East London Film Festival will be the first to see Duncan Ward’s inventive, meta-fictional new film Here Lies about the art of filmmaking and the struggles involved on July 7…
An inventive, unique new film about the art of filmmaking and the struggles involved, Here Lies is the meta-fictional return to the big screen of British director Duncan Ward (Boogie Woogie) setting out to make a biopic of the controversial artist Ernst Hellmann (Daniel O’Meara), notorious for misogyny, hell-raising and suffering a mysterious demise. All the while, Ward is being shadowed by students documenting the making of the film. As life and art begin to mirror each other in mysterious ways, both begin to unravel.
The film’s central theme is Hellmann’s lifelong search for the perfect muse, having lost his first, great love at the start of his fame. Ward’s film reconstructs scenes from Hellmann’s life with actors, as well as using interviews with real people connected with the late artist. At the same time, the film shows a group of film students, making a documentary that follows a film crew, which is making a film about an artist, each strand carefully woven to give insight into all three layers. Ward took on actual film students and up-and-coming acting talent to fulfil major roles.
As rehearsals and filming get under way, Ward becomes increasingly entrenched in problems on and off set, tensions mount and the film, and his life, start to unravel. The first part shows the director rehearsing and filming a difficult scene between the Artist and the Muse, his model and lover. There are continual interruptions to the filming in the form of interviews and straight-to-camera commentary and it becomes clear that the lead actress is unhappy in her role and the production.
“We filmed as best we could the intended script, along with many hours of documentary footage, that both witnessed the process as well as colluding in part with the fiction. I handed the work to my editor Chiara Menage with an open brief. Her initial anguish over the material began to alter once it became apparent that the themes within the intended fiction were in fact principle to the documentary elements themselves,” said Ward.
“Here Lies was born out of a diary that I kept while making my debut feature some years ago, in it I lamented that behind-the-scenes action was often stranger than the artifice created on screen. Here Lies goes some way to make sense of that experience.”
Shot mainly in a London studio, and on location in Venice, Here Lies won the top prize at ECU independent film awards, and best European independent film and the best feature drama accolades at Worldfest Houston Remi Awards.
Ward comments: “Here Lies echoes the artist Brian Eno’s maxim – go to an extreme place then retreat to a more useful position. Here Lies is both a conceptual meta film and equally a narrative fiction film. I raise a glass to many auteur filmmakers, who populated our screens from the late fifties to late seventies with striking, ingeniously made, risk intense works.”
Here Lies will premiere in the UK at the East London Film Festival on 7th July at the Genesis Cinema – 6.30pm. https://www.genesiscinema.co.uk/films/events/eeff-here-lies-world-premiere-qa-tue-7th-july/