Introducing the self-deprecating, passionate lo-fi film-maker and member of the Jarman Award 2010 shortlist; Spartacus Chetwynd, who not only has an equally commanding and intriguing first name, but can also envision potential victory celebrations which include rubbing herself and a troupe of mimes with five pound notes. Famed for manipulating iconic cultural moments in history (like for example a bizarrely amateurish re-production of Michael Jackson’s Thriller), we spoke to Spartacus to find out what winning the coveted award meant to her and how she is inspired to create the magic she does.
PlanetNotion: How do you consider yourself continuing the legacy of Derek Jarman, if at all?
Spartacus Chetwynd: When I was at art college I remember really liking Derek Jarman because he designed the Ken Russell film The Devils and he won the Alternative Miss World, he had a garden that was famous and he painted as well as made films. I remember noticing him as an artist who was not just fitting into what the contemporary artist is meant to be, and I am happy to be in anyway linked to him primarily because I respect him as an artist who lived experimentally and interestingly.
PN: How do you choose which ‘iconic cultural moments’ to play with?
SC: Blind visionary flashes.
PN: How do you think you, yourself would respond to say, your film ‘Call of the Wind’ if you stumbled into it in the cinema by chance?
SC: I think I would love the sound track, and I would get all excited by the edit swinging from urban to rural, and pacing up to a Ring-a-Ring-Rosie, while actually being a creepy boring documentary…I think I’d like it.
PN: What influences you to create film; literature, other film, theory, if any?
SC: Yes it’s other film, I like Passolini films – the cinema verite experiment, where you try to film a real scene and push some friends in front of the camera to say some lines of an ongoing narrative you are trying to communicate. Or Marx Brother Films where they maintain irreverence within the Movie industry! I like Mainstream movies or World Cinema…film club…not Art House films, I don’t think they are that good, I don’t mind if people don’t watch anything I produce. I think I produce documentation of live events. I think it would be more rewarding to watch a Kurosawa film like ‘Stray Dog’ or Herzog’s ‘Little Dieter Needs to Fly’ for example… or Fellini’s ’8 and 1/2′ …amazing!
PN: What does the prize mean to you, and how would you spend the prize money?
SC: The prize should go to a real film maker, I think? so I feel a bit odd about being nominated, I would obviously have no trouble spending the money …I have a mime troupe of hungry artists all miming they are hungry, I can share it with them and we can rub it all over ourselves in £5 notes…
PN: How did the editing process affect the outcome of ‘Call of the Wind’?
SC: I worked with film-maker artist Zoe Brown and the editing was as free as the filming, I think Zoe Brown is very good with 16mm camera handling and editing…I’m just stood next to her standing my ground about my decisions..and hers! She is brilliant but needs to be told, maybe by God, before she believes it. It would be handy if the heavens could open and a big hand could tap her on the shoulder and tell her to keep making film.
- Interview compiled by Maria Long and Terry Thompson
The winner of the Jarman Award 2010 will be announced on October 5th (today) at the Whitechapel Gallery.