Volume 2 | Issue 2 | Spring 2002


Volume 2 - Issue 2 - Editorial

This issue of Vertigo has been brought together amidst the howl and hell of war in Afghanistan, the more nebulous ‘war on terrorism’, and the struggle in the West to come to terms with the faultlines laid bare by the attacks on New York and Washington. Tragically, nothing in the much-vaunted wizardry of the ‘information revolution’ was able to protect the victims in America or Afghanistan from their fates. Nor have we been able to see much of what has been going on on the ground. Television viewers of the Vietnam War in the seventies may not have realised that they were spectators of both the first and last relatively uncensored war in media history. What we have witnessed in the second year of the new millennium is in every sense a global breakdown in communication and the resort to utterly primitive means to repair it: bombardment into submission.
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A New Era for Scottish Screen

By Christeen Winford

The dawn of an indigenous Scottish cinema has been proclaimed so often in the last 30 years, only to lapse immediately into perpetual twilight, that the more cynical members of the film community have come to consider it an ideal as likely to be fulfilled as a Scottish victory at the World Cup.

A Bigger Splash: Celebrating Shorts

By Mark Cosgrove

Short film has long been viewed in the UK as a calling card for the feature film lurking within the production team or director. This is no bad thing. What else is a potential funder going to base decisions on? However, shorts have a vitality of their own and can be a fertile source of experimentation, ideas and creativity...

All in the Script? Then Why Make the Movie!

By James Leahy

“When Joe first told me about it I asked him, quite simply, ‘What sort of film is it going to be, what sort of film do you want to make?’ He looked at me for a minute, to see that I wasn’t being smart, and then said...


By Nicholas Royle

After originally joking that she might spend her time in Antwerp shopping, that was in fact what Siân ended up doing while Frank went off to do his next interview. Antwerp, it seemed, according to the people who knew these things, was the latest fashion capital of Europe.

Cruising the Zeitgeist

By Robert Chilcott

Last year during the Cannes Film Festival I was standing around the Petit Majestic bar next to an unnamed British filmmaker with two features to his credit. Attempting small talk, I pointed out to him the presence, some thirteen feet away, of the director Lynne Ramsay.


By Carole Tongue

Film distribution has always taken, and continues to take, the lion’s share of the EU’s Media programmes. This is, of course, in recognition of the immense problems faced by filmmakers beyond the Hollywood mainstream in acquiring widespread distribution in their home countries, let alone any where else.

Doing Time

By Catherine Fowler

At the 2001 Venice Biennale Chantal Akerman was among several filmmakers who agreed to create an installation that reflected collaboration between film and the visual arts. The result was a piece that played across seven monitors called Woman Sitting Down After Killing.

Andrew Kötting’s eArthouse Declaration of Spurious Intent

By Andrew Kötting

The film should belong, or seem to belong, to the earth.
The film-makers should use only natural light or, at night, sun-gun light.
The film should show signs of the berserk or slightly psychotic, an attempt to reflect the human condition.

Factual Format or Documentary?

By Edward Milner

The creative documentary made for major terrestrial television has virtually died in Britain, assaulted and left for dead by an industry that has jettisoned any serious interest in the world around it in an unsustainable chase after ratings.

Lux – Lucis – Light / Influx – De Luxe – Luxuriant / Lux Run Out…

The Lux was a perfect antidote to English provincialism. In a city that is supposedly multicultural, one of the few venues that allowed "the others" to find a voice and see daylight is now gone. This is a disaster not only for artists and filmmakers like myself but for the city of London as a whole.

For Tomorrow’s Witness

By Don Redding

Death from the sky on 11th September immediately challenged humanity with the need to understand. What conditions, political culture, gulfs of misunderstanding and hatred lay behind that immolation? Media commentators implicated their own industries.

From Brit-Flicks to Shit-Flicks

By Julien Petley

British critics have a long tradition of being harsh about British films, and cinema has generally been regarded in Britain as something which happens elsewhere – in Hollywood, continental Europe, Japan or wherever. For example, the first issue of Movie began...

Gleaning the Future

By Chris Dercon

If movement was the project of the 20th century, it is reasonable to assume that there might be a project to follow… this project has to be growth – the capacity for an organism to incorporate.

In their own Image

By Hasan Sahan

Last November there was a very significant addition to London’s thriving, small-scale festival scene. It celebrated the culture of a people struggling to survive against the competing interests of four nation states – Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

The Emotional Documentaries of Jerzy Kucia

By Gillian Lacey

Jerzy Kucia describes his films as emotional documentaries, impressions that conjure up feelings which some people dismiss as nostalgic and others are deeply moved by. Across the Field is a slowly paced and poetic piece. The images are very textured and in black and white.

Sandra Lahire

By Sarah Turner | Lis Rhodes | Sarah Pucill

A fairground scene provides the backdrop and key to the film which spirals round in kaleidoscopic fashion. A Helter-skelter energy of visual and aural images with Plath’s poetry and conversational voice, and a lifetime’s skill of in-camera Bolex super-imposition is perfected to dazzling effect.

(Not) Gone to Ground

By Gareth Evans

Exterior: Office: Day in England. Enter from leftfield Andrew Kötting and Ben Hopkins, shorts-stacked and second time feature-makers, approaching the money men. Maverick anti-traditionalists and yet both wound within the luminous history of film. Keen to tell the end-tales of an uneasy society...

Oblique Viewing

By Alia Syed

I am, or have until this moment, described myself as an experimental filmmaker. I have always made work specifically to be shown in the cinema. My work reflects very personal and political issues around representation, identity and the language of film.

Risk Space for Invention

By Susan Benn

For most of the world, the human condition is one of fear. Poverty, invasion, disease, famine, bankruptcy, oppression, exploitation, international terrorism and social instability threaten all of us in some way. Most of us survive by developing resistance.

SoYo Square: The Studio of the North

By Paul Marris

Paul Marris looks at the history behind development in the regions and their long struggle for the means to sustain their own, diverse audio-visual expression.

Space to Animate

By Ruth Lingford

To mark Art and Animation 2002 at Tate Modern and the National Film Theatre, Vertigo is printing an edited excerpt from a conversation between Gareth Evans – a journalist specialising in innovative and experimental media practice; Gary Thomas – Visual Arts Officer at the Arts Council of England...

Sundance in Scotland?

By Jonathan Murray

Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Rob Roy and Small Faces made “Scottishness” seem a fashionable and lucrative brand name...

The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein

By Gareth Evans

Self-funded, 16 mm and six years in the making, this politically- engaged, heartfelt and pantheistic three-hour exploration of American responses to the Gulf War is effectively unique in its decision to commit this conflict to celluloid...

Unseen! Unclean! Unsung!

By Tracy Bass

I produced my first music video in 1996. The band was Orbital and the star was the classical actress Tilda Swinton, so there was never much chance of The Box either (a) being formulaic or (b) pandering to commercial success.

What Lies on the Web

By Ben Slater

The construction of “Content” as an idea is perhaps the key to the aesthetic failure of many online film-sites to be anything other than holding areas for a vast range of sub-standard short film-making. The web was envisioned as one big, powerful delivery mechanism, and for a while it existed with hardly anything to deliver...

Volume 2 – Issue 2 – Spring 2002

Editor: Holly Aylett

Assistant Editors:  James Leahy & Julian Petley

Editorial Board:  Holly Aylett, Yossi Bal, Michael Chanan, Margaret Dickinson, Gareth Evans, Ben Gibson, Sylvia Harvey, James Leahy, Ruth Lingford, Julian Petley, Felicity Sparrow, Nick Walker

Editorial Advisors: Gill Branston, South Wales; Don Coutts, Glasgow; Judith Higginbotham, South West England; Sara McCarthy, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; Martin McLoone, Coleraine; Robin Macpherson, Edinburgh; Kevin Rockett, Dublin; Richard Taylor, Belfast

Original Print Design: Kalina Owczarek, 4i Group (T. 020 7439 4399)

Printed by: Ernest G. Bond Ltd

With Special Thanks to: BFI Information; Bojimans Museum; Nick Bradshaw; Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom; Peter Chappell; Faction Films; Simon Field; Alan Fountain; 4i Group; Keith Griffiths; Gil Henderson LFDVA; Monica Henriquez; The London Film School; Laura Mulvey; Bridget Orr; Jayne Pilling; William Raban; Kate Santon; Sylvia Stevens; Gyopar Szaz; Gary Thomas: Arts Council of England; Daniel Wilson

Original Print Edition published with Financial Assistance from: LFDVA, The Arts Council of England