Cinefilm Footage of the 2003 anti-war protests

I have just uploaded some digitised super 8mm cinefilm footage I took in 2003, of the anti-war demonstrations in London.

I sent the original reels to the producers of the We Are Many documentary. They have crowd-sourced footage of the biggest mobilisation of people in history. Sadly, my footage did not make it into the final cut (too much panning, maybe!?) but they provided me with the digitised footage anyway. I am making it available online under a Creative Commons Licence.
Watching the footage a decade after I took it, I am amused by how the vintage cinefilm adds an extra sheen of history to the images. Its also serendipitous that I received this footage back just as Instagram launched its video service. The quick cuts and grainy film in my clips are mirrored in the new content being produced today by social media enthusiasts. I was using Instagram Video before it was cool!
I am also reminded of these wonderful lines from Karo Kilfeather in her essay ‘The Art of Narcissism‘:

The impulse to create art is as powerful as any other thing that drives us because art connects us to experiences and to one another. Good is besides the point when the need behind it is to create something honest and true to the way we see the world. It’s not about realism. The vintage-tinted Instagram filters are derided for adding a nostalgic cast to the mundane, but what they do is allow users to share their world in the same emotional shades they see. The photo becomes not just a document of a moment, but a story told from a point of view.

This speaks to why I chose to document the protest with Super 8mm cine-film in the first place. The political mobilisation of early 2003 felt historic, and I wanted to convey that in my personal record of the day.


The Vimeo Awards and Festival are coming up. I’m in London and the awards are in New York, so my participation is limited to watching some of the shortlisted films on Vimeo.
I think the above ‘Moments‘ video will begin a trend in both amateur and professional production. There is always something so unsatisfactory about the way a conventional video renders, especially camera phone videos. While the scene you are beholding is panoramic, the resulting shot is boxed and restrictive. Even panning doesn’t quite capture the expanse of the view provided by the human eye. Few of us have access to IMAX projection screens.
These Hockney like clips by Ian Gamester manage to capture a little bit more detail and are a little bit more like panoramas. I know that split screen effects have been around for generations, but these renderings feel very new (part of The New Aesthetic, even?) I think this is perhaps because the constituent shots are all filmed portrait (probably off an iPhone), which is unusual for video.
Most of my public filming these days is for literary events or family gatherings. I think this technique may just work for those kinds of documentation. I hope the guys at Fifty Nine Productions, who use multiple projection surfaces in much of their work, watch this too.