HASTINGS based artist and film maker Andrew Kotting and part-time coastal dweller and writer Iain Sinclair are working on a new project together which follows in the footsteps of ‘Peasant Poet’ John Clare.
Hot on the heels of the success of their most recent collaboration; Swandown, which saw them pedal a swan shaped pedalo from Flamingo Lake in Hastings all the way to Hackney in London, comes a new project: By Our Selves.
It is a four day walk from High Beach Asylum in Epping Forest all to the village of Glinton, north of Peterborough, in the footsteps of the poet John Clare, who died 150 years ago.
Clare, the son of a farm labourer, is known for his celebration of the English countryside and his anguish at it’s erosion.
Iain has already written a book about the endeavour; Edge of the Orison but the film is set to become an extraordinary odyssey, which features Toby Jones and Watchmen creator Alan Moore.
“For years a film, in the mood of Herzog’s “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser”, haunted me Sinclair says, so, as an admirer of Andrew Kotting’s films ‘This Filthy Earth’ and ‘Gallivant’, I pestered him to make it.
“Andrew didn’t say no. He made his excuses and swam to France or jumped on a plastic swan and pedaled it to London. I suspected that he couldn’t read my book or John Clare.”
Local artist and pinhole photographer Anonymous Bosch has also been documenting the project.
Andrew became drawn to the figure of the Straw Bear, the central figure from an old custom from a small area of Fenland on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire.
A man was dressed from head to foot in straw and led around the farms and villages.
It is probable that Clare would have seen the custom. enacted.
On a modest (bare-bones) Grants for the Arts budget they have managed to film the walk to Glinton, and now with crowd-funding they hope to raise enough money to produce a feature length film.
Soda Pictures are distributing the film across the UK but Andrew has no money for the edit.
If you are interested in seeing your name in lights by supporting such an ambitious project then please visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/899903604/byourselves.
There is also a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ByOurSelvesFilm. Iain’s website is http://www.iainsinclair.org.uk and Andrew’s websitewww.andrewkotting.com.