Short Film – Weather Words (Colin Riley feat. Robert Macfarlane)

Having already written about the Weather Words film for Caught By The River (link here), I won’t add much more about the project. For more specific details, read that piece. It’s the first and probably only film project of mine in 2018, partly due to funding problems and partly due to other big projects taking time (finishing my PhD, editing first novel, drafting second, selling both etc.). Film at any level requires support in a way that writing doesn’t so it’s unsurprising that film projects have been thin on the ground or slowly trundling on through planning stages. Writing projects, on the other hand, have come thick and fast. I’m, therefore, incredibly grateful to Colin Riley for allowing for some the funding and the freedom to respond to his intriguing and daring piece of music.


Super-8 has its own draws and flaws, Weather Words as a project yet again providing experiences of both. Whilst the combination of super-8 grain and Avebury’s landscapes is a tried and tested combination for eerie success (see Derek Jarman’s 1971 short, Journey To Avebury), the edit was an incredibly difficult challenge, not least because the leg of a dead spider is present on all of the imagery (I won’t point out exactly where it is just in case it has escaped the viewer’s eye). It’s occurring to me more and more that the jump to 16mm is required if my projects are to continue and not get stuck in a cul-de-sac. I’ve already shot my next short, another collaboration with Robert Macfarlane that I’ll probably start talking about soon, though I imagine it’ll be one of my last on super-8 for the time being unless absolutely essential.


Weather Words was still a fun and rewarding project, not least because I got to work with Rosalind Jana; someone who shares my general excitement at a large array of things, from Kate Bush to Derek Jarman, from Angela Carter to Alan Garner. Freaking the Wiltshire locals out with her rituals and manic possession by the stones was a pleasure. Our day ended with scones and nattering in the National Trust café. Unbeknownst to the pensioners around us, we had basically occulted their site like a pair of dandyish pagans.


Overall, Weather Words is an abstract film, more about mood than any specific narrative or logic. It’s the first project I’ve had sufficient funds for (well £500) so a pleasant opportunity to experiment with whilst plans fester away for next year. Here’s hoping.


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