Sam Davis & Tom Andrew direct ‘VOID – One Year Of Silence’.
One year on from the UK’s first lockdown, clubs remain closed.
Words from Sam & Tom below.
Familiar with your previous work as individual filmmakers, VOID feels like the perfect collaboration?
TOM: The more Sam and I work together the more intuitive it becomes, the thought behind our projects layer up quite quickly during their conception, as we build on each other’s idea… our videos and films always feel like a true collaboration, a 50/50 split.
Our backgrounds in filmmaking have quite different routes, I began as a photographer and through my collaborations with Sam I’ve learnt so much about directing, which I now do alongside my photography. I’ve always led with an experimental aesthetic with my photography and collaborating with Sam we’ve used these styles for film, as well as Sam developing a great eye for the experimental himself. Blending this with his background in documentary film I feel we’re developing into something I’m really buzzing about.
SAM: Echoing what Tom has said, this collaboration is something I am very excited about. We have a very similar way of thinking – when we chat about ideas, there’s a very natural and seamless back and forth of development to them.
As Tom said, I started out in documentaries, which are of course rewarding, but it can be quite a heavy process. Collaborating with Tom over the last few years has been a great progression to my work and I feel a lot more at home with what I’m currently making. The mixture of both our backgrounds made the collaboration on VOID a really pleasurable process.
We made VOID with the approach that it’s neither optimistic or pessimistic and doesn’t look backwards or forwards, to deliver a suspended atmosphere of the present.
We’ve seen a lot of films capturing empty places over the past twelve months, was this something you were concerned about?
TOM: No, because we’d seen films that delivered messages of hope or dismay, with the situation, but felt the honest story of clubs and the people connected them hadn’t been told. We made VOID with the approach that it’s neither optimistic or pessimistic and doesn’t look backwards or forwards, to deliver a suspended atmosphere of the present.
SAM: It was important to us that this was a reflective film that evokes individual thought. We wanted the viewer to sit with imagery and decide how the film felt to them, to raise awareness for the toll this situation is having on mental health.
Some of my favourite responses to the film were from people who weren’t familiar at all with the club scene but were left really moved. The film seems to have allowed them to reflect on the past year and work out what their void was. I think the fact that this is a purely audio-visual film allows space for that.
We wanted the viewer to sit with imagery and decide how the film felt to them, to raise an awareness for the toll this situation is having on mental health.
TOM: Daniel Avery’s involvement is an integral part, of the message the film conveys. He had made the basis of the soundtrack before we started filming, so we could really integrate our approach, with the emotion of the music. We were so pleased he was on board with the film from the beginning… we tried to make the film with an equal progression of how Daniel interpreted our visuals, as well as us reacting to what he made, to make the whole experience of watching it, as immersive as possible.
From a creative perspective, did the footage of the spaces you shot, or the edit, surprise you in any way?
TOM: Yeah it really did, I found it quite emotional when I saw it with the soundtrack for the first time. It also felt very right, the emotion in the image and music combined was exactly what we were all looking to create.
SAM: It’s mad the atmosphere an empty club has. Going to all these clubs was a strange experience, there’s definitely a feeling of pent-up energy stored within them. It’s weird, sometimes we felt the need to lower our voices when entering…like we were going into a gallery or memorial.
Do any of the spaces in the film have a personal significance?
TOM: I’d been to a few of the clubs, so standing in them and sometimes in exactly the same spot where I’d danced for hours was very poignant, it was important for us to bring that feeling of utter stillness into the film, after knowing how the spaces felt when they were going off. The feeling of an empty Corsica Studios really stood out, as the atmosphere in that place has always been really apparent due to its size.. they create something special in there.
SAM: Yeah, we spoke a lot about going back to particular clubs when everything is back open again. There are some really special, hidden-away places across the country that need looking after.
What are you reading at the moment?
TOM: ’Nausea’ by Jean Paul Sartre, after it was mentioned in another book I’m chipping away at, ‘A Hero for High Times’ by Ian Marchant.
SAM: ‘English Pastoral’ by James Rebanks.