Music Production – offbeat.co.uk
The musical activities of music producer Iain McKinna

The Story Of Film – An Odyssey. Finally completed!!

Over the past few months I’ve been working with Mark Cousins, recording his commentary at the Offbeat studio for his epic documentary. The film is based on Mark’s book of the same name and it’s taken him and producer John Archer from Hopscotch Films 6 years to make this series.  It’s due to be screened on More 4 starting from Saturday night at 9.15 and will run for the next 15 weeks. The whole 15 hours is premiering at The Toronto Film Festival next week and is then going around the world to various film festivals and cinemas.

Mark Cousins & Iain McKinna I attended a special screening at The Filmhouse for friends and colleagues on Sunday morning and it was the first time I had seen any visuals having just been in involved in the audio so far. It was amazing to finally experience the movie and I’m now really looking forward to watching the whole series.

For more information and wacky comments visit Jen Offbeat’s blog

The following info is by journalist Thom Powers.

Filmmaker and historian Mark Cousins adapts his book of the same title into a 15-hour exploration of cinema’s artistry with a global perspective from the silent era to the digital age.

The Story of Film is a feast for cinema lovers. Mark Cousins adapts his celebrated book of the same title into this audacious fifteen-hour project, screening over multiple days at the Festival. He traces the entire history of film, concentrating on artistic vision (rather than business or celebrities) from the silent era to the digital age. Unlike historians who place an emphasis on Western cinema, Cousins takes a more global approach. He showcases iconic film clips from Asia, Africa, India, the Middle East and South America — woven into the more familiar legacy of Europe and North America. His treatment succeeds at being both erudite and accessible.

Often this kind of ambitious project requires the backing of an institution, which can result in a bland sensibility. But Cousins’ approach is more individualistic. Based in Scotland, he earned his expertise from an eclectic background of festival programming, filmmaking and teaching. For his popular BBC program and eponymous book Scene by Scene, he interviewed the likes of Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski and Bernardo Bertolucci. Now he marshals that wealth of knowledge to narrate TheStory of Film in his endearing brogue. He supplements his commentary by interviewing cinematic history makers such as Wim Wenders, Claire Denis and Alexander Sokurov. The conversations are shot with the idiosyncratic style of a one-person crew in locales around the world.

By taking a DIY approach, Cousins preserves an editorial independence that normally gets lost with a bigger budget and committee decision-making. His achievement represents a breakthrough for the multi-part documentary. After experiencing this history from such a distinctive viewpoint, you may crave similar treatments for music, literature, politics or whatever compels you. Of course, Cousins has the advantage of drawing upon image makers who take our breath away: Buster Keaton, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Fritz Lang, Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Youssef Chahine, Agnes Varda, Nicholas Roeg, Ousmane Sembene, Abbas Kiarostami — to name only a sampling. In The Story of Film, you’ll drink their visions and walk away thirsty for more.
Thom Powers
DIRECTOR’S BIO

Mark Cousins is a Northern Irish writer, film critic and director. His short documentary films are The Psychology of Neo-Nazism: Another Journey by Train to Auschwitz (co-director, 93), I Know Where I’m Going! Revisited (94), Cinema Iran (05) and First Impressions (08). His feature documentaries are The New Ten Commandments (co-director, 08), The First Movie (09) and The Story of Film (11).

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