We spoke to local visual artist and film maker Peter Hastie about some of his work and his experience as a visual artist in Scotland.
Hi Pete how did you get into film making?
Good morrow. I got caught up in films from a very early age. I was never glued to the screen as a child, because I liked going out to play too much, but when I did sit down to watch a film, I was completely and totally immersed. I think the most excited I have ever been in my life was watching the end of Invaders from Mars when I was eight years old. This excitement blossomed into a life-long obsession.
You have worked on a few projects in Govanhill from music videos to Theatre work. Who did you work with on these projects (organisations/ individuals) Can you post some links to some of your work etc?
I have been lucky enough to film quite a few projects in and around Govanhill. It is a troubled yet resilient area and I have been pleased to document a range of events over the years. The main drawback about these community projects, however, is that the inclusion of video is blandly implemented and too often seen as a box-ticking exercise. I would dearly love to work with the community on a much broader basis, making a video that could at least hope to find a wider audience and be a genuine point of pride for all involved.
For a variety of (banal) reasons, I do not have a great deal of work online, but here is a video of International Roma Day in Govanhill from a couple of years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8wXvw_l-gk.
You also do visual shorts can you tell us a bit more about what inspires these?
I spent close to 20 years chasing funding for various narrative films. (I still owe people money because of it.) I simply do not have the nature to bullshit my way through the necessary networking events and/or convoluted forms, nor the desire to push through content that I myself would have no interest in watching, so I eventually turned to making experimental videos, which cost very little, with no audience in mind. Perversely, this path has proven to be more fertile.
I am infinitely more interested in the interplay of sound and image than leading a jaded audience through a cookie-cutter narrative so I have little option but to present myself as an “artist filmmaker”, the vogue terminology for anyone who is committed to cinema, but not in its current form.
As to what inspires me – necessity.
Covers from Pete’s films; Left ‘Threads’. Right top, ‘ Hidden Sexology’, Middle ‘ The writing on the wall’, Bottom ‘The Nightworm’. Bottom center; ‘Merboy’.
Last year you had a film screened during the Cannes film festival. Would you like to tell us about what that was like and did you find it helpful? In 2013, I was fortunate enough to have a film screened in competition at AVIFF Cannes, a video art festival. I attended the festival for a few days, but had no money for a room, so I slept in a bush beside a railway track. Although difficult at times, and despite having very little backstage access, the whole experience was very inspiring. Upon my return I began work on a film about my experience, which I am still excited about, but has yet to be completed. It is a dense film with a complicated structure requiring a great deal of time to edit. I have tried to secure funding, of course, but par for the course, this has proven impossible.
Here is a brief extract from the work-in-progress:
As an independent artist in Scotland how easy/ hard is it to get funding from projects?
For me it has proven impossible. I have little else to live for, however, so I have faith I will either succeed in the future or die trying.
Do you have any advice for people looking to venture into film making?
It is impossible to give general advice to anyone without knowing their intentions. I wouldn’t want to put off anyone who just wants to dip their toe in the water, but if you’re genuinely serious about making an original film, then I would suggest you try to emulate those filmmakers whom you judge to be the best. You will fail of course, but that is the point. If you have chosen wisely, and have the perseverance to see through your mistakes, maybe you’ll be halfway to being somewhere.
To contact Peter about a project; email email@example.com or @striplight on Twitter
If you would like your community group, activity or business to have a feature article please get in touch with Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org tel; 07903152283.
For those interested I also have an independent blog if you wish to check it out;
and my photo website;