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Nathan Hughes Filmmaker

Who are the people that define the Temple Quarter? What are the psychological and physical implications of regeneration…?

nathan

Biography

Nathan is a director and filmmaker with a broad, multi-platform experience as a creative producer of audio-visual performance, generative software and spectacular son et lumiere events.

Project Description

Nathan’s narrative documentary is a psycho-geographic audit of the Enterprise Zone, revealing the people who work there and the politics and socio-economic processes which shape it. Weaving through waterways, lost histories and the polish and shine of new development, the film reveals what the transfiguration of this part of Bristol means to those impacted by it. The film celebrates quirkiness and biodiversity over homogenisation and makes a plea for the picaresque.

” In their words… “

‘Scratching the Surface’ is a psycho-geographic audit of the Enterprise Zone, revealing the people who work there and the politics and socio-economic processes which shape it. Weaving through waterways, new visions in glass and steel, and layers of graft and grit; the film reveals what the transfiguration of this historic part of Bristol means to those impacted by it.

I sought to evoke a sense of the Enterprise Zone as a shared dream, and that whatever may be achieved over the next 25 years, will form another layer in the City’s rich timeline. The film’s body and tone flow from and with the waterways, imagined here as a chthonic repository of Bristol’s distinctive character. Hopes for the future, memories of the past and grotesque tales arise from ‘what lurks beneath’, both in the cut and the Avon’s tidal connection to distant shores. Temple Quarter was historically a place of industry and enterprise – Bristol’s east end. Goods and services were fabricated here and via the feeder canal, begun long journeys to far-flung corners of The Empire.

Conceptual references include the hypnotic beginning of Von Trier’s ‘Europa‘, the comments on madness which flow through Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon‘, and Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker‘. The Stalker guides travellers into a forbidden Zone in search of The Room, which represents hope and the fulfilment of one’s deepest wishes. It can be seen as a symbol of salvation or redemption. It can also be seen as a place of ultimate disillusionment and despair. I experienced all these emotions during the production process, but if this film brings something back from our journey into The Zone, it will have been worth it.

On reflection, someone should have stopped me and said that in attempting to capture an overview of the Enterprise Zone, I was suffering from delusions of grandeur. My quest became a fluid detective story in which I’d stumble across wonderful characters while searching for frustratingly elusive targets. I wanted to meet a representative cross-section of people living and working in the Enterprise Zone, and through personal testimony, discover what regeneration meant to them. I anticipated that a richly textured film would emerge from a broad range of reflections on it’s history, examples of enterprise, conflicting visions the Zone and the values driving it’s regeneration.

I have barely scratched the surface.