A team of Cardiff Met Animation students has screened an experimental documentary with a score written by a RWCMD student as part of a series of ongoing collaborative projects between both institutions.
Circle Line 2 was screened at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, as part of the college's 'Dear Esther' event, which combined storytelling, composition, gaming and multi-media technology with live music and electronics.
The documentary "Have we met?" was filmed in and around Pontypridd and rediscovers Wales' hidden wealth through experimental film and music
It is the final work of students from CSAD and RWCMD who travelled from Cardiff to the confluence of the Taff and the Rhondda, exploring important but often overlooked cultural sites and artefacts including Pontypridd Museum, the Rocking Stone and Bethesda, and a large disused chapel in Ton Pentre.
It is the second film in the collaborative Circle Line series, which began in 2016, and explores abstract and semi-abstract documentary methods, while avoiding the use of conventional formats such as vox-pops. The aim is for student film makers and composers to collaborate closely and generously from an initial shared experience in landscape, as opposed to just via the internet.
Students from Cardiff Met International Design and Erasmus schemes have also been included in the collaboration, which has involved students from China, England, Egypt, France, Germany, Korea, Romania, USA and Wales.
The initial project in the 2016 Circle Line Series saw students create an animated sven-minute journey from the 19th Century coal magnate's mansion Insole Court, to the sources of Cardiff's wealth in Merthyr Tydfil. This was premiered at Insole Court in December.
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Head of Composition, John Hardy said: "The entire concept and execution is so inspiring. I really love semi-abstract film, and it gives so much to the composer. It is neither boring nor slow moving like some visual/sonic installation work; nor is it dominated by the law of the narrative, like much film, TV drama and documentary is. I'm very proud of everyone who took part!"
Senior Illustration Lecturer and Cardiff School of Art & Design Circle Line project leader, Chris Glynn said: "Circle Line connects people who live and work in the same environments who might not otherwise meet. These live encounters are helping build new collaborative links between CSAD and RWCMD. We're connecting students and audiences across disciplines and cultural borders to re-interpret the surrounding landscape, exploring cultural histories of Wales which may be fading from view.
"The current film highlights potential creative links between Cardiff and the Valleys, asking along the way 'What is a City Region?'. It has enabled Cardiff students to explore Pontypridd, a town seeking to attract more people to its streets and cultural heritage, whilst being in the true spirit of collaboration, fostering links between arts education students at CSAD and RWCMD.
"After our recent premiere, we'll be looking for further exhibition opportunities, and we hope the films will invite further creative encounters between students in the City Region."
Animation Lecturer, Tom Edgar said: "The opportunity for student filmmakers and composers to be inspired by a shared experience of landscape can be a formative experience. This project teaches students how to interpret, collaborate, edit and work to a live brief while encouraging creative and expressive freedom."
The ongoing collaboration with RWCMD continues this term with Cardiff School of Art and Design animation project Athletes of the Heart.
Students are tasked with making an experimental abstract animated video to accompany a composition from a RWCMD student.
The first Athletes of the Heart project took place last year and its final film, Socialite, with music from RWCMD student Dan Soley, was screened externally at Insole Court and went
on to receive an "honourable mention" at the LA-based "Experimental Forum 2017" festival. The film is also currently being considered for a Shiny Award in London.
RWCMD student Connor McLean has this year challenged CSAD Animators to create a non-figurative response to his achingly plaintive pop song.
He said: "A pop song can't be too sad if it's got auto-tune on it. This composition describes a pop culture that can't quite fully express itself when it is covered in electronic effects. It makes everything more shimmering and glowing and explores the relationship between the gaps in the notes and what is shown on the screen."
Next year, both aspects of Athletes of the Heart and Circle Lines will be merged to create Circle Line 3 where students will explore Glamorgan's lost waterways and canals in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, while connecting families who came to Wales from Italy in late 19th century.
Tom Edgar, said: "The opportunity to add commissioned music to an animated film is a massively formative experience for students; to then be able to submit the resulting collaboration to festivals around the world brings a new level of interest, promotion and ownership to the work. It means reacting to sonic cues at an emotional level and bringing personal discipline to share with others democratises the technical skillset and fosters true teamwork."
"This real life, forward-facing project teaches students how to interpret, collaborate, edit and work to a live brief while allowing for creative and expressionistic freedom."