Breakfast with Sit and Watch
Sit and watch raises the question of our need for being heard and seen, approved or confronted, and the strength we use to fulfill this need, how did you come to this reflexion and why did you want to work on it?
In the first instance the main theme behind our documentary emerged after shooting the majority of it. The process involved was very unconventional. We began with the basic idea of portraying modern London. We chose to do this primarily by following different protagonists or situations that interested us. A wealth of reasons guided this investigation but the prime motivating factor was an overriding sensation or feeling that London was instilling in us at that time. Confidence in the creative process led us to the understanding that concise thematic links between these elements would soon begin to emerge once combined. After 18 months of capturing material, patterns began to emerge and a loose structure started to arise. With the thematic core of the film “in the can” we set out to shoot the missing pieces with this new found concept in-mind. For us, it became evident that all of the scenes we’d filmed revolved around ideas of representation and spectacle. The character’s roles, although important for the films momentum became secondary to this central theme. The parallels between what we were filming and the new status-quo of London’s society seemed powerful and in-line with our original conversations. Further to this theme it’s also apparent that we as humans seek story before questioning the validity of image. This element became an extra facet to our approach and one which helped to place this film in a realm that questioned the authenticity of the documentary image.
Why were you interested in creating these very different and disconnected storylines to compose the film?
This is in-part answered in the previous question. However, the nature of London, it’s intrinsic affiliation with technology, the internet and it’s multitude of spectacles and the confusion this propagates allowed us to ‘channel hop’ from one station (or scene) to another. This device was also very useful in giving the appropriate pace to the film, which to us mirrors the fast-paced environment of London, or any other metropolis for that matter.
The stories are so different that some might entertain a certain part of us and others would enjoy the other part, how did you explore so distant ways to deliver the same message?
Like any film made up of different elements, every viewer will enjoy some segments more than others. For us however our key interest lay in exploring different ways to deliver the same message (that of spectacle and spectator). Or to word it differently: by working on the same theme through apparently very different situations we are hoping that the viewer can reflect on how much narration, story, representation and spectacle are part of our everyday lives.
How did you set the music, songs and sounds?
For the music we worked with composer Raffaele Martirani, who did a great job. We first cut the end sequence to a reference track that to us had the feeling we needed. The music is supposed to make you feel dizzy and disoriented; as if you were a piece of a puzzle that´s too big for for you to understand. We then sent the sequence to Raffaele and this direction and after a few rounds of feedback it was done. Then we played a little bit with the different elements (drums, drones, etc.) during the 5.1 mix with Lautaro Aichenbaum, the sound designer. As for the sound design, there´s nothing too crazy in the film as its mostly dialogue. The scenes we put more work into are the boxing ones, which have a fair amount of foley to bring up the violence of the training and the fight. And also the “street-scenes”, especially the sidewalk scene in which the passers-by appear to be choreographed. This is of course 100% foley to highlight the idea of “staging”.
How did you shoot the parts on the sidewalk, in the stairway and on the bus?
We just went there with a camera and shot them, as fast as possible before some authority figure shut us down. I think we set a new record while shooting in Canary Wharf, the new financial district. It took the private security 15 seconds to tell us to leave. That´s the current level of surveillance in London these days.
Sit and watch deals with a lot of hopes and disappointments, how much are you interested in Hope? Are you thinking of further films on this subject?
Francisco Forbes (FF): I personally am. More than ever I´m almost obsessed with the idea of how the truth is irrelevant and the way something is told is everything that matters. And the effect this idea has over documentary filmmaking. Regarding hope, I don´t know. Not sure it’s a matter of hope, it´s more a matter of trying to understand certain mechanisms of how human history moves forward and be able to cope with that. I think the future can be both very grim or very bright, and I change my mind about these possibilities almost every day. What I´m almost certain about is that we´ll be witnessing fundamental changes in our society at a pace that we never experienced before and that sounds exciting to say the least.
Matthew Barton (MB): Yes, I think more than ever it’s becoming difficult to disseminate fact from fiction.
Maybe this is leading to a populous that questions things more but it still remains that illusion is intrinsic to how we relate to the world. I think Sit and Watch deals with hope in a very cold manner which could possibly be construed as quite unsettling, maybe even fearful. I think this relates to the physical feeling we set out to encapsulate from the off. I didn’t however feel the need to propagate hope through this project, it was important however to highlight pitfalls in our perception. I am very interested in following the films themes further. This rabbit hole of truth is seemingly endless.
What were the films that have inspired you the most this past year?
FF: Not many films in there, but this is the stuff I saw that I enjoyed the most: Operation Avalanche, by Matt Johnson. This house has people in it, Unedited Footage of a Bear, alantutorial by Alan Resnick. American Crime Story: OJ Simpson, I think deals with similar subjects to our film. And I discovered Trailer Park Boys, had a good laugh watching that.
MB: I watched a lot of Adam Curtis, Bitter Lake was especially impressive. Talk to me Marlon was great, really liked The Himalayan Boy and The TV Set too.
If you’ve already been to the Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival. If not, what are your expectations for this edition?
Never been before. Hope to watch great films and sell ours.
Are other releases scheduled?
We are playing a few more festivals in France, Greece and the UK and hopefully more to come. We are also working towards a theatrical release as a double bill with a film called The Dazzling Light of Sunset, by Salomé Jashi which we believe talks about the same issues but in a completely different environment, a small Georgian town. After that, we aim to show it online as VOD.