The Animal Drums

A film by Joshua Alexander and SJ Fowler  
Running time : 76 minutes / 2019

Written by Steven J Fowler. Edited by Joshua Alexander
Featuring Steven J Fowler, Stewart Home, Iain Sinclair, Lotje Sodderland, Simon Christian, Edie Deffebach, Andrew Breaks, Stuart Westerby

Manichean visions revive disputed and despoiled London ground. Poetry in light and stone‘ – Iain Sinclair

The Animal Drums is an attempt to create the a distinctly poetic film, in feature length, that explores the sad, macabre, abstract threat of a contemporary London in the grips of constant and nefarious growth. The film charts the the particular, baffled and morbid character of English attitudes to mortality, along with the specific influence of place and conformity on the quintessentially English deferral of emotion and melodrama. It captures the ambiguous menace of an often accidentally humorous resolve, manner, apology and understatement so prevalent in the English character within a city that is proudly unEnglish, and it dwells upon the unfortunate consequence of blind development.

The film was premiered at Whitechapel Gallery Cinema on December 13th 2018.

On the premiere of the film at Whitechapel Gallery Cinema

January 18, 2019

It’s been a month since my first feature length film, made with (owed to) Joshua Alexander, premiered at Whitechapel Gallery Cinema. It was a strange night, satisfying, undoubtedly, but strange for me to experience sat the rear of the cinema, watching myself, my own film, on a huge screen. It was wonderful so many friends and people I don’t know came out, and the introduction by Iain Sinclair, where he firmly placed Josh and I in the tradition of Patrick Keillor et al, was pretty wonderful, as a moment of recognition. So the experience, as a night, was brilliant. And I feel the achievement of finishing a film is a thing to be left alone, to be enjoyed. However it was all uncanny because in watching the film in this way, the first time removed from Josh and I and editing, in a sense, I saw what it was really about, as a piece of work. And this was different than what I thought it was about. It was a little disturbing, but perhaps that’s best. And really we owe this night, and the momentum it’s given the film, entirely to Gareth Evans, a constant hero of the often hidden work that needs working in London. He was so helpful to us and continues to be.

I’m happy to say the film will go to some festivals in 2019 and Hotel Magazine will soon run a feature on it, with a new poem about the film by Iain Sinclair and a really generous critical article by David Spittle.

Stills from the film

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