For the past year or so, I have been turning my skills, voluntarily, to working as Art Director on the debut feature film of Mark Ashmore. Mark recently took over The Black Lion in Salford with the aim of transforming the venue from a decaying watering hole, to a vibrant cultural nucleus for both Salford and Manchester. I worked with Mark on a short film of his a couple of years ago. His long term goals, like mine, are not financially driven, but to help change the world around us for the better, be it small or on a global scale.
The Lost Generation is an ambitious leap and thanks to people who share the belief of Mark and I that we can make a difference with the right blend of collaboration, a little money and positive thinking, we have been able to arrive somewhere near completion. The film references everything we see around us in society- recession, betrayal from those in power, celebrity culture and counter culture. The movie and its surrounding project is a vehicle for anyone to get involved with and carry a positive message forward. Unfortunately, we have run out of money at a crucial stage and so we have started a crowd-funding campaign in which we ask for a small contribution if we can convince you why it is important that the film makes it to the finishing line. Below is an exclusive interview with director and producer, Mark Ashmore of Future Artists, that will be appearing in my forthcoming book, 'On The Edge, A Freelancer In The Recession.' Hopefully this will give you a little insight into our mission.
1. Tell me a little about The Lost Generation and The Unknown
The idea behind project ‘Lost Generation’ was to be able to capture a story as a document for our generation as it happened and then remix this in such a way that we could present it back to them in a way that was easily digestible and kind of speaks their language. Documentaries can be a bit dry, you know the kind of thing, talking heads, cut to some footage of kids smashing in a bank and then more talking heads… I wanted to present this work using as many art-forms as possible so we can start to explore the emotional dialogue of this generation as well as the actions we see around us.
We used the title ‘The Lost Generation’ as it would help to start a recognizable conversation in the media sphere, and the unknown represent all those without a voice; lost, unknown and out of touch.
Film Poster by Andy Thomson/BenTallon
2. Can you trace the origin of The Lost Generation or is it something that has been brewing in the back of your mind for some time?
I’m part of the lost generation, so all that you see in the film has been brewing for a while, this is the 3rd film in an exploration of my social surroundings and I guess a state of mind, or at the very least, an artistic state of mind. The first film ‘Your State Of Emergency’ dealt with terrorism coming to our doorsteps and explored the ‘double talk’ going off in the media between government and the public, the 2nd film ‘Broken Britain’ dealt with the soldiers returning from a war-zone and how they were treated on Civvie Street, and this film, my first feature film, will look at how we now present ourselves to the world and how the world via the media labels and keeps us locked in…. man, I think I’ve got some anger issues!
3. As I write these questions, it’s kicking off again in London, following on from the summer riots. Today we see the largest public sector strikes in over 30 years and the people are angry. It’s the second time in this book that I have witnessed serious unrest with the riots earlier in the year. How does The Lost Generation reflect the helplessness and anger people are feeling?
I don’t think the film will reflect helplessness. I want to find some positivity, I’m going to create an ending that will have the audience cheering in the aisles of the cinema. There are going to be a few surprises in this film, one minute your going, “dude, is this for real? Does this happen? And then I want to take the audience out of this thought process and go, I’m watching a film, nothing is real. Yeah there are a lot of riots happening at the moment, the kids are taking the streets, it’s an expression, right or wrong, its just an expression. What we should be doing is asking ourselves, all across society, who are we angry at and why? And maybe look at our own lives a wee bit.
Cast/Crew Photographs by Danny Allison
4. I am regularly left trailing by your innovation in utilizing many platforms to create your work. People would be foolish to think that The Lost Generation is a just a feature film. How big of a role do you see technology playing in people fighting back against those who have wronged them?
I’m using a new form of story telling that has been labeled transmedia to communicate across various art forms, both digital and analogue. The story of the Lost Generation - everything from the poster, to interviews, to tweets to the feature film itself all contain story, to be enjoyed at different levels, which if all experienced, will give you a complete understanding to what I - the story teller, was trying to express; the true story I want to tell - and as I’m still working this out, using a new expressionist art form like transmedia allows me to work it out and tell it as I go along. At the end you will have this trail you can explore for as long as you like and that will be the story. Regarding the fightback against the 1% that’s easy - stop buying from the big retailers and start supporting independents, this way capitalism will support indy voices, it’s all in the mind dude.
5. I personally find these times simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. The blanket of apathy begins to slip off our country in the wake of financial atrocities. How can our industry respond to the undermining cuts through the projects you spearhead?
I think artists just need to be truthful - we had this kind of golden age of artists in the early to mid 1990’s and early 21st century, around 2000 / 2001 where the Myspace generation kind of jumped up, you know like the Kevin Smith, Arctic Monkeys and all that, but then the major studios and labels picked them all up, and you can see it with Kevin Smiths work, its been diluted and sanitised, and right now, everyone wants to be a reality TV star. There is a generation who want everything for nothing, and that’s exactly why we are in this mess, but they are products of the media. For so long, artists were seen as products, Damien Hirst is case and point with this, and Banksy uses this as an ironic standpoint for his art work. The most frightening thing as an artist is to tell the truth, you just hope you make a connection and someone is there to listen, and even better if they dig what you have to say.
To help us complete this relevant project, head to our Indiegogo crowd funding page: http://www.indiegogo.com/thelostgeneration
For the official website for The Lost Generation head over to: http://www.projectlostgeneration.co.uk/