By features editor Mat Gallagher
Earlier this year we reported on England Your England, the beautifully shot and emotionally charged series from filmmaker Matt Hopkins. As Matt explains, his latest addition to the series continues the theme of alternative living in London.
‘This film follows a London squatter as he discusses the link between the privatisation of space and the lack of affordable housing in the UK, and acts as a natural progression from ‘Richard’ as we explore alternative living solutions in more depth.
‘I first heard about Pete through Jack Chute – a colleague I work with – who made an animated video of Pete reading one of his many poems. I heard from Jack that Pete squatted in London so I thought he’d be a good character for the series, because of his story but also as he is so eloquent in his delivery of ideas.
‘We filmed Pete over three dates, which actually included three different squatted homes across London, so we were given a very strong insight into his world of squatting and were able to capture that with almost unlimited freedom.
‘Pete’s most resonant argument for me was his discussion about the privatisation of space. It opened my eyes to think about the number of locations where you are restricted from things, which include filming. So it was really interesting that the process of capturing our shots involved filming in forbidden ‘spaces’ which Pete references so strongly. I filmed for a day in specific spaces I wanted to capture (Olympic Park, Canary Wharf) but a lot of the shots were also captured around other shoots. For example, the aerial shots of the Olympic Park were taken from a hotel I happened to be staying in for another shoot.
‘We shot on the Nikon D800 with Zeiss ZF primes (28, 35, 50, 85) with a digislider slider. We edited on Premiere Pro CS6 and graded in Magic Bullet as before. Shooting on DSLR once again allowed us to shoot in all these locations without too much bother, which was important.’
‘The music was hugely important to this piece and I once again used the composer Dan Graves who worked really hard to get the correct tone to the film which is so important. We talked about the music for a few days and kept trying new things before finally we got to a piece of music that complemented Pete’s words and the visuals extremely well.’