FVPS: The description for The Dynamists says the film involves twelve disruptive teenage boys, though we think we see some girls in there. Have you taken an approach to gender as you characterized the ensemble within your film or does the cast symbolize a "general" attitude of adolescent spirit?
HELEN ANNA FLANAGAN: An initial influence, and where the name The Dynamists came from, was inspired by The Futurists art movement a - collective who emphasized youth, speed, violence, technology, etc and made works fixated on dynamic sensation. They were also known for being predominantly sexist and male-inclusive. The futurists embody an adolescent spirit, an energetic and unapologetic gang part of a temporary and short-lived moment in art history.
FVPS: When watching the film we can't help but think that you are frequently exposing and revealing new elements and factors to everyone on set and that there is never a chance to reshoot or find a moment once it has passed.
HELEN ANNA FLANAGAN: There is no rehearsal prior, but instead there is a loose script that forms the basis and guide for filming. Leaving the camera running was an important technique to capture more improvised and authentic moments, such as mistakes or hesitations, restlessness, boredom, exhaustion, etc. This means that certain parts cannot be reshot and are based on chance. That is always an exciting part about shooting - you can never fully determine or predict behaviors.
FVPS: Would you please muse for us on the relationship between poetry and cinema (in general) as here at the Film and Video Poetry Society we revere experimental film/ though reify cinema that is driven by the spoken poetry.
HELEN ANNA FLANAGAN: Poetry has the potential to create different positions and perspectives that relate to the medium of film. Film and the language of editing are based on sequencing, editing and timing; fragments put together to create a whole to try articulate or suggest something outside of itself.
I came across this quote that i’ve kept onto by Arthur Henry Hallam: ‘Rhyme contains a constant appeal to memory and hope; it sets up an expectation, and reassures us when it arrives’. I think the same could be said for music, dance, film, etc. I think such rhythm or expectation can be played with to create different experiences or expectations, to disorientate and surprise. It’s interesting after that to then try lull or seduce the viewer back into the safe reassurance of the familiar. A sort of compromise between different frequencies and resonances.
FVPS: Do you practice within any other mediums asides from film?
HELEN ANNA FLANAGAN: Most recently i’ve been experimenting with installation, or ways to present film or video in a space outside of the standard screening format by bringing in new materials. I am interested in having elements of a film come into a space in one way or another and to alter a viewers passive relationship to the thing that they watch. I am fascinated with the different ways you can access or watch moving images and how that changes your experience and relationship to it, the people you watch it with, or the space you are in.