Andy Joule - Four and five

7:07, 2013, Experimental
’four and five’ was filmed in the cities of Shanghai, Wuhan, Changsha and Guangzhou. Each city has its own flavour and distinct identity, but also vibrant relics from the past. Behind the steel and glass of the modern China, can easily be found the temples and pagodas, the fields and fishing nets so synonymous with the country. The two live cheek by jowl. The film captures this essence, the heady aroma of incense contrasting with the fumes and noise of the traffic, trains and aircraft all the time reflecting back to the contemplative nature of water, prayer and meditation.
DirectorAndy JouleProducerAndy JouleCameraAndy JouleEditorAndy Joule

CountryUnited KingdomSubtitlesNoneEdition2013 Screenings12th Cornwall Film Festival, UK. November 2013. Shortlisted.
Paradise Found FIlm Festival, UK. December 2013
AwardsNone to date

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Who is Andy Joule?
I am an independent film-maker and animator based in the UK. My background was originally in stopmotion animation for film and broadcast but I have always had a passion for non-dialogue, more experimental film-making inspired by people like Stan Brakhage, Len Lye or Godfrey Reggio.

What is four and five about?
’four and five’ was filmed in China and is a kind of abstract documentary. I noticed a distinct distance between the two sides of the country, from the 21st Century China to that which seemed little changed from centuries back. So in the film I wanted to try and capture some of the frenetic energy of the modern country and contrast it to some of the more languid scenes of a time past. For me also colour was important as that was my first impression beyond the noise and bustle, there was just so much colour, and I wanted that to be a major feature of each scene,

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
I started with film as a kid with a cine camera just making little things that I later realised were animations. I have always loved capturing something on film, still or moving, and followed this into studying animation at art school. It has been my career since then.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts you use and what is important to you?
It all depends on the project I guess. Both ’four and five’ and a previous film ’178.98’ were made with no planning or fixed agenda. I wanted to be taken in by the place I was in, China (four and five) and Russia (178.98). The structure for both kind of came afterwards by finding a point of contrast and building a circular narrative around that. Other work has been inspired by the writing of Dante, and I have just finished a music film project whereby I let the music and words form the structure. Above all though texture and playing with concepts of time are the things I like to return to.

How long do you usually work on one project?
Anything from four months (178.98) to eighteen months (ellipsis) and anything inbetween. I challenged myself to make a film in one week but the results were utterly disappointing so it now resides in my recycle bin on the desktop.

Do you carefully plan the production process or do you work more intuitive?
I like to find interesting locations to shoot, so in that sense there is a lot of planning that goes in to that stage of the production, but I never work with a storyboard or script. Working with Bill’s music for ’Me Fish Bring’ is the first time I have had to work with a rigid structure beforehand. ’four and five’ was more intuitive.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
This is a simple one. ’four’ comes from the fact that I filmed all the sequences in four major cities in China, and the ’five’ from the title of the score by Simon Ho. There seemed a simple logic to me to just push the two together, and so ’four and five’ it was.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
I’m not sure, and every time I try and fix on that I can’t seem to work it out. Sometimes an idea will just land and so I go and film it, and then play around with it in post, othertimes I pile through research material, images and so on that seem to me to somehow relate to what I have in mind. But at the end of it all, it just emerges, and I try to steer it as best I can.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
It’s key. It’s 50% of any film experience. I like to work with more avant-garde music generally as it gives me unbelievable freedom to generate images that seem to fit with what I see in my minds-eye. But working lately with Bill (William D Drake) has given me a different focus as his music is different again and has given my work a new direction.

How does content relate to the form of your work?
Content is everything. My films are non-narrative, and so the sound and visual content has to work, and create an emotional response. I would hate to be thought of as making moving wallpaper.

What possibilities of the web are yet to be explored?
If I knew the answer to that I would keep it secret and exploit the intellectual rights.

Did the web changed your view on art, or your career?
It’s opened up access to non maintstream work hugely. Festivals like this mean that you dont have to all gather in one place at one time, at someone else’s discretion and watch a film. You can do it at home when you like. It has helped to democratize art in that sense.

Where would you place your work; cinema or art. And what is the difference between those according to you?
I would like to think of it as both. I would hate to think that the mainstream has the monopoly on what we think of as cinema. Its not all Hollywood. I dont see there as being a distinct boundary between either art or cinema, or any other medium. Nothing ever fits into a simple box, everything is what it is.

How influential is the reaction to your film by the audience?
I dont really mind if people love or hate my work. I would rather a strong negative reaction than total ambivilance. That said I wont be happy reading bad reviews of ’four and five’, I only want to read good ones.

What is your next project about?
At this stage I am preparing for another project with Bill, but I also have some ideas about stairs that I want to explore


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