A short film by EIT ideaschool lecturer Nigel Roberts has screened in an international experimental film and video festival in Spain.
Programme coordinator for the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design, Nigel is “very happy” to have had his film selected for the Bideodromo 2015 festival, which featured experimental films, including documentary, narrative, animation, video art and other genres, screening at three venues in Bilbao.
The four-minute work, entitled T.O.T. for Tip of the Tongue, includes sound effects but no storyline or dialogue.
“The viewer might ask, where have the words gone?” says Nigel, who believes the role of the experimental filmmaker is to cross boundaries, challenging notions of what video is and isn’t and what it could be.
“I like the ambiguity of what I do. I’m not interested in a clear, easily comprehensible narrative; I like to step outside normal expectations and, in playing with the edge of reason or explanation, to leave my audience slightly bamboozled.”
Nigel has always found film a fascinating medium. He was in his mid-teens when he made his first film with a friend, using a camera given to her by her grandfather.
“We were inspired by early American efforts, such as those featuring Charlie Chaplin, to make a stop motion film. Our setting was the Taradale shopping centre.”
Later, living in a tower block in East London, Nigel was “a jack of all trades” on film sets, helping young experimental artists who were seriously into film. Back in New Zealand he became involved with music events, played around with slide projectors and early digital film mixing and worked on visuals for bands and dance parties.
These days, he says, lap tops and digital cameras have made it easier to pursue video as an art form and for artists to put their visual thoughts into the ether.
Unlike mainstream cinema, experimental films attract their own artistic fringe. Nonetheless, there are hundreds of thousands “doing it out there”.
Nigel considers it important for art teachers to demonstrate that they are working on their own art practices.
The learning for ideaschool’s screen production students is industry-focused, he points out, while visual arts and design students create their films from an artistic point of view.
“That doesn’t necessarily rely on any convention. It’s about taking the tools you have and exploring what you can do with them. There are no rules.”
T.O.T. is the first in what Nigel intends to be a triptych of related experimental films. The other two films in the series, while still to be made, have been titled Deja Vu and Premonition.