Personal Statement

Since my introduction to film as a platform for my creativity, it’s all I’ve been able to think about. My eagerness to continue my study of film and film form (practically and theoretically) has constantly inspired me to apply my experience at a student level into ideas for filmmaking, my Film Studies course at college giving me opportunities to apply that knowledge to my own film ideas. Although my interests in other creative mediums in the arts is strong, to me, the only real form of expression that can viscerally relay an emotional response artistically is film.

My A level combination is where I feel I have really gained extensive analytical skills. I now watch films less as an audience member but as an academic, always trying to uncover hidden meanings and sub plots that can influence my own work in future. I don’t have a favourite genre/movement of film as I think that each are incomparable as they are unique. I do however particularly enjoy thrillers and films with mysterious characters and in depth narrative arcs; directors like Alfred Hitchcock and David Fincher being my favourite exponents of this (notably in ‘Rope’ and ‘Se7en’). I love reactionary film also, Le Nouvelle Vague in my opinion being the most disparate to any other style prior. The rawness of Godard’s works revolutionised cinema, something I hope to do in future. Series’ are also a main point of influence for me – such as ‘Fargo’ and ‘Breaking Bad’. I like the episodic layout of these stories as it allows for a lot more character and story development and provides a counterpoint to cinema. I’m an ardent dystopia reader – Orwell and Le Guin – ‘1984’ in my opinion being unduly represented in film, a subject I hope to adapt better than Michael Radford. I am also very politically motivated and eager to incorporate that into my films because I think film is a key tool in exposing truths that other art forms lack in. This has led me to be frustrated with a lot of mainstream cinema in regard to commercialisation (typified in ‘Jack & Jill’) as I feel there has been a clear disconnect with the seed funders and the creatives. It seems now to have returned to the Warner age (“I don’t want it good, I want it Tuesday!” – employee/boss dynamic) of monetisation; the duty of care for cinema as an art form seems to have become obsolete.

I play music – guitar and piano – mostly jazz and Brazilian influences but I also programme drum machines for electronic music. I kept my music as a hobby at A-level because I didn’t want to grow to dislike it – I’m still motivated to write scores for future films I make.

Cinematography is an aspect of film I am considering taking a main focus on, taking inspiration from Robert Yeoman in his use of the wide angle lens, symmetry in framing and pastel colour palettes under Wes Anderson’s directorial vision. Damien Chazelle also resonates with me in his visually striking images and inventive camera movement (e.g. whip pan in ‘Whiplash’).

During my first year, I took part in the BFI Film Academy programme in Leeds. We were appointed groupings and were all given roles in the production of a short film (mine was Boom operator – a role I chose to expand my knowledge further than camerawork). Aside from the valuable experience of shooting with industry standard equipment, the programme fundamentally taught me the importance of teambuilding in order to reach deadlines and achieve a well-informed filmic approach. I attended Mike Leigh’s premiere of ‘Peterloo’ at York University at which he did a Q&A with the audience. This was interesting as I was able to ask about his place as a non-mainstream politically motivated director in the British Social Realist movement of film and to find his influences and views on modern cinema.

While my current study has been primarily theory, my screenplay project for coursework has inspired me to transfer my knowledge into a practical based focus so that I can develop my personal style of filmmaking.

Archie demonstrates a consistently committed and original approach towards practical film making. He is skilled in crafting an impressive, memorable aesthetic which depicts themes in a bespoke audio visual style. Written analysis reveals knowledge and understanding beyond the specification particularly in the realms of the wider national institutional context. Approaches towards representation and spectator reception evidence some sophisticated insights into ideological critical perspectives. He is attuned to the cultural zeitgeist of topical cinema which is astutely articulated in class. Archie works efficiently, maturely and autonomously contributing fully to the classroom culture of learning.

E. Bowen, Film Studies Teacher, Greenhead College