Ahead of this weekend’s Residential at Tyneside Cinema for young Random Acts North filmmakers, we spoke to Richard Fenwick about his background, his role as an Artist Mentor and why young artists should apply to be part of Random Acts.
A multi award-winning writer and director, Richard’s work is chiefly characterised by bold, imaginative storytelling, an eclectic range of styles (romantic drama through to science fiction) and a sharp, satirical wit.
Read more about Richard’s work at www.richardfenwick.com/microsite
Tell us a bit about yourself –what’s your background?
I’m originally from Newcastle but I’m now based in London and have been in the creative industries for approaching 20 years. Initially I studied graphic design and advertising at Bucks University but then moved across to film in incremental steps – via broadcast design, music videos and then short films.
I’ve worked with both live action and animation during my time and have been commissioned by The Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England in the moving image sector; Motorola, Sony and Apple in the commercial sector; the UKFC, BBC and Creative England in the film industry; and Warp, Sony and Virgin in the music industry.
Currently I’m concentrating on feature films and I’m developing two main projects: A low-budget British Sci-Fi called Slow Light and a psychological thriller called Silence.
What’s the role of a Random Acts mentor?
Listen, understand and support. In the end a mentor is there to help the artist find their film and support them to make it as good as it can be.
How did you get involved with Random Acts Network Centre North?
I have a long association with the Tyneside Cinema – I was their first artist in residence and worked on a number of projects with their production team, including Songs from The Shipyards with The Unthanks.
What benefits can these Random Acts residential weekends bring to the young filmmakers taking part?
I think because the scheme is geared towards 16-24 year olds most of the artists are invariably at the start of their careers and are finding their way. I think the residential weekends quickly help them realise that there’s a whole infrastructure in place to help them make their project. I think it’s comforting to know that both the artist and their idea will be supported and help is available to successfully take it from paper to a finished film.
In a few words, what’s the best thing about Random Acts?
The best thing about Random Acts is that it’s geared towards giving artists the freedom to express their ideas and find their voice.
What would you say to someone thinking about applying for next year’s Random Acts North project?
Do it. There are very few chances in life where you are given money to experiment with filmmaking. This is one of them.