We are the Broughton High School Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse Group, from Edinburgh, Scotland.
We are led by Jamie Chambers, a filmmaker from Edinburgh, and Mr Martin Cairns, who is the Broughton HS Media Studies teacher, and who led the Broughton Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse program from 2012 – 2013.
Our classes take place on Friday afternoons, in the media studies classroom on the 2nd floor of Broughton High School – and as a result they are OPT-IN only! We are all here because we WANT to be!
We are aged between 16 – 18 and already a pretty advanced bunch when it comes to filmmaking; a lot of us were involved on the Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse program last year, (and some of us – Anna, Samantha, Danny Cara, Chris, Claudia and Adam), went to Paris to screen our film The Box). Many of us have already made several films, and are part of other Scottish filmmaking groups like Screen Edinburgh and SKAMM (Scottish Kids Are Making Movies).
We are all very ambitious, and rightly so – a lot of us would like to go to film school, and become directors, editors and camera people.
We are all delighted to be part of the Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse project, and we will look forward to sharing our work with you in due course!
Our first session : Introducing the Long Take
We started off a first session, which was back in November, with a general introduction to the idea of the Long Take.
In picking examples to share with the group, I (Jamie) had two particular selection criteria;
• the first was to weight things towards examples that felt achievable for young filmmakers without a budget. We began with the opening of Touch of Evil, one of the greatest feats of cinema, but then problematised its relevance for us – for after all, we will never be able to afford the type of grip equipment, complex lighting, and controlled production design that enabled Welles to perform such cinematic acrobatics.
I told the class that there was a certain stigma of ‘showing off’ that has becoming attached to long take, what with successive MALE directors (starting possibly with Welles and the feats in Touch of Evil and Magnificent Ambersons, and then Altman riffing off Welles, and then Paul Thomas Anderson riffing off Altman, and Joe Wright trying his luck) trying to outdo each other in a very expensive game of one-upmanship!
Instead, I tried to show examples from filmmakers like Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who (like Welles, Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson), has a rich sense of the cinematic, but achieves it through highly economic means! For further reading on the discussion we had about achievability, go here; http://understandingcinema.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/achievability-in-the-long-take/
• My second aim was to pick examples from the work of directors whom I believe are the most important filmmakers of TODAY. I felt it was important to give a sense of how the long take was being used – round the world – by the most relevant, exciting directors working in the present moment. As a result, we watched (and continue to watch) examples from Paul Thomas Anderson, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Alfonso Cuaron, Terence Davies, Matteo Garone, Steve McQueen, Christian Mingiu, Bela Tarr and Joss Whedon.
Whilst I think it is very valuable to have a canonic understanding of the long take, I think it is also profoundly important to engage with how particular cinematic grammar and syntax is being used TODAY, around the world. The long take is, in many ways, an alien style of filmmaking for those of us used to mainstream cinema. And thus, I felt it was important to show that the notion of the long take was something that was far from antiquated, far from being a museum piece. It is an intensely vital style of filmmaking employed by many of the best directors working today.