STOP PLAY RECORD: A Filmmaker's Experience

SPR filmmaker Matthew Burdis writes about how he decided to apply, the process of making his film and what he hopes to do next.

Matthew Burdis

19 Jan 2016

As we open applications for this year's STOP PLAY RECORD programme, Matthew Burdis, one of our 2015 filmmakers, writes about how he decided to apply, the process of making his film and what he hopes to do next.

I applied to SPR while in my final year of a Fine Art degree at Chelsea College of Art. Throughout my time at Chelsea I had worked with moving image but in the last year my work became more narratively structured.

"To have the opportunity to make a film that would be screened in a cinema was important."

One of the main attractions of SPR was being able to make a new film that would be screened at the ICA cinema; I am very interested in cinema as an art form so to have the opportunity to make a film that would be screened within the viewing conditions of a cinema was something I found important.

All my work prior to SPR had been self-funded, so to have access to a budget that I haven’t had previously allowed to me to be more technical in my approach to my proposed film.

One of the best aspects of the process was working closely with the director of photography, Eva Arnold. The film we made was very demanding in that the camera itself is essentially the protagonist and it involved sequences of the camera moving through a house as well as around a moving vehicle. Eva found a way to overcome the potential technical problems with these sequences.

"Working with the ICA has been a positive experience"

Working with the ICA has been a positive experience. Whenever I have needed to discuss either the ideas or the logistics of making the film, they have been very accommodating and have always made time for me. Having said that, they have also allowed me to work as independently as possible, which was very much appreciated. Before taking part in SPR I regularly went to the cinema at the ICA, so to have a broader access to the events and talks there, especially those in relation to filmmaking, has been very beneficial.

The film deals with my interest in memory and photographic images, as well as my interest in cinema, which has influenced me. It is driven by the rhythm of the camera movements, the edit and the particular use of sound. It contains no dialogue or actors, though there is sound for the first part of the film. It is shot in a house that features in the 1975 Michelangelo Antonioni film The Passenger, in which a scene takes place at this location that I associate with changing time frames and perspectives. I had certain themes I intended to work with in this film and this location seemed to be a perfect host for those ideas. 

"The film deals with my interest in memory and photographic images."

Since graduating, I have set up a film forum at Chelsea College of Art: it aims to create a space to view and discuss experiences of cinema, artists’ film and video. I set this up with Gill Addison, a tutor at Chelsea. It consists of regular screenings and events with current students and guest artists that are invited to attend.  

I am also featured in this year’s XL Catlin Art Guide 2016, which is launched in January at the London Art Fair 2016. In the summer I will be working collaboratively on a film in Spoleto, Italy.

STOP PLAY RECORD is a new opportunity for creative young people and film-makers aged 16-24 living in London. It's open to anyone interested in making experimental short films and being introduced to a range of professionals from different creative sectors who work with the moving image.

24 London-based participants are being selected through this annual open submission application to conceive and produce a new short film between 90 seconds and 3 minutes long, for potential inclusion in a new public broadcast series currently in development for Random Acts.