Listening Session: Territory (Special Presentation)
|When:||Saturday, 7 July 2012|
|Where:||The Film Archive, Wellington|
|Running time:||75 minutes|
The Russian Frost Farmers present Listening Session: Territory, a special screening of the original footage of the unfinished Aspiring film from 1949, accompanied by a live soundtrack by sound artist Thomas Voyce
Four great Kiwis travelled the rough roads round Lake Wanaka and into the fabled Matukituki Valley to make a highly creative film about a climb of Mt. Aspiring.
The team was headed by celebrated cameraman Brian Brake (then only 22), and included a young James K Baxter (23) as a scriptwriter. Other team-members were composer Douglas Lilburn (34) and painter John Drawbridge (19). All rose to the very top of their fields, but in 1949 these men were idealists attempting to make a new kind of film - not a standard news reel but a lyrical tribute to NZ mountains - a 'cinematic poem'.
During the trip Baxter wrote script notes that turned into his famous Poem In The Matukituki Valley. Poet and art curator Gregory O'Brien, a long time friend of John Drawbridge, first heard about the trip and the lost footage while interviewing Drawbridge. He describes the journey as 'a point of artistic origin' for him.
The film makers were helped on the mountain by famous alpinists George Lowe, Ed Cotter and Harry Stevenson. Typically the weather caused havoc with their plans. Unable to reach the summit after six weeks filming Brake took the team home. Not long after that, his lead actor was killed in plane crash and Brake himself became disillusioned with the National Film Unit and left the country. The unfinished masterpiece was never archived, and has been missing for more than half a century.
The footage finally saw the light of day in the 2006 documentary Aspiring which will screen also.
This event is an opportunity to see the original unedited silent colour footage on a large screen with an evocative and original live score.
Aspiring, 2006, 44 minutes
Director: Yvonne MacKay
Producer: Gary Scott
Narrator: John Bach
Idea/Writer: Gregory O'Brien
A performance / screening curated by FieldWork conducting a live experimental soundtrack to Brian Brake's never-completed alpine film Aspiring (1949). In 2004 this truncated edit of Brake's abandoned feature surfaced from a Dunedin basement, cut for the purposes of a 'visual eulogy' to one of the deceased actors of the original cinematic alpine expedition. Without it's intended score by composer Douglas Lilburn, Aspiring has existed as a silent film only. This screening pairs original footage with a live experimental score by field-recordist and composer Thomas Voyce.
To be followed by a discussion 'Cultural archeology through the re-working of artifact' and the screening of the 2006 Documentary Aspiring, detailing events surrounding the 1949 expedition.
This event runs in parallel with Auckland artist Robin Kydd's solo exhibition The State of Things at The Russian Frost Farmers Gallery, July 5 -12
This event is made possible by Wellington City Creative Communities.