Welch, Simon

Simon Welch
Uk videomaker

biography

Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and educational background
I’m a British national based in France since 1994. Following a foundation diploma in Art from West Surrey College of Art and Design and a BA in Fine Art from Liverpool Polytechnic, I continued my studies at Strasbourg University where I obtained an MA and then a PhD in visual arts.

2. When, how and why did you start filming?
The first film I ever shot was as a student on an art foundation course in 1984. I found the experience interesting but did not pursue it. In 1998 a fellow student and I made a short documentary about my artwork as part of an MA course in visual art but I didn’t actually shoot the film. I started projecting existing films in interactive art installations in 2004 and then started shooting my own films in 2005.

3. What kinds of topics can be found in your films?
My films are inspired by simple events and encounters in my daily life. The last few films have some common themes and motifs although the topics are quite diverse: night fisherman on a beach, a retired miner haunted by ghosts and a young girl rehearsing a piano piece by Bach. All three films make reference to supernatural or spiritual dimensions which contrast with the reality of the situation portrayed. However, they may also serve as a metaphor or allegory for everyday human predicaments or even the process of film-making itself, while referencing various aspects of art history.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
My earlier video work was very structured and formally pre-determined. I made short single-shot videos with a fixed camera position and little or no editing. A few years ago I became more interested in basic film editing and cinematography and as a result began making longer and more complex films incorporating more elaborate camera movements and editing techniques.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

For the last five years I ‘ve been filming with a DSLR camera. My first films were edited with AVID editing software but I now use Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.

6. These days digital technology also dominates video as a medium. In which way does the digital aspect enter into the creation of your videos, technologically and/or conceptually?

I’ve always worked with digital video. I have used Super 8 footage but it had already been transferred to video. Using a DSLR camera has changed the way I make films as it is essentially manual and I had to learn rudimentary cinematography which in turn has changed the way I approach the subject in question.

7. How do you finance your films?
My films are mostly inexpensive to make and I‘ve received some financial support from the French Ministry of Culture.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

I work alone and do everything myself. I’ve never worked in a group with other artists. In the beginning I worked with editing technicians but I gradually figured out how to edit for myself and now find that to be preferable as I have more control over the results.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Certain film directors such as Antonioni and Michael Powell who both explore the connections between film-making and art. I grew up with Hitchcock and Carol Reed films and a lot of other 1940s film noir on TV.
Painting from various periods in art history and literature also inform my films to a considerable extent.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
To keep producing better films for as long as possible.

Can works of yours be viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?
List some links & resources

The film Cast (2012) can be viewed at the following two addresses

http://vimeo.com/87521325

http://www.streamingfestival.com/permanent-collection/?a=i&i=1615

My website can be consulted at
http://welchsimon66.wix.com/simon-welch-films

See also IMDb at
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6898227/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

or Artslant at
http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/359218-simon-welch