We are making a short film with an original libretto and operatic score about a Polish woman and her little boy living in London.
The film is inspired by months of research and collaboration with London’s Polish community, exploring the intersection of personal biographies (leaving Poland, raising children in a foreign country) and national history (life at the end of communism, the repercussions of Brexit).
This amazing research and development process has been funded by the gallery Gasworks and the Arts Council, in collaboration with the organisation Poles Connect. Now, we need help to fund a short filming process to bring this story back to the community as well as galleries around the country and film festivals worldwide.
We already have an amazing libretto and score written by the composer Edgar Smith, a fantastic script, and an award-winning crew, musicians and cast of actors lined up. Everything is ready to go. With your help, we can finish the film in time for Christmas, with some great perks to say thank-you for your generosity detailed on the right hand side.
This is such an important story to tell, and such a unique process. Everyone who has been involved in the project and who has shared their stories will have the opportunity to take part in the shoot. Truly collaborative in nature, and a real celebration of Polish music, culture and community, we think we can achieve something spectacular with a little bit of help from you!
Ciagle pod górę tells the story of a young Polish mother and her little son in an operatic odyssey up Streatham Hill.
As she travels, she is forced to confront her anxieties around the hostile atmosphere of her adopted country, her ambivalent nostalgia towards her native one, as well as her feelings about her son as he grows, as he must, away from her and Poland.
The story begins with an all too familiar episode of casual bigotry. Lost for words, but with a surfeit of emotion and frustration coming to a head, the woman begins to sing. Her song is a kind of lullaby, addressed to the child but also deeply reflective. In a poetic sense, the song explores her complicated relationship to Poland, what she has had to sacrifice to launch her child successfully into the future in the way that she thinks best, and her anxieties about the potential loss of aspects her own history in the process.
The workshops have produced some remarkable moments, revealing the great depths of sensitivity, imagination and strength of the different generations of women I have been working with.
The question for us was how to reflect the inner life of our central character, as well as do justice to these grand stories of struggle and migration. Our short libretto and operatic score is a unique approach to the problem of expressing complex feelings and ideas around national and linguistic identity.
Edgar Smith’s score pays homage to the great Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, as well as the folk music and lullabies that the women remember from childhood. A large part of what we raise will go towards recording the music with a string quartet and our actor/vocalist Malgorzata Scislowicz, and even a local Polish choir.
Representing the largest source of immigration to the UK from the EU, the Polish community has faced a particular backlash amongst the xenophobic politics of Brexit.
Many of the participants in the project have talked about feeling, increasingly, like ‘second class citizens’. I see this film as part of a larger project that tries to engage with what a new sense of British citizenship might mean: one that asks how we all ended up here, now in 2017, and that encourages integration based on mutual respect and an interest in each other’s lives, both material and imaginative.
We have just finished another film along the same lines working with the Latin American community in south London, and have included some photos to give you a sense of the beauty and vibrancy of the end result.
Malgorzata Scislowicz plays the central character of the film. Malgorzata is an esteemed Polish actor with an operatic and choral background. Her credits include ‘Wrony’ (Crows 1994), and the Berlin Film Festival’s Crystal Bear for the Best Film, ‘Butterfly Kisses’ (2017).
Edwin Mingard is our Director of Photography. Edwin is an award-winning visual artist with ten years of experience delivering high quality moving image work.
Edgar Smith has composed the score and will be directing the recording of the music. A composer, songwriter, and Double Bassist, his group JC Flowers have recently released their first album on the music label All Tomorrow’s Parties.
Seth Pimlott, the writer and director, also conducted months of workshops with Poles Connect in preparation for making the film. Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2016, he has made films supported by Kyoto City University of the Arts, the Welcome Trust, the Arts Council, Kings College London and Mute records. Seth was awarded the Pete Lloyd Lewis Award at Chisenhale Art Place in 2016, and has been selected as a Bloomberg New Contemporary in 2017.
Pearl Doughty-White is the writer and co-director.
Established in 1994, Gasworks is a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation working at the intersection between UK and international practices and debates. They provide studios for London-based artists; commission emerging UK-based and international artists to present their first major exhibitions in the UK; and develop a highly-respected international residencies programme, which offers rare opportunities for international artists to research and develop new work in London.
- Poles Connect supports the Polish community to improve financial independence and employability and to strengthen connections with the wider Lambeth community. Poles connect is a project run by the Stockwell partnership.
Your contribution will go towards:
- Recording the opera with a string quartet and choir at a professional studio
- Artist fees for costume design, cinematography and sound recording
- Production costs: materials and equipment hire
- Renumeration for a small but dedicated cast of actors
So please CONTRIBUTE what you can to help us finish our film! We have put together a great selection of perks as our way of saying thank you for your support.
Every contribution, no matter how small, helps us towards our goal to make this film :) We're happy to welcome you onto the team whatever you can afford!
An invitation to a private preview and guided tour of the exhibitions at Gasworks, lead by Seth Pimlott and other members of the team.
Digital Film Still: You get a high resolution, fully-graded digital photo screenshot from the film delivered professionally printed in 12 x 8.
Artwork! A limited edition screen-print of the final exhibition poster.
Special Thanks: We show our eternal gratitude for your support by putting your name in the credits at the end of the film.
A day long family film workshop, lead by the artist Seth Pimlott at Gasworks. Create a bespoke family portrait, while learning about green screen technology, and how to use digital and 16mm film cameras. For your own family, or as a gift to someone you love.
Associate Producer Credit: Come on board as an official member of our team. You will receive an Associate Producer credit in the main body of credits at the end of the film. You'll also have a special preview of the film, when we'll welcome your feedback in advance of exhibiting the work and taking it to festivals.
Your own film: take advantage of a professional consultation, plus one day of shooting and one day of editing on a small film project of your choice. Whether it be advertising your business, making a music video or just for fun, this is your chance to get quality work made for a bargain.
If you can’t afford to contribute, we completely understand. Love and good will are just as important in these campaigns as contributions:
So please SHARE our campaign with your networks, using the crowdfunder share button or with this link:
Thank you :)