Northern Film & Media and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art have joined forces to enable two talented artists to develop narrative film projects after securing Arts Council funding.
Backed by Arts Council England with additional support from European Regional Development Fund, The Artist’s Cut is a national scheme designed to nurture bold new voices in narrative film. Inspired by the recent success of films by directors such as Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor-Wood and Gillian Wearing, the scheme has allowed the partners to commission two talented artist filmmakers – Ben Jeans Houghton from Newcastle and Sophie Mitchell from London – to produce a short narrative film with a budget of £5,000, aimed at developing longer form film propositions.
These exceptional young artists are in the process of undertaking an intensive mentoring programme covering storytelling, cinematography, directing, distribution and festival strategies in order to support them as they broaden their practice and work towards the completion of their films. Mentors include script editor Kate Leys (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Trainspotting and The Full Monty), and Samm Haillay of North East based indie Third Films. Participating artist Ben Jeans Houghton said: “The Artists cut is proving an invaluable opportunity to build on our own visual languages and methodologies by learning from industry professionals toward making short narrative drama from the perspective of an artist.”
The scheme will additionally provide a number of film workshops open to other artists and filmmakers covering directing, cinematography, story and distribution. The latest of these - Film Festivals and the Film Distribution Cycle, with Kate Taylor from the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) - has just been promoted (click here for more info).
The Artist’s Cut is the latest collaborative venture between NFM and BALTIC, who recently worked together to deliver a highly regarded slate of ten short films by North East artists and filmmakers for Channel 4’s Random Acts strand – bringing North East talent to national and international audiences.
Roxy Bramley, creative manager, Northern Film & Media, said: “The Artist’s Cut is providing a structured, industry-focused development opportunity for two artists to explore the narrative aspects of their work and how to realise them on screen. We’re really excited about enabling these two brilliant talents to develop this new aspect to their work and look forward to what they’re going to produce.”
Agnes Wilkie, Deputy Director, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, said “This feels like a very exciting and significant new stage in the unique partnership between BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art and NFM – to be working with talented young artists of the calibre of Sophie and Ben at the start of a journey which could see them one day dazzling Hollywood in the style of Steve McQueen is incredibly thrilling.”
The Artist’s Cut is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by the ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13. The ERDF programme is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.
Production still from Astrid's Masks by Sophie Michael
16mm film, 2014