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Deerhouse Pictures with Belinda Davis


Who is Deerhouse Pictures?

Deerhouse is the work of Mark Daley and I, Belinda Davis. We’ve been working together on projects since 2006 and started using the moniker of deerhouse pictures to describe our work together and collaborations with fellow artists, which just seemed to stick.

How do you achieve such an ethereal asthetic in your films?

We are drawn to films and images that make us emote, so we strive for that same response from our work. The construction of image, exploration of spaces and creation of soundscapes that resonate with the viewer are what drive us as artists, which hopefully comes across in our work and attributes to that feel.

Where do you find your actors?

We’ve worked with actors and non-actors. We’ve been blessed with some amazing talented friends, who are themselves artists, photographers and some actors, who have appeared in our films. We like the intimacy of working with people we know and can establish a relationship with while making our films, so it makes sense to us to work with our friends and people we meet socially. Most people have a quality that is interesting to watch and we like to bring that to the screen. Sometimes we don’t always succeed this way, mixing real people with narrative constructs and it doesn’t work, but when it does - it is incredibly rewarding and the result is something that feels honest on screen.

How do you find your locations?

We try to source unconventional places when shooting, for both the freedom to shoot how we like and also for aesthetic purposes. We like to find unrecognisable/unexplored places that we find visually interesting and where the landscape can be a significant part of the film or photograph.

What time of day is best for shooting?

For us it any time really, we film whenever we can. We will plan as much in advance, but sometimes the best moments to shoot come when you aren’t expecting it. We love the grain that comes from shooting in low light and also some of the most beautiful results can be achieved in the afternoon when the light is softer, which is also mirrored in the morning before the heat of the day sets in.

How do you find such fitting soundtracks?

Mark creates all the soundtracks for our work, which is why they fit so well. The music is an inherent part of the process, which can sometimes come first and inspire the image or narrative or be made to marry with the image in the editing process.

In ‘those parties, those days’, how did you achieve the lighting contrasts? What inspires you?

As well as cinema (all kinds, we don’t discriminate), our work is influenced by our love of music, visual arts, installation, literature and experimental film. It’s hard to make this not sound like a checklist, but it really is where we draw our inspiration from. To name something more specific, recently while travelling we got the opportunity to see a large amount of Marc Chagall’s paintings and sculptures, which was an overwhelming experience and inspired us to put more of ourselves in our work.

Who inspires you?

We are inspired by filmmakers/artists who make films in their own way, forge their own opportunities and put themselves into their work like Agnes Varda, Kelly Reichardt, Chris Maker, Will Oldman, Louie CK, Miranda July and Hong Sang-Soo to name a few. Our tastes are pretty eclectic.

What camera(s) do you use?

Depending on the aesthetic we want to achieve for each project, and whether it is for film or photography, we have a collection of cameras we alternate between. For film, we have our Canon 5d Mark II and Sankyo Super 8 Camera, Which are our favourites but we also use whatever is at hand sometimes like our old Sony 3-chip camera, VHS camera and a High 8.

Those parties, those days was born out of a filming adventure with our multi-talented friend Justin Box, Mark, Mabh Esterelle and Mikael Boulton. It involved documenting a trip to Toowoomba with hundreds of photos, polaroids and Super 8. The footage for those parties, those days was filmed in a motel room with a roll of super 8. Justin had a vision of dressing Mikael and Mabh entirely in his amazing scarf collection, and the high contrast lighting in the film was produced by using the available lamps in the room and moving them about with the movement of the bodies.

Where can we see more of your work?

We have a portfolio of our work available to view online. Further, our films have screened at festivals such as the Brisbane International Film Festival, electric shorts as a part of Melbourne Fringe and also the Regent Film Festival. Our interest in film installation recently led to one of our films showing as part of a group exhibition at metro arts for freerange 2012 and we hope to do much more of this type of work in the future.

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Deerhouse Pictures