Starring an all-model cast of Alice Dellal, Josh Beech and Eliza Cummings in a variety of compromising positions, artist, journalist, poet and photographer Jem Goulding presents her sensual new film, 'The Bone Echo'. With an original score by The Disappears and feat. Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), the film is audio-visual treat focusing on a powerful narrative, all shot entirely in analogue and inspired by one of Goulding's poems.
Dazed Digital: How did you decide on the casting of the actors/actresses involved?
Jem Goulding: It may have started with my concern with the lack of narrative short films seem to possess in the digital age we’re in, particularly due to online advertising. I purposely went for three high fashion profiles, to explore where commerce stops and art begins, as I see them as two entirely separate entities. This entire film was an independent endeavour, and I needed to work with muses, not models or actors, just creative forces in their own rights, originals who would work hard and revel in total creative freedom, art house in every respect.
Casting Alice, Eliza and Josh was a no brainer, I'd been lucky enough to have connected with all three prior to the film. I liked the unapologetic sex appeal the girls possessed, it is otherworldly to me, almost like it is beyond their control, much like how I imagine a spirit animals unleash in people.
DD: How difficult was the process of presenting your poetry through the medium of film?
Jem Goulding: It was challenging more than difficult, and this was exciting at the time, and now in retrospect I see it was also a huge learning curve and vital stepping stone. The Bone Echo as a poem was longer than the other things I write, and I didn't want to be speaking the whole way through. It was a spontaneous idea to adapt this strange piece of literature, no shot lists or tight production schedules, I wanted to see how the process would unfold without steering it too much. Most of my published poems are more about stuff I've personally experienced or observed in real life, but the premise of The Bone Echo and the film is much more abstract and dislocated than a personal portrayal.
DD: What's the story behind the title?
Jem Goulding: I wanted it to sound fable-esque but sensually macabre... the was something elicit about the word 'bone', not only because they are at the very core of us, but not like the soul, this in the cold hard centre of use; not warm or fuzzy. I wanted to conjure an image of a feeling or emotion, resonating for this kind of core and expressed like an echo of desire and agenda.
DD: How do you expect or want the audience to react?
Jem Goulding: I have no expectations for my audience, it's their prerogative. Trying to steer people's perception is a losing game I'm learning, people are gonna think, what they're gonna think anyway when it come to art house and I like that. The film is essentially experimental, there is a story, but it's open to interpretation. I wanted to channel a mood rather than a message, perhaps free the mind a bit, just so viewers can ensconce themselves in a different reality, even if it just for a moment. Sharing art is much more daunting that I thought it would be, but I need to push myself more to stand behind the work I do, even if it scares me. I'm done hiding out for the time being.
DD: What are your plans for screening?
Jem Goulding: I'm having a private screening at The Lexi cinema in London, where I'll also exhibit some original poster artworks for The Bone Echo, created by a select group of macabre female artists. Once the posters hang at The Lexi for a month, I'll screen the film in Paris, and hopefully New York too. I want to work something out with Disappears and Sonic Youth, because it would cool to do something intimate in Echo Canyon (Sonic Youth's studio where the score was recorded) with the guys playing the soundtrack live.
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