Tel Aviv

Released: 2013

Mr B Productions was brought in as DOP / to shoot all the ‘in water‘ footage for this project – for parts 5 and 6. Directed by Ross McDonald.

Part 5 was shot entirely in a small swimming pool, lit from above with a few lights, the aim was to make the pool look infinite using darkness, with bottles floating on string tied to the bottom. Shooting in a very small private pool barely 10 feet wide it was tricky to make this look like the bottom of a lake, but the restrictions gave this section a confined, claustrophobic atmosphere which really added to the scenes.

Part 6 was shot on location at a secluded part of Whitsand beach in South East Cornwall, in November. The artist / actor was freezing in the water but managed to stick it out long enough to get the shots needed. We finished on a jib shot to bring in the credits. See part 6 here.

See full video here.

TEL AVIV began life as concept driven “six short songs about spring”. In 2011, inspired by the fresh buds of Spring and challenged by the micro-blogging model of Twitter, Shane Beales set about writing and recording in his home studio in Hackney. The challenge was to condense a set of songs into a miniature album in much the same way that Twitter users are challenged to limit their messages to just 140 characters.

The six songs of TEL AVIV clock in at just 15 minutes and tell a heartfelt season based narrative of journeying from disappointment to the hope. Released digitally on iTunes and Shane’s own website in October 2011, TEL AVIV earned critical acclaim, with The Guardian praising its “yearning, electro-flecked and melodic songsmithery”. BBC6Music also featured music from the album praising its concept as well as its brevity.

Filmmaker Ross McDonald and Shane met at a gig in Hammersmith and began discussing collaborating to make a video for one the songs from TEL AVIV. This soon turned into making 6 videos, one for each of the songs and somehow linking them all. 12 months later, having considered that maybe it was one of those ideas that would never leave the drawing board, Ross returned to Shane with a treatment for making the six songs into one film and the two set to work straight away.

Initially set to be released online as individual episodes over a six week period, Ross and Shane began shooting in September 2012. Ross built the shack that features in the early part of the in a ditch belonging to a local farmer nearby to his parents home in Somerset. From there, the shoot expanded to include a variety of locations in Epping Forest, Cheddar Gorge, a beautiful secluded beach in Cornwall and Tortworth lake, Gloucestershire (generously provided by the Earl of Ducie). As it progressed capturing footage became more and more ambitious, featuring woodland, mountaintop, boat, beach, underwater scenes and a (slightly dangerous) raging fire!

Ross invited some of his colleagues to participate in the shoots including Luke Ogden of High Six Media, Georgina Hurcombe and her team from Love Love Films and Anthony Butler of Mr B productions. In the end, the shooting spread out over 3 months and early edits soon showed that something much more substantial than the original 6 webisodes idea was emerging. What started out as an exercise in miniature has grown into a vibrant and ambitious 20 minute short-film about journeying out of the ordinary and into the unexpected.