I remember you as you were

Thoughts and reflections on the creation, challenges and discoveries during the making of the commissioned video piece I remember you as you were.

Helga Dorothea, Filmmaker

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to create a moving image piece for the Heritage lab for the Pugin Studios project at the Granville Hotel, especially as I would be collaborating with a very strong team of creatives. I had luckily been allowed access to the site a couple of months before the Coronavirus lockdown so I knew I had some footage which I could use. I shot the footage with Liam Smith, a local camera operator and I also got access to footage shot on a drone from Epic drone films in Ramsgate. Then the challenge was to complete the film during lockdown with limited existing footage and distanced team of filmmaker, composer, collage artist and writer. 

I wanted to make a piece that would invite you into the space. A film that would respect the past whilst also opening up a dialogue for the future. A remembrance piece, an artwork that would touch and inspire its audience, and that would make that audience want to be part of the future of the space. A love letter of sorts to the Granville Hotel’s past history, and to the beauty which is its promise and heritage.  Transporting the viewer to a very different time and place while anchoring the visual landscape in present and future visions of what the Granville could be.

I started working on the project with the composer Donna Mckevitt. Her compositions are highly evocative, lending themselves perfectly to the space and history of the Granville Hotel. Donna Mckevitt suggested commissioning the poet Jan Noble to create the poem which she then recorded as a song. I’ve never worked with a poet before. I sent over my initial thoughts, historic documents and unearthed historic information which he worked from. I really enjoyed giving over to him the task of articulating the project’s words. At first when I received his piece I was stunned over how short and simple it was. But after reading it a couple of times I felt that he had summed up the space and the feeling that we were after. It works perfectly as a love letter to the hotel, which is what I was envisioning.

Working with historic images and a historic building I wanted to respect the material while also finding a way to transporting
them into the present. When I saw Sophia Schorr-Kon’s collage work on Instagram I knew that her style would be the perfect
way to weave in the historic images from the past with the present.
 
There were definitely some initial fears over the current challenge of not being able to meet up or work with any one of my collaborators as we were not allowed to. Those fears were however quickly brushed away as everyone worked very well and fast independently. In these strange times I think we all enjoyed working, being creative and focusing on something else.  The fact that it is local gives the work another interest and urgency. We all (artists) have a real vision and dream to see the Granville Hotel come to life again.

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