SINGING IN AFRICA
ALEXANDER PEACOCK, SARA ISHAQ
RUNNING TIME: 3 MINS
Footage from a demonstration against Israel by Palestinians in the West Bank is played alongside that from the East Timor massacre and scenes of boys playing in an orchard.
At the beginning of his second year at film school, I was given the assignment of collaborating on an experimental film with a randomly chosen student. I was placed with the renowned documentary filmmaker Sara Ishaq and they were given the words ‘Singing’ and ‘Africa’ as stimuli. The resulting film is based around footage Isaac had filmed in Palestine previously, including footage where she was being shot at.
(Peacock) This is one of my worst films. Although I was told to direct and my partner to edit I wanted us to agree completely on the premise beforehand. I was more interested in making an experimental narrative film but my tutors encouraged us to use Maia’s footage. I thought we could compromise and create a narrative framing device surrounding the footage, with the middle section functioning as a flashback/fantasy but I couldn’t get my partner to like the idea as much as I did. Probably because she hadn’t had a chance to show her footage publically before so it was important to her how it was to going to be presented. In the end the film self-destructed and ended up lacking any form or story whatsoever. The only part of the film I like now are the dramatic freeze frames of the children playing war in an orchard. I now know that collaborating equally is a fools errand and that I should leave the documentary film-essays to Jean-Luc Godard.