TEA IN A THUNDER CUP is a feature film by Alison Williams in collaboration with artists from 14 different countries. The main collaboration was going on thru the internet. And I both Co-Direct and play a little acting part in this.
A psychological ‘Art Film’ which features cleverly included script, video art, performance-based works and animation; created via a collaboration with international artists. A message runs throughout the storyline about the world of on-line interactivity and the subsequent dangers of the Internet in the lives of everyday humans. A child is drawn into a labyrinth of murder and intrigue as he befriends a stranger, who has great aspirations to be more than just a casual acquaintance. He will stop at nothing to reach the boy. This film is narrated by Death as a woman and encompasses a strange surreal journey through a killer’s mental landscape. The contributing artists are Ulf Kristiansen, Richard Jochum, Christopher Borkowski, Lee Wells, Ali Ettehad, Danny Germansen, Joas Sebastian Nebe, Anders Weberg, Michael Douglas Hawk, Lizet Benrey, Larry Caveney, Bill Millett, Glenn William Church, Neil Howe, Icetrip Estevez, Victor Martinez Diaz, Germán Britch, Verena Stenke Pagnes and Andrea Pagnes, William Esdale, Alberto Guerreiro, Masha Yozefpolsky, Grant Bayman, Fritz Schultz and Alison Williams. They all help to provoke that special magical essence which makes the twist in this unusual tale. ‘The boy with the imaginary friend; Written and directed by Alison Williams; Co-Directors: Neil Howe (for Australian scenes) & Danny Germansen (Denmark) Filmed in Mexico, USA, Iran, Portugal, Germany, South Africa, Italy, UK, Australia, Argentina, Norway, Denmark, Israel and Sweden and coordinated using a free social networking website, free on-line service providers and a very different and genuine approach to movie making. One that encompasses no fear, uses the spirit of art as the medium for collaboration across cultures.
If you are at all interested in screening either the raw version or the slightly shorter/cut version of “Tea in a Thunder Cup – the movie” (1 hour 17min incl credits) contact us and make it happen –
subject: screen this project*
Tea in a Thunder Cup
There is perhaps something rather banal or vacuous about saying
“the process is everything”and it simply does not seem to do justice,
when talking about the making of Tea in a Thunder Cup. Although
that primarily is the focus and to my own way of thinking, one of the
truly noteworthy attributes of this Film. The fact that Tea was made
via a collaboration is more than interesting, especially if one
takes into account that this was a global effort incorporating artists,
filmmakers. composers and individuals from USA, Iran. Israel, Sweden,
Germany, UK, Denmark, Australia, Argentina, Italy, Norway, Portugal,
Mexico and then finally, coordinated and produced in South Africa
by an independent female film director and artist.
The process began in 2010 and we made use of a social networking
site as well as email to invite specific artists with unique talents
and attributes to join us in the interpretation of the script. Not only
were existing video art works incorporated, but new works were
requested that reflected the required scenes. Participants worked
individually and “blind”, as the only point of reference they had was
the liaison with the Director in terms of what was wanted. I did however
choose to encourage a loose interpretation without being too restrictive.
Each person played an intricate role and was vital in achieving the
final result. I would like this statement to reflect my gratitude to
all involved for their great efforts.
Back to the process: artists and filmmakers were oblivious to what any
of the others were producing in their scenes. Script as a whole was
not made available to any of them, thereby ensuring that each
specific scene produced was untainted by a response to or from
any of the other artists or filmmakers. As I see it this resulted in strong
performances all round laced with the participant’s individual raw
talent and magic. Files were mostly uploaded or downloaded via the
Internet although we did not manage to remain entirely green, due to
the size and sheer volume of some of the collected material.
Performance-based video art was heavily relied on which made for a
refreshing and different slant.
The existing art video material included in the Film simply fitted the slot,
having the right feel. motion, subject matter and general energy
which worked in sync with what I was after. The small section of
animation produced was subtle and rather tongue-in-cheek; in tune with
the playful nature and sense of humor of the artist Ulf Kristiansen
who succeeded in lightening the whole theme of death. The idea of
“Death as a woman narrating” as it runs throughout the Film is not
meant to be one of horror or grief but rather one of acceptance and by
viewing her as a woman the intention is to make it more bearable.
Death is merely a part of life and inevitably not something we can do
anything about as it is our destiny to leave the earthly plane one day.
This subject is often feared or shunned by many and yet embraced by
others and made me wonder about our understanding of life and death,
as well as arousing questions about a possible “Afterlife”.
This Film is born out of curiosity and questioning, yet also adheres to a
format which attempts to portray a storyline in the more traditional sense
of a narrative feature. It stemmed from my own desire to understand and
come to grips with death more easily in a world which has proven to be
notorious in its hunger for destruction and mayhem. These are difficult
times we live in and also referring to global economy, so the making of
this film is a small triumph of collaborating people coming together and
despite their differences in culture, religious or political standing and
geographical distance – they accomplish the task at hand using technology
to conquer time and space. Most of the people involved in this production
have never stood face to face in the same room and have never met.
“The boy with the invisible friend” is about the dangers of leaving a
minor unattended and with free access to the Internet and the world
which to date has a fairly bad track record don’t you think ? A rather
surreal unraveling of a murderous plot evolves and it will certainly
take you out of your normal realms of perception if even for a short
while. It is made rather bravely and differently so if you go in without
expectation and an open mind you may feel free to take from it what you
will. This is a Film using the spirit and adventure of art and collaboration
in the knitting together of visual worlds and inner visions.
Lastly, “Why Tea in a Thunder Cup ?” I have been asked this by many
and all I can think of saying, is that where thunder denotes the chaos
in the world, wouldn’t it be great if you joined us for a cup of
soothing tea ? There is monotony and ritual and everyday order
and then there is a darkness which threatens to overwhelm mankind.
Tea in a Thunder Cup
Written and directed by