Films : Flight : background material


initial artist statement

Dryden Goodwin Flight – Treatment for animate! 2004

The subject /idea – what it is and what it is about

Flight is a fugitive escape path moving from the claustrophobic city out through the motorway networks, through forests, to the edge of the land with the sea, across the water and into the sky, propelled away from overcrowded urban vistas towards isolation in wide open space. Through five interlinked episodes, moving through these different environments, there is no visible central protagonist, the viewer experiences a subjective physical exit journey and its multiple possible psychological readings. Is Flight a film about the hope of liberation or the fear of pursuit? Or is it an unresolved, restless dilemma, the inability to settle and relate to a place, mirroring the ever-changing relationship of the individual to their surroundings?

The material that underpins Flight will be live action. I am interested that any manipulation or intervention into the live action material could be considered as a form of animation. Flight will encompass a range of techniques. My primary concern is to make the role animation plays, an active one in constructing the meaning of the work. It is the different tension created within the repertoire of marks and interventions (such as overlaying, tracing, stop frame and multiple frame merging) that offer the viewer different gestures, suggesting an evolving relationship between the unseen protagonist and his surroundings. Posing the question of why a certain moment is slowed down or a certain scene is traced or obliterated by the animation?

Structure/form the sequence of events, the shape, rhythm, pace, feel

Each of the five episodes will run for approximately 70secs, engaging with the landscapes traversed during the escape. They will be contrasting in rhythm and pace moving from stillness and serenity, cut through with frenetic jostling, with bursts of full overwhelming acceleration suddenly tempered by moments of seemingly suspended time. The linear ‘narrative’ of forward motion in Flight will create a continuous through line for the viewer. However, as well as accentuating the forward momentum of the journey the animation and digital manipulations will also disrupt the linear time. There will be momentary interventions that solidify and attempt to make tactile the transitory landscape and fleeting moods – as if the viewer is being invited to commit to memory selected instances, scenes and details on this journey. (For a more detailed sequence of events please see storyboard)

Visuals – look, style, treatments
Flight will be based around live action footage taken with digital video or sequences of still photography taken with a high-resolution digital stills camera. Flight will contain sequences rich in natural saturated colours, interspersed with the monochrome drawn elements. There will be a fusion of multiple techniques and interventions employed which will create a look and style that is fragmentary and fractured in its appearance interspersed with periods of continuity. I am interested in surprising the audience with images that are very physical and experiential.

Sound – music, dialogue, voice over, effects, atmosphere

The soundtrack will be made up of manipulated, multi-layered, collaged wild sounds from the environments of the episodes fused with elements of musical orchestration and peppered at times with fragments of voices and other found/natural sounds. The sound will be used to both accentuate and counterpoint the pacing of the images and to shape the emotional narrative of the film with moments of near silence set against dramatic swells.

Technique(s) – how the work will be realised and communicate with its audience

There are three ways in which animation will work in Flight and how it will interact with the live action footage.

1) Where the time, spatial and movement qualities will be effected at the moment of its shooting – in camera – both video and stills camera material – various stop frame techniques.

2) Drawing interventions overlaid onto the live action footage be it digital drawing (WACOM tablet), pencil on paper.

3) Thirdly Intervention in the spaces I am filming in them selves i.e. marks in the bark of trees, collecting scratches in windows.

4) Post production digital video frame merging techniques.

The ambiguity of the gesture of the animation in Flight (tender, gentle, rough, agitated, sympathetic, aggressive) will continually activate the viewers’ readings of the film. It is the contrast between the movement and moments of stillness in the film that will create suspense and surprise for a viewer. The imagery and atmospheres of these real spaces are made strange and uncanny through the manipulation of the material. The style will keep the audience guessing, not allowing them to feel settled in the visual world I am creating; the styling will be an unpredictable collage.

30 April 2004

production material

reference images

Pre-production concept still
Pre-production concept still
Pre-production concept still
Pre-production concept still

first public screening

Channel 4 Television
6 December 2005