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Ben Rivers and Ben Russell complete shoot for documentary A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness

The director of Two Years At Sea finishes latest film co-directed with filmmaker Ben Russell.

Artists/filmmakers Ben Rivers [pictured] and Ben Russell completed shooting of their latest piece A Spell To Ward off The Darkness in Estonia yesterday. Rivers is perhaps best known as the director of Two Years At Sea – which proved a popular success when it was released by Soda Pictures in the UK earlier in the year – whilst Russell’s take on the ethnographic documentary Let Each One Go Where He May won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2010.

 “(A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness) is basically three propositions for ways of living,” Rivers explained to Screen. “We’d probably call them utopian ways of living, or at least attempts towards it. And they’re three very different modes of being. The film is carried by one person Robert AA Lowe, a musician who goes under the name Lychens. He’s kind of our model. In the beginning he’s living in solitude, in the second section he’s living in a commune and in the third section he’s playing in a black metal band. That’s the bare bones of it.”

Also shot in Finland and Norway, A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness was the recipient of the Best Project Award at FidLab Marseille 2010 and the Jury Arte/Eurimages Special Award at CineMart in Rotterdam 2011. Funders include Rouge International and Must Käsi.

Completion of post-production is still to come, but both Rivers and Russell are already thinking about new possible projects both together and individually

“We’re working on a medium length film to be shot in Vanuatu in the Pacific,” said Rivers “I’m thinking of making a film about Neanderthals. Because there just aren’t enough Neanderthal movies in the world. It’s a whole long period of human history that’s not really been done. So, yeah, Neanderthals. And there’s a film I’d like to make about post-post-apocalyptic Britain called After London.”

“I’ve been thinking of making a film about gold mining in Nigeria but part of this project has been for me to think about a different way of making work,” revealed Russell “It’s really difficult to make a living as an artist and I’m trying to figure a way of getting into a funding structure and make it more viable. Maybe that’s leading me to think about making longer film.”

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