Above is the trailer for my last film of the year, Salthouse Marshes. Continuing on from last year’s theme in a trend I hope to continue with on a yearly basis, the film is a short, landscape obsessed ghost story. With the BBC seeming reluctant to bother with a ghost story for Christmas any more, it feels necessary to in some way plug the gap even if the final product is only a fragment; small, independent shards of stories that could probably be much more detailed with a little support (in a reply to letter I sent to Mark Gatiss through his agency, he said that the BBC were uninterested in the form, even with him at the helm and in spite of the success of his great Tractate Middoth adaptation).
Yet I enjoy making these little artefacts of narrative shorts, perhaps because the freedom actually means that they can visually lapse into experimentation and not necessarily be tied in to simply telling a story. It feels personally more like the sort of form that the BFI basically created through their experimental film fund in the 1960s and 1970s: where these fragments were experiments and explorations into the medium with the potential expansion of ideas being palpable. Salthouse Marshes is based on a number of ideas that will be elaborated on in more detail once the film is released. For now though it’s worth noting that it is a continuation on the themes that I’ve been discussing with Robert Macfarlane (specifically in regards to the writer, Algernon Blackwood) and is based on a short ghost story that I penned myself late last year concerning a scarred war veteran in the 1950s who chooses the location for his required solitude unwisely.
The written short story will be put on here before Christmas but the actual film will be available to watch on Halloween when it goes online on Caught By The River. If, however, you wish to see it before then and are within travelling distance of Oxford, then you should definitely come to an event surrounding the themes of my recent film work called Spectral Landscapes on the 24th of October. The event is structured around both the recent Holloway film plus the first showing of this film and will feature a range of academic, poetic and musical responses to the themes of the English Eerie. I’ll also be doing a Q+A so do come along if you can for a spooky evening of wyrd Albion.
Information on Spectral Landscapes can be found here.