Civic Life is a moving image project, initiated and developed by UK based Irish artists Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy (desperate optimists). The aim of the series of six films is to explore a set of ideas developed collaboratively with local community groups and residents, shot in single takes on 35mm cinemascope.
The first Civic Life film, Who Killed Brown Owl, won Best UK Short Film at the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival. Filmed over the course of one afternoon, a volunteer cast of almost 100 residents of the London Borough of Enfield recreated a perfect English arcadia which gives way to varying kinds of misfortune, disruption and violence.
Civic Life: Moore Street, shot on Dublin’s famous market street, featured members of the local African community and follows the thoughts of a young woman as she considers her future in her newly adopted home. Screened in UGC as part of the About Time season, Civic Life: Moore Street was selected to represent Ireland at the 26th Sao Paulo Bienal and was co-produced by desperate optimists, the Cultural Relations Committee at the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, and Project Arts Centre in partnership with British Council Ireland.
Screened as part of the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Eyes, Lies and Illusions’ exhibition and at the Curzon Cinema, Soho, Revolution, the third film in the series, involved a cast of 91 people from Lambeth and was shot at the YMCA on Stockwell Road. It tracks the activities at a very peculiar fundraising event where all is not quite what it seems.
Twilight is the fourth film in the series, featuring five older residents of Tyneside, and shot on a boat on the river against the spectacular backdrop of the seven Tyne Bridges.
A young couple’s visit to the local town hall, where they hope to have their wedding, is the location for Town Hall, the fifth of the series, shot in West Bromwich with a cast of over 200 local residents.
The last in the single-take series, Civic Life: Ballymun is the...