This film, currently in production, adopts the style of early film – image and music but no dialogue or commentary. This takes the planned film back to the classic period of the 1920s and 1920s when skilled documentary filmmakers produced a series of portraits of great cities. However this film is a documentary and the makers specifically note the ‘city films’ of the 1920s and 1930s as influences. The filmmakers reference Dziga Vertov, Walter Ruttman and Joris Ivens as early influences and then add the important films from the British documentary filmmakers pre-war. The films in question offer poetic but also in some sense ‘realist’ portraits of urban centres. In fact, whilst there have been a number of earlier documentary portraying London, the city has not yet received the cinematic attention of, say, Berlin, Symphony of a City (1923).
The documentary films of the 1920s tended to rely on state funding or on the support of wealthy individuals (like the Surrealists). This film will be contemporary in another way. It is relying on what is termed ‘crowd funding’ – a number of individuals and groups contributing amounts to towards the budget. This, of course, is an aesthetic and cinematic investment rather than a financial one. But there is also likely to offer a high satisfaction quotient when the film is finally finished and available for screenings.
The film has already entered production but ongoing funding is required. There is a lot of information about the proposed film and the funding methods on the website. This project focuses on the metropolis, but if successful we might (hopefully) see city films from other major British cities.
Here is Hungerford Bridge, the ‘pilot’ for London Symphony: