Since July 2003 Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor have worked on a unique and richly cinematic series of films made in negotiation with local residents and community groups. At the centre of the work is the relationship these communities have to the environments in which they live and work. With CIVIC LIFE Molloy and Lawlor have generated a meditative and visually arresting body of work that is both theatrical and cinematic, experimental and highly accessible. All of the CIVIC LIFE films are shot on 35mm cinemascope making extensive use of the long take and involving largely non-professional casts made up of volunteers from the local communities.
Tiong Bahru (2010)
Following three people of different ages over the course of one afternoon as they reach a crucial decision in their lives, TIONG BAHRU is a lyrical and thoughtful short film that explores ideas of belonging, place and family. Filmed on beautiful 35mm cinemascope in the hawker centre and market of the heritage estate of Tiong Bahru in Singapore, TIONG BAHRU features a cast of over 150 volunteers from Singapore.
During the month of October 2010, over 1,000 people came to see TIONG BAHRU at a series of screenings at the Golden Village Tiong Bahru and the National Museum of Singapore. TIONG BAHRU is now screening at various international film festivals and events, and will screen in selected cinemas in the UK throughout Spring 2011 as part of the CIVIC LIFE tour.
Singapore / UK | 2010 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 19mins 28 seconds
Commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore in collaboration with the British Council. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore and the Singapore International Foundation.
An 18 year old girl called Joy has gone missing. Another girl called Helen is a few weeks away from leaving her care home. Helen is asked to "play" Joy in a police reconstruction that will retrace Joy's last known movements. Joy had everything. A loving family, a boyfriend, a bright future. Helen, parentless, has lived in institutions all her life and has never been close to anyone. Gradually Helen begins to immerse herself into the role, visiting the people and places that Joy knew; quietly and mysteriously insinuating her way into the lost girl's life, as she slowly realises that 'playing' Joy might help her to confront her own troubled past.
UK / Ireland | 2008 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 79mins
Commissioned by NewcastleGateshead Initiative via Culture10 its regional events and festivals programme, Birmingham City Council, Dublin Docklands Development Authority, and the Liverpool Culture Company. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Tyneside Cinema and the Irish Film Board.
JOY is a story about a 17-year-old girl, Joy, who has gone missing. The police stage a reconstruction of Joy's last known movements in a local park. But by the time the reconstruction is ended it is clear that what we are watching is more than a reconstruction of a teenager's last movements but rather a meditation on the fragility of youth.
Joy won the Prix UIP Rotterdam award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2008. The jury said of Joy:
Joy was joint winner of the Best Short Live Action award at Darklight Festival 2008.
UK | 2008 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 9mins 20 seconds
Commissioned by Birmingham City Council with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
DAYDREAM is a highly poetic and meditative work tracing the connection between a city during a moment of great change and how this moment can be reflected in the emotional world of its citizens as they contemplate their lives at a particularly vulnerable juncture, caught between past and future, amidst a sea of transformation. In a village hall a rehearsal is underway with a local youth orchestra for an evening event to celebrate a new international business partnership. In the city's spectacular St. Georges Hall, a rock band's performance brings about a strange misfortune, and later outside, a woman meets for the very first time the stranger who found her abandoned as a baby at that very site. Meanwhile, three teenagers have lost their way in the woods, and after extensive attempts are underway to find them, they begin to reflect upon their situation and have their fortunes told by twins living in the deepest part of the woods.
UK | 2006 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 28mins
DAYDREAM was commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company in partnership with Liverpool Biennial. Funded by the Liverpool Culture Company, as part of the Creative Communities Programme, supported with lottery money from the Millennium Commission and Arts Council England through the Urban Cultural Programme.
Leisure Centre (2005)
LEISURE CENTRE was filmed in September 2005 in the new, only partly opened, leisure centre situated on Main Street Ballymun and it follows a young man through the rooms and down the corridors of the building where he works as he struggles to come to terms with his new role as a father. It is his partner, the mother of his child, who helps him to open his eyes and imagine a better future for him and his young family. LEISURE CENTRE had its first screening on 27th February 2006 at Cineworld in Dublin, Ireland.
Ireland / UK | 2005 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 17mins 42secs
Commissioned by Breaking Ground, the Ballymun Regeneration Ltd per cent for art commissioning programme with additional funding from Film London, British Council and Project Arts Centre.
Now we are grown up (2005)
NOW WE ARE GROWN UP was filmed in the Grand Hall of Manchester Town Hall in October 2005 with a cast of 14 performers all 20 years of age. Carefully positioned in a circle, the young people participate in a strangely unorthodox therapy session confiding their fears and hopes in the face of their futures.
Complete cast and crew
NOW WE ARE GROWN UP is a Bigger Picture commission to celebrate the Cornerhouse's 20th Birthday generously supported by Arts Council England National Touring Programme.
Town Hall (2005)
TOWN HALL portrays a local town hall on a suspiciously hectic day. Every room is booked for some key civic purpose. From sales pitches for retirement community homes, to a children's disco, to a teenagers' political rally, the camera takes a restless, sweeping point of view on what issues clearly matter to the assembled local residents. TOWN HALL was filmed on the 29th May 2005 in the stunning surrounds of the West Bromwich Town Hall with the involvement of over 200 local residents. On Tuesday 15 November participants who took part in this unique film project stepped out on the red carpet at the UCI Cinema, Merry Hill for the world premiere of TOWN HALL.
UK | 2005 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 10 mins
TOWN HALL was funded by the Greets Green Partnership New Deal for Communities, The Public and Arts Council England.
TWILIGHT is the fourth film in the Civic Life series in which desperate optimists look into the hopes and fears of the disparate communities upon which they turn their lens. Shot on a boat on the Tyne against the spectacular backdrop of the seven Tyne Bridges, TWILIGHT is an intimate exploration of the ebb and flow of life involving 5 residents from Tyneside. The film was shot on the 18 May 2005.
UK | 2005 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 5mins
TWILIGHT was commissioned especially for navigate.
An ambitious 10 minute single take, REVOLUTION tracks over the activities at a special fund raising event to buy books for a library. All appears calm and well until dogs die, electricity cables cross, giant books topple, mouths start to bleed and things generally go awry. REVOLUTION involved 91 people from Lambeth in the shooting and was filmed on location at the YMCA on Stockwell Road during a sunny afternoon in September 2004.
UK | 2004 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 9mins 53 seconds
REVOLUTION was supported by the Hayward Gallery and Arts Council England.
Moore Street (2004)
MOORE STREET is a single tracking shot filmed on Dublin's famous MOORE STREET with members of the Dublin-based African production company, Arambe. In the film, which is a continuation of our fascination with changing urban terrains, we follow the thoughts of a young African woman in Ireland as she considers her future, and her unfolding sense of identity as she walks along the city street at night. MOORE STREET documents an iconic street in Dublin at an interval in its official re-development, where already the everyday hopes and dreams of new communities are reshaping the city as home. MOORE STREET was Part of Ireland's entry into the 26th Sào Paulo Bienal.
Ireland | 2004 | Swahili/English | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 5mins 45 seconds
MOORE STREET has been co-produced by desperate optimists, The Cultural Relations Committee at the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism/ An Roinn Ealaíon, Spoirt agus Turasoireachta and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Project Arts Centre in partnership with British Council.
Who Killed Brown Owl (2004)
It is a sunny afternoon in an enchanted corner of England. Strains of elegiac classical music fade up on the soundtrack, as a camera begins to gently move along a riverbank gradually revealing an elaborate tableau. Burnt sunbathers, beer-drinking kids, an abandoned baby, a rabbit in a boat, a bicycle accident - in WHO KILLED BROWN OWL, the perfect English arcadia gives way to varying kinds of misfortune, disruption and violence. With more than a passing reference to the 'narrative' paintings by masters such as Bruegel, this spectacular single take 9-minute short is about a lazy Sunday afternoon that goes horribly wrong. Filmed over the course of one afternoon, WHO KILLED BROWN OWL features a volunteer cast of almost 100 residents of the London Borough of Enfield.
WHO KILLED BROWN OWL won the Best British Short Film Award at the 58th Edinburgh International Film Festival.
UK | 2004 | Colour | 35mm | 1:2.35 | 9mins 23 seconds
Commissioned by the London Borough of Enfield with a grant from Arts Council England.