction Festival. This article originally appeared as the spotlight article in Film Ireland summer 2010, issue 133.


This year’s Stranger Than Fiction festival had a new slot (moving from June to April) and a new festival programmer in Niall MacPherson. The line-up for the festival was as good as it has ever been, boasting impressive titles like Last Train Home, American: The Bill Hicks Story, Fred Wiseman’s La Danse and Chris Rock’s Good Hair.


While the attendance of incoming international filmmakers was greatly restricted by the volcanic ash cloud, Mother Nature had no such impact on audience figures and there were impressive crowds throughout the festival.


Over the weekend, long lines regularly snaked through the IFI, proving that there’s very much still an appetite for high quality documentaries. The most popular film of the festival was undoubtedly Pyjama Girls, the thrice sold-out directorial debut of Still Films’ Maya Derrington.


Pyjama Girls is a touching, absorbing slice ofDublin life that had the audience transfixed from beginning to end. Running at a tight 70 minutes, the film draws you into the chaotic life ofDublin teenager and habitual pyjama-wearer Lauren.


Over the course of the film we learn about the challenges that life throws at Lauren – from her addict mother to the disruptive world of the flats – and understand the crucial importance of her friendship with her more grounded best friend Tara. Balancing tenderness with hilarity, Pyjama Girls tracks the explosive micro-dramas of teenage life against the bleak backdrop ofDublin’s inner city flats.


The film has been described as an observational documentary and the strongest scenes are those that capture the tension and love in conversations between Lauren and her immediate family members. One scene in which Lauren has her fingernails painted by her little sister is worth the admission price alone.


These observational scenes are interspersed with more stylised interview-based expositional vignettes that retrospectively tell the story of Lauren’s young life. These scenes bring us closer to Lauren and give us insight into her behaviour and temperament.


Derrington decided to make the film when she spotted some young girls on the street in pyjamas and was shocked by the sight.


‘I was inspired to make the film because of my own surprise and fascination with the daytime pyjama phenomenon. I asked myself why would an item of clothing bring out such shock in me because I’d usually be quite laid-back about clothing. Then I noticed that people all over the city were getting riled by the topic.’


‘The vitriol it provokes reminds me of the response to punk. I wanted to explore on screen the intensity of being a female teenager: the everyday dramas and the depths that are hidden behind the clothes and the posturing.’


Derrington used the setting of the flats and the pyjamas themselves as visual inspiration when approaching the film.


‘There were two things in my mind as I began, one was the bright softness of the pyjamas as a metaphor for female teenage life and against that the harsh lines of the flats. I was really struck by the architecture of the area which combined brutality and community, so I wanted the place to be very present within the film.’


The project was funded by the Irish Film Board  under the micro-budget scheme, which completely funds films up to a total budget of 100k. The film was a big undertaking that took up two years of Derrington’s life and the budget was therefore understandably tight.


‘We put it forward for funding as a low-budget project because we just wanted to get on with it,’ says producer Nicky Gogan. ‘We had pitched it to a few broadcasters at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival and although people seemed interested in it, we felt that if we wanted to make the film that Maya imagined we might need funders who were a little more open and flexible to what it might become. We kept it low-key, often it was just Maya and ap Sinead Ni Bhroin that made up the crew, and that suited the observational approach.’


‘One of the descriptive terms we used throughout preproduction was ‘micro-dramas’, adds Derrington. ‘We wanted to find the micro-dramas of female teenage lives and I think that term in itself would be enough to terrify a lot of commissioning editors. That along with the term ‘observational, because any observational work creates big challenges for commissioning editors because you can’t guarantee what will happen.’


One of the great challenges of making an observational film can be finding an ending and Derrington admits that she had some sleepless nights wondering where the film would end.


‘I have to admit that I didn’t think I had an ending. The girls we were following kept joking that they were going to get themselves arrested to give us an ending. It was in the edit that we found the ending. It says something about the open-ended nature of life.’


Judging by the response to the film at the Stranger Than Fiction festival, the film has plenty to look forward to in the future.


Still Films Produce Action Drama ‘Black Ice’ in Sligo and Leitrim

A new action drama based on boy racers in the border area is currently being filmed in Sligo and Leitrim. Directed by Johnny Gogan (Mapmaker), ‘Black Ice’ is the first drama produced by Still Films’ Nicky Gogan (Pyjama Girls).

Set in small town rural Ireland, the main past-time for its youth is racing cars down an old “concession road” and the authorities of North and South find it difficult to police in the new open border dispensation. The drama follows Jimmy Devlin, played by Love/Hate star Killian Scott, and his complicated relationship with girlfriend Alice Watters, played by newcomer Jane McGrath (recently seen in Little Women at The Gate).

Johnny Gogan, Director has said: ‘The film is set in 2008 and present day. It’s a contemporary story that’s about post-crash Ireland where our central character, Alice, is trying to pick up the pieces. It’s particularly fitting that the way we are making the film, combining new filmmaking technologies with the ethos of Studio North West, reflects this aspect of the story.’

Co-written by Johnny Gogan and Brian Leyden, scenes in the micro-budget feature depict thrilling high speed race sequences with local car enthusiasts Richie Irwin, Noel Crawley, Terry McDermott, Shamie McGuinness and Andrew Trotter performing white knuckle stunts for the feature.

Producer Nicky Gogan has praised the goodwill of the local community: ‘In addition to fixing the crew’s cars and everything else, it’s amazing how people have really got behind the project, the racing forums around the country are buzzing with news about the film.’

Production began in early February and the four week shoot wraps next week, with the aim of an autumn release.


JDIFF 2012: Shorts


Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Other Presentations: JDIFF Shorts

Friday, 24th February, 6:30pm, Light House Cinema

The fabulous final JDIFF weekend got off to a top-notch start with a fantastic feast of fresh films – of the short variety, of course. These six hand-picked gems showcase the crème de la crème of Ireland’s talent, all the while making the audience laugh, tugging on our heartstrings and documenting some amazing characters.

First up was another excellent short, shot by the talented crew over at IADT. The Centre of the Universe tells the story of a young airhostess with the power to save the universe. This quirky sci-fi is written and directed by Brian Dunster and stars Michelle Beamish, Rosemary Henderson, Sophie Peacock and the fantastically funny David Michael Scott.

Following this was Frontiersman, which provided quite a contrast. This documentary follows the incredible stories of rugged individualists, sole traders, and entrepreneurs from Donegal; Arsene, Paddy Toye, Liam Grier, Alphie McCollum, Pat Gillespie, Eamon Friel and James McDaid. Heartfelt, eccentric and truly inspiring, this (quite long) short was created for the Sharing Stories project by director Derek O’Connor.

The tone got a bit heavier next with Thomas Hefferon’s Switch. This Galway Film Centre/RTÉ funded short tells the tragic tale of a man trying to atone for hit and run, where he fled the scene two years earlier, leaving a man dead and his daughter seriously injured. This piece is put together well, but the performances from Barry Barnes, Lesley Conroy and Jane McGrath are simply amazing.

This was succeeded by a rom-com to lighten the mood. Directed by Shimmy Marcus and supported by the Goethe Institute, Rhinos is absolutely gorgeous romance that is certainly not lost in translation. Escaping her tumultuous relationship, the vivacious Ingrid spends a day with quiet, reserved Thomas. He takes her sightseeing around Dublin for where they share a deep understanding ¬– despite their fundamental language barrier. * I’m sorry other shorts, you were really very good, but this was without doubt my undisputed favorite. Perhaps ever.

Up next was Still Films’ observational documentary Rats Island. This quiet, original piece showed a day in the life of Eddie, a man who was unemployed and homeless until he moved to a small island in a river estuary with his son, Andrew. Directed by Mike Hannon, this film subtlety emphasises the hardship of daily life for this odd charismatic character.

And the final film of the evening was Pairs and Spares, a light comedy about feuding bowlers in a strike-fuelled showdown. Philip Kelly directs a fun Warrior films’ short featuring Rachel-Mae Brady, Paul Halpin and Jack Hickey.

A lovely balance of drama, romance and comedy, these shorts really hit the spot and made me forget about the many longs I had left to watch.

Gemma Creagh

Click here for Film Ireland‘s coverage of this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Click here for full details and to book tickets for this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival


Competition: Pyjama Girls

The good people at Still Films have given us 3 copies of the wonderful Pyjama Girls to give to 3 lucky people.

To win yourself a copy, simply email with ‘Pyjama Girls’ in the subject line and the Film Ireland hat will choose winners by lunchtime on Monday,21st November

‘’A touching, absorbing slice of Dublin life…. had the audience transfixed from beginning to end.’
Film Ireland

Pyjama Girls is now on sale at the Irish Film Institute Film Shop. It will also be available to purchase from Tower Records, Wicklow Street & Easons, the Kilkenny Design Centre and from from Monday, 21st November.


Irish documentary ‘Pyjama Girls’ is released on DVD from 15th November exclusively at the IFI, with more retailers to follow.


Critically acclaimed Irish documentary Pyjama Girls will be released on DVD in time for Christmas in the IFI Bookshop, Tower Records and online at, launching Still Films Distribution.

Irish production company Still Films are distributing the DVD with support of the Irish Film Board’s new Direct Distribution funding programme, marking the launch of the innovative Still Films Distribution arm. This follows Still Films’ success with the theatrical release of the film in cinemas around the country in 2010. International trends for alternative distribution and the success of independent distributors such as Dogwoof in the UK has allowed Still Films to kick-start their own distribution plans with Pyjama Girls.

Still Films will also be working with Dogwoof in the near future to bring their successful Popup Cinema initiative to Ireland, empowering people to take an active role in exhibiting films in their own communities and providing endless opportunities for alternative distribution.

James Hickey, Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann / The Irish Film Board has said; ‘We were delighted to see Pyjama Girls meet with such a positive reaction when it was released in the IFI last year. It is one of many interesting IFB funded feature documentaries telling unusual and compelling Irish stories which have met with much success internationally and in Ireland over the past few years. Hopefully this forthcoming DVD release will give Irish audiences another opportunity to see Pyjama Girls and to enjoy the story of Lauren and Tara.’

With its uncompromising look at the lives of some of Dublin’s most vulnerable young people, Pyjama Girls focuses on 15-year-old Lauren and her best friend Tara. Lauren’s future hangs in the balance as she regularly takes part in street violence with rival teen gangs and faces expulsion from school. Over the course of the film we learn about the challenges that life throws her – from her addict mother to the disruptive world of the flats – and understand the crucial importance of her friendship with Tara.

Director Maya Derrington said, ‘We were overwhelmed by the way Pyjama Girls resonated with audiences across the country and in response to public demand the film will now be widely available in shops. I hope this will be the first of many independent Irish documentary DVD success stories from Still Films Distribution.’

Irish documentary Pyjama Girls is released on DVD from 15th November exclusively at the IFI, with more retailers to follow.

You can view the trailer here


Still Films Documentary seeks funding

To coincide with the publication of Garry O’Neill’s book of Dublin Street culture images, Where Were You!, Still Films is to produce an accompanying feature length documentary and seek donations to fund the project.

The project is made up of a three-stage process:

– The first stage will be the release of Gary’s book, which he has put together from an archive of images covering decades of fashion history.

– The second stage will be the research and development of the project and the completion of a short documentary, which will be used to secure funding for a feature length documentary.

– The third stage will be the production and release of a full feature length documentary.

To date the campaign has raised €2,395 via – with a target of €6500 – which is to be split between contributing towards the publishing costs of the book and the costs of developing the documentary.

For more information on the project or to contribute to the fund, visit


JDIFF: World Premiere of Still Films 'Build Something Modern'


DIR: Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley • PRO: Maya Derrington • DOP:Arlene Nelson• ED: Tom Roche • Music: Dennis McNulty

IFI, 6:30pm, Friday, 25th February

Build Something Modern is the latest documentary from Still Films, following on from Pyjama Girls 2010 and Seaview in 2009.  The film was made through the Arts Council funded Filmbase administered Reel Art scheme and is also directed by the same pairing as Seaview, Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley.

In the 1950s, 60s and 70s Irish architects designed and built many large buildings in Africa, in particular in Kenya and Nigeria, however in many cases they did not get to see their work for themselves. With the architect absent during construction and communications not what they are today, many plans were interpreted differently to what the architect had envisaged with sometimes fascinating results.

Co-director Paul Rowley’s background is as a visual artist and his influence is seen in the use of animation and stark sound which, with the help of Dennis McNulty’s music, help to tell the story and create an atmosphere of Africa. This a very different style of documentary to the jaw dropping narratives of Barbaric Genius or Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records.

It was remarked upon in the Q&A that Africa is almost a character in itself here and the animation of the sun appears several times reflecting its dominance on everyday life of those living there and on the design of buildings. Other striking images included some frightening photographs of what looked like a birds nest of wooden scaffolding several stories high as one church neared completion.

In the Q&A with Paul Rowley and Nicky Gogan, Alan Fitzpatrick of Filmbase commented that it is very much in the Still Films style and that the team were blessed with the archive material they were given.  Paul Rowley said that they didn’t know what was in there at first, it started with the discovery of a box of 80 slides, and the film itself opens with these slides being shown to an audience.

Gordon Gaffney


Darklight: State of The Nation

On Friday, 10th December at 9 p.m. in the Goethe Institut, 812 7th Street NW, Washington DC 20001, Darklight Festival Director Nicky Gogan has hand-picked a collection of films that she thinks reflects Ireland’s current social climate as well as the state of independent Irish film-making today.

In an interactive session that will include input from fellow producer and director, Paul Rowley, as well as a live video link up with Irish guerrilla musician (and director of Nun’s Fight Club), Declan De Barra, Nicky will lead us through her perspective on Irish cinema.

The line up consists of:

Fall directed by Paddy Jolly

Columbarium directed by Tony Kenny

Let Me Be Frank directed by Niamh Murphy

Rag Order directed by Damien O’Donnell

Old Fangs directed by Adrien Merigeau

Lady On The Rock directed by Jessie Ward

Gravity Loop directed by Paul Rowley & David Phillips

Musicvideo directed by Tu Me Tues

Take ‘Em Up directed by Eoghan Kidney

Untitled Revolution directed by Istvan Laszlo

Nuns Fight Club directed by Declan De Barra

Excerpt from One Hundred Mornings directed by Conor Horgan

Excerpt from His & Hers directed by Ken Wardrop

Divestment directed by Paul Rowley & Nicky Gogan

Rialto Twirlers directed by Annmaree Barry

For more details click here


Darklight Heroes: DC Edition

There will be a Darklight Film Festival and Still films showcase at the Capital Irish Film Festival, Washington this Friday, 10th December at 7 pm at the Goethe Institut, 812 7th Street NW, Washington DC 20001.

Darklight heroes is when some of the festival alumni and contributors from past editions get together to think of the artists who inspire them most from any field and invite them to curate a session in the festival; with Berlin-based animator David O’Reilly being this session’s hero.

Titled ‘Mixtape of Doom’, David has declared his film line-up as top secret and a collection of logic-bending neuro-masochistic short films from the past, present and future with early animation, modern rarities, lost television shows among those being screened.

Visit for more details.


Film Ireland talks to Nicky Gogan, co-founder of Still Films.


Tuesday 24th August at 19.00 at the IFI, Still Films co-founders Nicky Gogan, Paul Rowley and Maya Derrington will discuss their collaborative practice and screen a selection of shorter films. As part of Film Ireland’s coverage of the IFI’s Still Films’ season, we talk to Nicky Gogan about the evolution of Still Films and its collaborative approach to filmmaking

This is a free event, but tickets are required and are available from the IFI.

What was the background to Still Films and how did you come together?

We actually all knew each other for years and had worked on various projects together on and off. We were very much inspired by the energy that came out of the Darklight Festival, the ways new technologies were radically changing how people were making films. So before we set up shop as a production company we had been talking a lot about new approaches to making cinema. We set up the company in 2006 when we first started working on Seaview. Shortly after that we were lucky enough to get MPD funding from the Film Board, and that’s really what got us up and running.

With three creative personalities involved from the off, how did you work together from the beginning in a productive way?

It just felt like a very natural and obvious way to work. Filmmaking is such a collaborative art form. From the start we were very much interested in re-evaluating current production models to find new ways to get films made that were both creatively challenging for us but wouldn’t take five years to finance.

How did you approach a project like Seaview as a team?

Seaview started as a series of workshops before it was ever really a doc. We initially ran a variety of filmmaking, radio, music video workshops with the residents there. The interviews and filming didn’t start until after that.

All three of us collaborated as producers. Up at the camp in Mosney it was important to keep the team as small as possible, so it was mostly just Nicky and Paul living there over several years filming with the staff and residents. Dennis and Maya would come up regularly too.

And did Pyjama Girls differ from that?

Pyjama Girls production was very similar in a lot of ways. Again it involved searching for people who wanted to work with us on the film. We had initial chats with lots of different girls before we found the wonderful Tara and Lauren. This time it was Maya and Sinéad who spent most time with the girls, along with DOP Suzie Lavelle. Paul came on board as editor about half way through the shooting, and Nicky as producer was involved throughout. We are launching our new distribution division with this title and are employing a DIY approach.

Pyjama Girls has just had a great opening weekend at the Ifi with sold-out screenings. It will play there until Thursday so keep an eye on our website for further screenings.

You have since brought more people under the Still Films umbrella – how does that work?

From the start, probably because of our Darklight roots, we’ve been really interested in working with a wide variety of artists and filmmakers. The collaboration differs from person to person, and depends a lot on the type of project. Currently we’re developing projects from docs to animations to a Sci-fi feature to artist films, all with an amazing variety of filmmakers.

Do you think there is a collaborative benefit from a seemingly collective approach?

Absolutely. These days most filmmakers are producers and editors who know how to shoot and direct. It’s the way we make films these days, especially lower budget films or films that might be a bit less mainstream or work that is intended for exhibition in a gallery. So when it comes to working together, it’s obviously a huge advantage if we all have a wide and similar skill set.

Tell us about the talk that you’re doing in the IFI?

Yes on Tuesday Sarah Glennie from the IFI is chairing a discussion with us. We’ll be showing some short films, and discussing our history as a company, how we make our films, and where we’re going next. It’s free in; you just need to book a seat through the IFI.


Interview With Paul Rowley

Paul Rowley

This weekend sees the screening of Seaview and the premiere of The Rooms as part of the IFI’s Still Films season. Film Ireland talks to Paul Rowley, co-founder of Still Films, co-director of Seaview and The Rooms.

Tell me about your background and how you came to this point?

I started making experimental films on Super 8 and 16mm about fifteen years ago and got into working in video shortly after that. The films were showing both in film festivals and art galleries. Shortly after that I began to collaborate with American artist David Phillips on shorts and installation works. Nicky Gogan and I had been talking about making films together for years. Finally we did with Seaview in 2007 and set up Still Films then with Maya. These days I’m quite focused on long form films… docs, experimental, and drama. Nicky and I have just finished our first script, and David and I just completed 60 screen installation for LAX airport in LA… so I’m still enjoying working on a wide variety of projects.

Do you see your film and art projects as separate?

No not really. Each project begins with an idea. The concept drives the development and production of the work, so it’s usually quite clear from the start what type of film it’s going to be. Often times, especially with shorter pieces, the films end up simultaneously in a gallery installation and a film festival. I suppose the main differences really are the economic models and the audiences.

What was the background to The Rooms?

My friend Tim Blue and I had been invited to show a selection of films together in Berlin last year. As part of the programme we made a new short film together. It was really condensed and filled with ideas, so we discussed taking that short as a starting point for a feature length work. We were interested in ruins, the traces of human activity that linger in empty buildings. And we also talked a lot about rooms having a consciousness. We liked the idea that instead of us walking into rooms, that rooms actively form themselves around us as we walk. A kind of inversion of subjectivity somehow.

Can you explain what the audience can expect from the film?

It’s incredibly visual, shot on all kinds of film formats in about ten different countries. The locations range from Nazi holiday resorts to luxury hotels in Venice to an abandoned cold war spy station. And the soundtrack complements this visually driven approach, focusing on sound design and music with less emphasis on dialogue. The music was written by American composer Emily Manzo using everything from a prepared piano to bowed marimbas.

Do you prepare different mentally for when you’re approaching projects with more or less narrative?

Well there’s certainly a big difference between writing a script and the more investigative way my experimental films evolve. The Rooms being so modular was built block by block. There was a constant discussion between us while we were filming.

Could it be said that it’s perhaps a project where your art and film work meet?

It’s a film that really sums up a lot of my past work and a lot of Tim’s past work. Part doc, part experimental film, part art installation, part narrative. Quite an interesting hybrid really.

Seaview screens at the IFI on 21st August at 16.40

The Rooms screens at the IFI on 22nd August at 16.40 and will be followed by a Q&A with directors Paul Rowley and Tim Blue

Click here to book tickets.