Papay On Film interview with Orkney.com

I was recently interviewed for Orkney.com. You can view the whole feature here

or read just the text:

Films focus on life in Papa Westray

A series of short films documenting life in Papa Westray, one of Orkney’s north isles, has been produced. The films focus on different aspects of the cultural heritage of the island, from wartime memories to fishing, farming and even the local post office.


Papa Westray might be one of the smallest islands in Orkney, but it still has its fair share of stories to tell.

Like a lot of similar communities, these stories play a vital part in documenting the history and heritage of the place and its people. But they can become lost over time, as populations and generations change.

In Papay, as it’s known in Orkney, the local community decided to take matters into its own hands and ensure these stories were caught on camera forever. The Development Trust secured funding and commissioned some short films, all aimed at capturing the cultural heritage of the island.

Orkney based filmmaker Mark Jenkins won the contract to make the films, with the original plan being to create more than one. In the end, eight were made – an unexpected development as far as he was concerned!

‘I didn’t imagine I would make quite so many but I quickly realised there was so much about life in Papay to tell,’ he said. ‘We had an open night when we were first getting started and I had themed tables for folk to write down their ideas and suggestions. The response was just phenomenal but by the end I was a little freaked out to be honest!’

Around half the island’s population took part in that meeting, discussing subjects like farming, schools, history and heritage and everything in-between. ‘I thought immediately that this can’t just be one or two films,’ said Mark. ‘But in a way I was quite happy about that as it was something I’d thought about when submitting my proposal for the project in the first place’.

Mark travelled from his home in Stromness on the Orkney mainland to Papay in February 2016, where he stayed for six weeks during the dark days and long nights of late winter. The conditions meant that every potential filming opportunity had to be grasped with both hands.

‘I was living right on the beach so felt the full force of the winter gales and some of the weather was crazy,’ said Mark. ‘But, as is often the case in Orkney, as you’re sitting inside thinking ‘when will I ever get out to film’, the sky would suddenly clear and you’d have to rush out with a shopping list of shots to get in your half hour or so window!’

Over the course of his time in Papay, Mark became a familiar sight on the beaches and in the fields with his camera. He enlisted the help from some islanders for things like sound recording, with others helping research archive images and stories. Local residents also gave up a lot of their time to take part in interviews too.

It was these interviews, along with recordings stored in the Orkney Library and Archive, which formed the backbone of Mark’s films. Eight subjects were identified, including farming and fishing in Papay, wartime tales from the island, life at the Papay Post Office and shipwreck stories. Mark picked up the imagery with the constant stream of audio in his mind, helping to structure each shot and sequence.

‘It was all such great subject matter, be it the archive audio, the new interviews or the beautiful island scenery. It was very much a social project too – a lot of the time was spent with people just having a chat and listening to them. I really loved that aspect of it.’

Mark also experienced two classic ‘Orcadianisms’ during his time in Papay, on one hand the incredible friendliness of the people, on the other that innate Orkney shyness.

‘I was loaned a car by a resident who was away on holiday which was so kind, and highlights how friendly the people are. The problem was it was the noisiest car on the island and everyone heard it coming. I imagined curtains being closed and doors shut as I approached houses as the residents knew I would be asking for interviews!’

Eventually Mark took delivery of his own, less noisy car, meaning he could sneak up on folk without warning! ‘I found people quickly got over their reservations about being recorded and really took the project to their heart.’ he said.

The resulting work is a series of beautiful portraits of island life, with stunning imagery seamlessly matching the audio and an original score by Orkney composer James Watson. ‘I knew James’ music would bring another level to the films, half of a film is aural, and so that was always in my mind when pulling it all together. I also didn’t want the imagery to detract from the audio, so there is a ‘slow cinema’ approach to it all’.

It’s an approach that has certainly paid off, and the films wer warmly received as they were premiered in the new Kelp Store Craft and Heritage Centre in Papa Westray. More than eighty people, effectively the entire island, crammed into the building and were captivated by what they saw. The films are now on permanent display in the Kelp Store, something that means a lot to Mark.

I was really nervous because the films were so local and involved so many people, their relatives and their friends. They were so personal,’ he said. ‘The response was just overwhelming though, and I’m very proud the films now form part of Papay’s cultural heritage.’

It’s an experience that Mark will remember for a long time. ‘I felt incredibly accepted on the island, and I still do. I try to get up every couple of months and it feels like a second home now. I still feel part of the community.’

You can see all the films via Mark’s Vimeo page or his website and DVD copies are available to order from the Papay Development Trust. You can also keep up with Mark’s work on Facebook.

Find out more about visiting Papa Westray via the Visit Orkney website and the Westray/Papa Westray tourist website.

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Papay On Film, On DVD

A series of 8 short films reflecting the cultural heritage of Papa Westray, Orkney.

“I was told the story about hidden treasure on Papay. I came to realise the island had treasures everywhere” – Mark Jenkins

These films were made during a residency in 2016, using archive aural and visual material together with new interviews, images and film.
The were commissioned as part of a permanent display at The Kelp Store Craft and Heritage Centre in Papa Westray, which opened it’s doors for the first time in June 2016.

Filmed, edited & directed by Mark Jenkins (splicefilm.co.uk)
Music composed & played by James Watson (woodensolemusic.com)
Made for Papay Development Trust with funding from Coastal Communities Fund

 

All eight films are now available to buy on a single compilation DVD, and cost just £7 including UK postage. All proceeds support the work of Papay Development Trust.

To purchase, please send a cheque made out to Papay Development Trust, and post to:

PDT, Quarryhoose, Papa Westray, Orkney KW17 2BU

Alternatively you can send your payment to PDT through PayPal (papaydt{at}gmail.com). For any enquiries, please email julianbranscombe{at}yahoo.com.

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‘MILKING STOOLS & SPINNING WHEELS’ (18m) Animal farming in Papa Westray

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‘LUG SAILS & LIMPETS’ (12m) Fishing in Papa Westray

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‘FOOLS GOLD & CAT’S CLAWS’ (15m) Shipwrecks in Papa Westray

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‘LOOKOUTS & LANDINGS’ (8m) Wartime in Papa Westray

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‘DIGGING & LEAPING’ (5m) Going to the Spoots in Papa Westray

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‘SCYTHES & SILAGE’ (13m) Arable farming in Papa Westray

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‘DIESEL AND DRAWBARS’ (13m) The Music Of The Tractor

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STAMPS AND SCALES‘ (3m) The Post Office in Papa Westray

Discover wild Orkney

Over a year in the making, Discover wild Orkney was created by wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant and film editor Mark Jenkins, with music composed and played by James Watson.

Capturing stunning wildlife footage across spring, summer, autumn and winter in Orkney, the Discover wild Orkney films were created by award-winning wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant and acclaimed Stromness based film editor Mark Jenkins, with music composed by local musician James Watson.

Wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant said, “As always the weather was the biggest challenge when filming Orkney’s wildlife but it’s also what adds so much atmosphere and character to the films. I had a good idea of what I wanted to film in term of the species here but there are always nice surprises that come up whilst filming. Mark has treated the footage in a really beautiful way and the music composed by James is perfect so I think we have crafted something really special and uniquely Orcadian with these four films.”

Mark Jenkins of SpliceFilm added, “Working on this project has been an absolute delight. I already knew Raymond’s still photography work, but seeing his images come to life was just magical. Due to the strength of the images, we made an early decision to try to make these films speak for themselves, without narration or graphic information. James Watson’s music really strengthened this vision and I think we have a real cinematic experience for people to enjoy.”

The films were commissioned through Cinécosse by RSPB Scotland’s ‘Enjoy Wild Orkney’ project, funded by the RSPB, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The films, along with other Scottish Wildlife content, can also be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/rspbvideo/videos

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PAPAY ON FILM – The Music of the Tractor

Last but not least, a late addition to the PAPAY ON FILM series.

What started out as a film about transport became much more focussed on Maggie Harcus and her tractors.

Featuring Ian Cursiter and George Miller.
Filmed, edited & directed by SpliceFilm
Music composed and played by Wooden Sole Music
Made for Papay Development Trust with funding from Coastal Communities Fund.

You can also see the whole series on the PDT website: http://www.papawestray.co.uk/video/

Discover wild Orkney – Winter

Over a year in the making, Discover wild Orkney was created by wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant and film editor Mark Jenkins, with music composed and played by James Watson. The first film in the series – WINTER – has just been publicly released. I’ll post the other seasonal films as they come. Enjoy!

Press release:

Capturing stunning wildlife footage across spring, summer, autumn and winter in Orkney, the Discover wild Orkney films were created by award-winning wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant and acclaimed Stromness based film editor Mark Jenkins, with music composed by local musician James Watson.

Wildlife cameraman Raymond Besant said, “As always the weather was the biggest challenge when filming Orkney’s wildlife but it’s also what adds so much atmosphere and character to the films. I had a good idea of what I wanted to film in term of the species here but there are always nice surprises that come up whilst filming. Mark has treated the footage in a really beautiful way and the music composed by James is perfect so I think we have crafted something really special and uniquely Orcadian with these four films.”

Mark Jenkins of SpliceFilm added, “Working on this project has been an absolute delight. I already knew Raymond’s still photography work, but seeing his images come to life was just magical. Due to the strength of the images, we made an early decision to try to make these films speak for themselves, without narration or graphic information. James Watson’s music really strengthened this vision and I think we have a real cinematic experience for people to enjoy.”

The films were commissioned through Cinécosse by RSPB Scotland’s ‘Enjoy Wild Orkney’ project, funded by the RSPB, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The films, along with other Scottish Wildlife content, can also be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/rspbvideo/videos

Surface on the Screen Machine

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My film ‘SURFACE’ will be showing on the Screen Machine as part of it’s Orkney tour, in support of ‘GIRL ON A TRAIN’.

I’ll be attending the screening in Westray, so maybe see you there……

Catch it here:

17/11/ 8:30 pm – Stronsay

19/11 / 8:30 pm – Eday

22/11 / 8:30 pm – Sanday

25/11/ 8:30 pm – Westray

27/11/ 8:30 pm – Rousay

See here for the full Screen Machine programme.

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‘Imaginary Worlds’@ CHAT Conference

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My film ‘THE IMAGINARY WORLDS OF SCAPA FLOW’ will be playing at the CHAT 2016 ORKNEY conference at Orkney Arts Theatre, 8 pm, FRI 21 OCT.

Full details here: http://chat-arch.org/

Papay On Line

A series of 7 short films reflecting the cultural heritage of Papa Westray, Orkney.

The PAPAY ON FILM series is now available on line. These films were made over a residential period of two months in February and March 2016, using archive aural and visual material together with new interviews, images and film.

The films are part of a permanent display at The Kelp Store, a heritage and craft centre in Papa Westray, which opened it’s doors for the first time in June 2016. They are also available to view on the Papa Westray website.

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The Kelp Store, Papa Westray

Surface

Just published my film ‘SURFACE’ for viewing on line. I made the film in 2014. It started as a test for another project, but when I was nearly taken in under a wave one day at Birsay, I had another idea……

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“Surface” is an experimental docu-drama and one of the biggest surprises of the festival. Mark Jenkins’ stunning film is shot with a GoPro camera around the waters of Orkney. The versatile camera allows the audience to go anywhere, from skimming across the sand to diving below the lapping waves. “Surface” is a truly unique audiovisual experience as the film travels around the islands capturing the sights of the land and the distorted sounds of the sea. The seamless editing gives the illusion of a single take whilst the music reinforces this inspiring journey of reflection. – XpoNorth, Inverness 2015

Filmed and Edited by Mark Jenkins.
Music composed and played by James Watson.

Screened at:

Nordkapp Film Festival 2014

XpoNorth 2015

Shetland Screenplay Festival 2015

Cucalorus Film Festival 2015

 

Papay On Film

Looking forward to the launch of my latest project, PAPAY ON FILM.

I spent 6 and a half weeks in Papa Westray in February and March this year, making a series of films for the new heritage centre at The Kelp Store. A wonderful experience and the local community were just great to work with. I’m hoping they enjoy watching the films as much as I enjoyed making them.

The Kelp Store will officially open on 02 June 2016, and the films will be on a tv screen there. They’ll also be available on line soon….

PapayOnFilmLAUNCH