Tracy talks to filmmaker, director, curator and writer Mark Cousins

Posted on December 22, 2012 by in Filmmakers, Inspiration

Mark cousins talks to Tracy McAlister Mackay from the Shed with the Chandelier

Here’s our conversation:

What are you so passionate about that makes you want to write, draw, sing, film or play? 
Here’s the place you’re allowed to dream and put into action - please leave your comments below the blog:

It’s a world we think we know: the magical world of film. Most of us have grown up with the movies, but Mark Cousins – filmmaker, writer, “wanderer”, educator and director – passionately wants us to know more. I know of no one who is more enveloped in this business than he.

The Hollywood letters are (for many) emblazoned in our minds when we first think of film. Mark cries out often with his powerful words, to herald the movie making oftentimes lost to the mega-movie screens that host the majority of film available to the general public.

His 15-hour epic ‘The Story of Film: The Odyssey’ takes us on a journey of movie making in the broadest sense, highlighting all the greats of the filmmaking world – not just those who receive gold statues.  Mark’s epic (which was based on his book of the same name from years before) has been received worldwide to standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival, to its celebrated showing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York . It has since traveled far and wide – and so has Mark.

He has taken his film cameras to some of the almost forgotten places in the world; his film ‘The first movie’ shows us what it’s like to be a child in war; but it’s not just about ‘war’ – he gifted them a moment to make their own magical films.

His latest little film is an all more personal journey in some respects; shot in the midst of a media tour for his epic film, in our conversation we get a glimpse of its beginnings – it is now completed. ‘What Is This Film Called Love?’ was filmed over three days with a budget of just 10 pounds, and its soundtrack includes the likes of PJ Harvey and Johnny Cash – and it too has touched the world.

This guy, however, is not all work and no play and that’s the side of Mark that maybe could be missed by some, amongst his passion for the telling of the story of film for everyone. If you take a little look at the film festivals he has created with Tilda Swinton  – ‘A Pilgrimage’  – pulling a portable movie theatre across the wilds of Scotland; or the small ex-ballroom, in a small Highland town that was transformed into a magical movie experience – The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams , you will know that dancing, music and pure play is part of the soul of Mark Cousins too.

He has interviewed the great names of Hollywood – Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch and more, but I get the feeling that Mark wants us all to be singing the praises of all those others who are producing eye opening greatness through out the world; but yet their names are so often never heard.

So how does one pin this guy down? I tried to catch up on a few occasions, and finally on return from the USA earlier this year, we chatted. I am so very grateful to the jet lagged Mark for his time!

So Mark, here’s a spotlight shone on the man who shines the light on the film world and its children when they cannot, and others will not.  From the wee girl who saw her first movie in your hometown in Northern Ireland, where the struggles that were fought on the streets outside were spared her for a moment in that magical world of film, thank you.

What are you so passionate about that makes you want to write, draw, sing, film or play? 
Here’s the place you’re allowed to dream and put into action - please leave your comments below: