Medway Visions Film Festival is back!

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Medway Visions is back and it needs your films! Medway Visions promotes independent filmmaking from around the world but a big emphasis will be placed on local upcoming filmmakers who have produced a short film, feature film or music video that needs to be seen!

The film festival is a new venture by Rochester filmmaker Mr Young, himself a indie filmmaker who has seen his short films and his debut feature film screened at festivals around the world and broadcast on television.

Medway Visions – Year One was a huge success, bringing together local arts providers and using their strengths to bring a passionate audience the best indie shorts and features from around the world and, of course, from Medway.  Last year’s event can be found here:

http://www.themoontheeye.com/medwayvisionsyearone

In order to submit your film email medwayvisions@themoontheeye.com with:
Title, running time, a brief synopsis, cast and crew list, previous screenings.
We will then ask you to send a DVD in due course.

 

For further details please visit our website: http://www.themoontheeye.com/medwayvisions

or our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/medwayvisions

 

 

 

 

A Medway Vision 7 – Broken Genius

What’s in a name?  A mask?  Identity?  Hailing from Rainham, Medway musician and painter Lupen Crook is, quite simply, captivating.   Lupen Crook is not his real name of course.  It’s Matthew Pritchard.  But, if it’s a story about being driven to create that compels you – the Medway Vision if you will, then Lupen Crook is all we need to know about.

Lupen Crook is a prolific painter and musician.  Oh, and his makes his own animated music videos too.  Flirting with fame and being one of the NME darlings for a while, he is one of the jewels in Medway’s creative crown.    But if it wasn’t for that name change it might never have happened.  Lupen explains his early days, “I played with Chris Garth (now of UPCDOWNC).  Later, when the Tap n Tin hey-day was in full swing I was performing initially with Bonzai Reservoir (whose members included Chris Austin of Tape Error), and when that imploded I started out as Lupen Crook.”  It was this ‘implosion’ that began a new chapter and it was here that his artwork also took root, having to cobble together band posters with little materials or money, and the same went for his DIY album releases.  Lupen Crook became an artist just trying to do the best with whatever was to hand.

Initially signed to the Tap n Tin label, the EP ‘Petals Fresh From Road Kill’ was released as 500 vinyls all with hand-painted sleeves. In true independent style, he has since self-released via his own label Beast Reality, the most recent being 2011’s ‘Waiting For  The Post-Man’.   Describing the process Crook states, “Beast Reality started out much the same way as everything else, having no one else to do it for me, so I did it myself. My good friend, web-designer and writer Stuart Hardy ended up getting on board and together we’ve honed the self-release approach over the last few years, experimenting with each release and thinking on our feet.”  It might have worked out differently.  In 2005, NME got behind Lupen Crook and featured him on their 2005 Cool List compilation.  A star was surely born?  Well, yes and no.  Lupen decided to go it alone.  Using his own record label, using his own vision.  Fame eluded him but his art was intact.

Lupen Crooks’ music defies category.  How many times does an artist say that their work doesn’t fall into a musical category, only for you to listen to it and then realise that it’s about as generic as a Rom-Com.  Lupen breaks the mould.  Try as I might there is no chance of me being able to tell you what ‘category’ his music fits into.  Take his latest album, ‘Waiting for The Post-Man’  It starts off sounding like Bowie, takes a strange neo-gothic u-turn, shuffles about near the area labeled ‘folk’, then heads off to 80’s electronics before getting all World Party-ish with it’s pop melancholia.  If there is one thing I could describe it as, it’s just singer/songwriter pop.  Brilliant pop.  Rarely have I heard the sound of a record with so many tunes on it not to have hits.  But then maybe that’s part of the problem.  The record industry does like its categories and my guess is Lupen Crook’s genius for writing from the hip will be admired for a long time without anybody actually being able to pin his sound down and sell it.  Lupen confesses,  “musically, it’s eclectic. They are folk songs in the sense they are stories, but then it has always felt very punk in spirit. Basically, it’s free.”

As for his paintings, they capture an essence of Medway as much as the music and lyrics.  They show the beauty and majesty of Medway but always with the knowledge that the heartbeat of these Towns is often the rough-around-the-edges social chaos that we so often see on a Saturday night.  Looking at his paintings I keep thinking of something he said and it makes sense; “my influences have always been my surroundings – people, places, shapes, sounds – the mistakes I’ve made, the people I’ve hurt, the things that have hurt me – everything that makes an impression on me inevitably ends up becoming an influence.”  As an artist I understand that, as a fan of music and painting I can see that ethos clearly in his work.

Last year Lupen had exhibitions of his artwork in London and Medway (at Rochester’s Deaf Cat Café). This year he is continuing to paint, although he does promise that there are some new musical projects in the pipeline. While Lupen is holed up creating we can catch a glimpse of his work in and around the Towns.  Currently Nucleus Art Gallery in Rochester is exhibiting his work. Aside from that, he is performing a one-off gig at London’s The Borderline on 9th June supporting Jim Bob from CARTER USM and the video he made for the song ‘Chasing Dragons’ is set to be shown at London’s Progressive Art Centre. The show is called ‘DIY POP VIDIO’ and it’s being curated by Medway artist, poet and musician Sexton Ming.

Where next for Lupen Crook?  When you have come this far down the road, when you have worked hard to create the output of ‘Lupen Crook’, where does the next stage take him?  “As for actual goals in my life, keeping my head above water and the wolves from my door whilst continuing to create things; be that music, art, videos – whatever feels inspiring at the time.”  Listening to Lupen Crook, you get the impression that these sounds could ONLY have been written in and about Medway.  His paintings, the same.  If any artist can be classed as the ‘voice’ of Medway’s dark underbelly then Lupen Crook is surely it.

Lupen Crook plays The Borderline, London on the Saturday 9th June supporting Jim Bob from Carter USM.  Tickets £12 http://theborderline.co.uk/listings/date/2012/6/9/

‘Waiting for the Post-Man’ is out now on Beast Reality Records priced £10  http://www.lupencrook.com/

For more information about Lupen Crook’s paintings visit:  http://www.brokenarts.co.uk/

Mr Young

Independent Filmmaker

www.themoontheeye.co.uk

www.twitter.com/Mr_Young

www.facebook.com/themoontheeye

Area – South East     London

A Medway Vision: Words and Sounds

Let me explain myself. I’m an independent filmmaker living in Rochester. Over the course of, well, however long they allow me to write these articles, I’m going to highlight one of Medway best kept secrets. One at a time I will focus on a local artistic talent within the Medway towns.

There seems to me something brewing around here. Whisper it, but it might even become a ‘Medway Scene’. Filmmakers like me, poets, musicians, visual artists, photographers, writers are busy creating. That, taken on its own, is nothing new. But there is a buzz, a real sense of artistic change in the air. The Fuse Festival is fun but this is something else.

I have lived in a few places, big places like London and Birmingham and for a little while now I have felt something unique about Medway. The art that is being made around here feels raw, exciting. It’s an independence of spirit and a DIY ethic. The NEED to create. It feels like Medway means it. It feels like Medway has something to say. A Medway Vision. Over the coming weeks I hope to prove that…

First off, let me introduce a group of beat poets I have been working with. There are three of them, they call themselves, perversely, a trinity. I can’t tell you their names. They work in secret. Determined to only write poetry and discuss nothing else, they asked me to produce their first CD of poetry. The go by the moniker of 7th Adventure Recordings and mix a surreal and dark set of words to an even more surreal and darker set of beats and noises.

I have worked with one of them before, secretive even then, he went only by the name of Polarghosts. He provided soundtracks to three of my short films. I liked his style, dark and dream-like, nightmarish really. When he told me about his interest in beat poetry my ears pricked up. He had grouped up with two others who shared a passion for beat poetry and together they wanted to redefine what poetry and beat poetry was. Beat poetry came out of the post-war USA in the 1950’s. Using music, often jazz, as a backdrop the poets usually performed stream of consciousness writing to a hip crowd. The legacy lived on but transformed and the melding of music and spoken word paved the way for rap music in the 1970’s.

Beat poetry in its own right kind of fizzled out. But the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg are still revered. 7th Adventure Recordings are presenting, what they call, beat poetry for the 21st Century. The music is still sometimes jazz in form, but it’s all electronic minimalism and has more in common with techno music. The words are not about 50’s America and the post-war lost ’beat’ generation but do share the stream of consciousness feel that those earlier poets had. Even the sub-title of the new CD ‘Poetry for the Blank Generation’ conjures images of the original beat poets but repackages it, Generation X-style, for a new generation of misfits.

Their new CD is something of an ‘EP’. 8 short poems with distinct identities, 9 minutes running time. Their words strike to your very soul. It’s like listening to a character in a dream. You can hear them and understand but you are never quite sure what they mean. Partly scary, partly uplifting, the CD is unusual in that it looks and feels like a new EP from a band including cool artwork. But it’s poetry. This really is poetry with a difference.

I have seen poetry performed a few times. It was ok but pretty dull and bourgeois. I was always attracted to beat poetry as it contained a raw energy. And who can resist the romantic image of the beat poets from 50’s America, travelling, drinking, free to create and thereby define a generation. Ok, I’m guessing that this bunch of Medway beat poets won’t be defining a generation, but if you want to explore a dark and surreal underbelly rather than listen to poems about funny people on a train or how the pretty the countryside is then this group might just become your favourite new poets.

7th Adventure Recordings seem destined to remain secretive and have no plans to perform their work live. That seems a pity, but, as with so many Medway artists currently at work, their vision is what makes them tick. Their vision is what makes them vital. Their vision is what is making Medway bubble with ideas and passion. And we wouldn’t want that to change.

Their new CD by 7th Adventure Recordings, ‘Curious Fascinations – Poetry for the Blank Generation’, has just been released and is available from www.themoontheeye.co.uk or www.7thadventurerecordings.tumblr.com priced £3.

Mr Young
Independent Filmmaker
www.themoontheeye.co.uk
www.twitter.com/Mr_Young
www.facebook.com/themoontheeye