What elements make up a home? Everything from washing lines, to picket fences, graces, ceremonies, microwaves. Andrew Scott explores the home in his film for Loading Docs.
DIRECTOR PROFILE: Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott found filmmaking in India. Travelling with his partner, he started shooting their adventures on a simple consumer handycam.
In Karnataka, South India, they discovered the local custom of racing buffalo down a rice paddy race track. Enthralled, Scott took out his handycam and shot for two days, capturing everything he saw and interviewing participants and attendees.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” he says. They just knew they wanted to document the spectacle. Returning to New Zealand, he watched the video and knew he had something. “I was really just interested in shaping something around that footage,” Scott says. Simultaneously driven by a desire for self-expression and self-education, he started to turn the footage into something without thinking what he would do with it.
When he was finished, Scott had turned his holiday video into the half-hour documentary Kambala. On the advice of friends he entered the film into the Wellington Fringe Festival and then film festivals around the country. The film was well received and won the Culture and Environment Award as well as the Judges Award at the inaugural Wet West Film Festival in Hokitika.
As Kambala started to get noticed by people within the industry, Scott was approached by producers who appreciated what he was able to achieve with such modest resources. He went to work as a trainee director on Takatāpui, a LGBT show on Maori Television produced by Front of the Box. “Then, as the nature of the industry is, that finishes and you have to think ‘What next?’ and I had to make a hard call about whether to pursue work in film and television or find something else.”
I turn on TV and everything is so fast and we’re just fed so many images that it almost become meaningless to me. And I think that by slowing down...we can absorb more and reflect more on what we’re seeing.
This wasn’t the first time Scott had considered leaving a career in the creative industries. Growing up in South Auckland with a passion for acting, Scott enrolled in Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School. He was one of only 12 to be accepted into the two year course out of 150 hopefuls. This lead to steady work acting in Wellington; on the stages of Circa and Downstage, in radio plays and commercials, stopping acting to go on an OE to Europe.
When he discovered the Loading Docs fund and considered the online initiative’s theme of Home, Scott was inspired to take the most literal approach: Home as the house where one lives.
“I thought a lot about home. What elements make up a home? Everything from washing lines, to picket fences, to graces, to ceremonies within the home. I thought, ‘How could you document a home? How could you document that in a different way? How could we give people a sense of being in that space and experiencing that space?’”
In his film Homing, Scott observes the minutia of a home as an intimate portrait of its inhabitants. “Homes are all different,” he says. “How do people create spaces? What do they put around them? What can we tell, what can we deduce from what we see? And, equally as important, what kinds of sounds exist within those spaces?”
Scott saw an opportunity to make something slower and more meditative than most of the media we’re exposed to everyday. “At the moment I’m interested in more slow cinema,” he says. “I turn on TV and everything is so fast and we’re just fed so many images that it almost become meaningless to me. And I think that by slowing down...we can absorb more and reflect more on what we’re seeing.”
For Scott, this could be especially powerful online, where attention is even more fleeting. “I think we’re becoming a lot more disconnected from what we're doing, what’s happening in the environments around us and each other,” he says. “I was really interested in offering an alternative experience to people who are viewing things on their phones or their computer.”
Scott hopes that by slowly exploring the detail of one home, his film will make people reconsider their own environments. “Hopefully, they’ll go ‘Oh, far out. I’m going to take my headphones off now and I’m going to maybe just try and absorb the environment I’m in and start tuning in to all the layers of sound that are around me’.”
This content is brought to you with funding support from New Zealand On Air.