Artists' Television Access

Civic Life

by the Desperate Optimists

Friday, May 2, 2008, 8:00 pm, $6

Civic Life

Since 2003 Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy (desperate optimists) have been working on a unique community film project. Civic Life is a series of seven short films each shot in a day on 35mm and making daring use of the long-take. Working with 35mm equipment, complex film rigs and locations, not to mention hundreds of extras and a propensity for working with both children and animals, they have generated a body of work that is both theatrical and deeply cinematic, experimental and highly accessible.

Who Killed Brown Owl, UK | 2004 | 9:23

A sunny day by the riverbank – the perfect English arcadia gives way to varying kinds of misfortune, disruption and violence. Filmed over the course of one afternoon, Who Killed Brown Owl features a volunteer cast of almost 100 residents of the London Borough of Enfield.

Who Killed Brown Owl won the Best British Short Film award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2004.

Moore Street, Ireland IRL | 2004 | 5:45

A woman walks through a deserted Dublin market street at night. A quietly powerful meditation on what it means to belong to a new city and a new country.

Moore Street was Part of Ireland’s entry into the 26th Sào Paulo Bienal.

Revolution, UK | 2005 | 10:16

A technically astonishing circular shot depicts how a community fete descends into chaos and mayhem, and there’s a gorilla in the library. Revolution involved 91 people from Lambeth in the shooting and was filmed on location at the YMCA on Stockwell Road during a sunny afternoon in September 2004.

Twilight, UK | 2005 | 5:22

On a boat on the Tyne during the time that cinematographers call ‘The Magic Hour’, a group of friends listen to a revelation. Twilight is an intimate exploration of the ebb and flow of life involving 5 residents from Tyneside. The film was shot on the 18 May 2005.

Town Hall, UK | 2005 | 10:35

It’s open day at the town hall, and we go on a dazzling visual journey through its mazelike corridors and rooms in a celebration of community expression. Town Hall was filmed on the 29th May 2005 in the stunning surrounds of the West Bromwich Town Hall with the involvement of over 200 local residents.

Now we are grown up, UK | 2005 | 11:40

Commissioned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cornerhouse Arts Centre in Manchester, Now we are grown up was filmed in the Grand Hall of Manchester Town Hall in October 2005 with a cast of 14 performers all 20 years of age. Carefully positioned in a circle the young people participate in a strangely unorthodox therapy session confiding their fears and hopes in the face of their futures.

Leisure Centre, IRL/UK | 2006 | 17:42

A young man returns to his workplace after a life-changing event. Walking from one end of the leisure centre to the other becomes a compelling emotional journey with a stunnin finale.

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