Experimental Expression

After recently working with Yoko Ono on a collaborative art project, Melbourne artist and filmmaker, Shaun Wilson, has wrapped his first feature, ‘51 Paintings’.

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After six long years in production, Shaun Wilson’s self-funded feature debut has entered its final stages, with the Melbourne born artist turned filmmaker launching an online campaign to help raise the money required for distribution.

Shot between 2006 and 2012 in England, Germany and Australia, the experimental art film, entitled 51 Paintings, was inspired by a series of medieval paintings in St Michael’s Church in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, and consists of different people re-enacting the images in locations of historical note.

Already established in artistic circles, Wilson’s video art and paintings have been displayed in galleries around the world including the National Centre of Contemporary Art in Moscow, the Centre of Contemporary Art in Seattle, as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne. Recently he collaborated with Yoko Ono on an online photographic project in conjunction with the Serpentine Gallery in London.

“It’s always been my plan to make films,” Wilson tells Filmink.

“There is a family recording of me at four years old, probably around 1976, talking about how I was going to make a space movie with my Grandfather’s standard 8mm camera…the way I see it, as a practitioner, some ideas I have are best expressed through the lens.”

Perhaps his most ambitious work to date, 51 Paitings was originally conceived when Wilson was in Germany for a conference, only for a faulty credit card to strand him without any money for the last few days of his trip.

“There I am sitting in a one thousand year old church…hallucinating because I was so hungry and the only thing I could do was draw. Then I saw those paintings,” remembers Wilson.

“When you haven’t eaten for two days, artwork takes on its own life….it was not unlike the scene from Close Encounters when Richard Dreyfuss encountered the UFOs at the level crossing. He just had to go up on the mountain but didn’t know why.”

From there, Wilson maxed out three credit cards and a personal loan, investing $28,000 and more than half a decade in bringing his vision to life.

“I always knew the film was going to come together,” says Wilson. “We worked within our means and without compromising our vision.”

For the final leg of the journey, Wilson hopes to raise $4,000 using the crowd-funding website, Pozible, to help pay for the DVD and CD soundtrack release, as well as an e-book and ratings certificate.

“Pozible allows us to potentially raise the money for distribution while at the same time engage with a notion of audience building,” says Wilson.

To entice people to pledge money, Wilson is offering rewards to donors including screen grabs, DVDs and a mention in the movie’s end credits.

51 Paintings will be distributed by Honeyhouse Films.

Find out more and support the film here.

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