For the 2018 Festival award-winning filmmaker John Minton is teaming up with Get The Blessing to produce a film which examines and celebrates over a century of Bristol, captured on film by local people. We heard from John as he explores the archive footage in Bristol Record Office…
What is Bristopolis?
A collaboration between Get the Blessing and myself (John Minton). We’ve worked together a lot; it’s a part of a long-term relationship between a band and filmmaker and the process is second nature to us. The decisions make themselves, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The fractured components of Bristopolis are weaved together into a piece that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a witty, deep, reflective montage about Bristol.
How did it come about?
GTB were originally asked to produce a score for an existing silent film but we decided to work together to create an original piece, it’s something we’ve been working towards for years. The Bristol Archive, based at the Create Centre, was mentioned and I’d already been there for another project, so I was aware of the potential of the archive. Bristopolis was born.
How did you work together?
The creative process has been a fluid and ongoing process, with film and music developed together and in parallel. It will continue to develop leading up to the festival, even the performance will be part of the process.
Did you work with music as you developed the film?
I listened to GTB in the background all through the early stages. When I started to compile the footage or found something with particular narrative relevance I would look for something that might be appropriate from the initial musical sketches GTB had been working on. Some pieces lent themselves to opening or closing sequences. Then, as more music became available, I made a set list and dropped the recordings in. I find that with all projects the music finds its place and we’ve worked together so much we have a shared style.
What footage from the archive stood out?
The footage gets the brain whirling, especially the war footage. Whilst editing I could see the same streets through the window which appear in the edit. Linden Road (where Jake from GTB lives) features in the archive film ‘Control Room’ which appears in Bristopolis. It makes you think, reflect, feel more connected to Bristol and I’m pleased that I’m part of it. The things I’ve experienced here I now view historically. We’re all immigrants to Bristol – none of us were born here – but we love this place, Bristol inspires that sense of belonging.
Images: Bristol Archives Film Archive: BROFA