October 8th, 2010 by Glendyn

I was cleaning up my office and came across a dusty VHS tape of my student film Neverland. I made the film as part of a Post Grad in documentary (a course that sadly no longer exists) I completed in 1998 at the Victorian College of the Arts, an amazing institution that soon may also not exist. The year I spent at film school is up there with one of the best years of my life. I spent that year totally immersed in film, primarily documentary film. The VCA totally changed my life and set me up for the opportunities and experiences that have followed.

Although Neverland is a little ‘clunky’ in places I really enjoyed watching it again after many years sitting on the shelf. At the time I made it I was obsessed with ‘longitudinal observational films’. Documentaries that are filmed over a period of years and that take us deep into the lives of characters that no other kind of filmmaking can match. To this day I still believe that observational film / Cinéma-vérité is the most compelling and legitimate form of filmmaking. Fullstop. Films like Crumb, Paradise Lost, Bastardy, anything by the Maysles‘s brothers, or anything by the Pennebaker or Wiseman. Actually I’ll stop this rant now… it’s another post another time. Needless to say, Neverland was my attempt at longitudinal observation, shot over two weeks (course limitation), not two years.

Some of Neverlands’ themes (growing up and growing older and the resistance to the responsibilities with which that brings) are themes I’m still fascinated with as a filmmaker and are ideas I’m exploring in much greater detail with the films I’m developing at the moment. One part of Neverland I was really drawn to at the time and I think still stands up is the interview with Eli at around 8 minutes where he is applying the final touches to his mohawk in the mirror. It’s a sequence where what he is saying and what he is doing (literally) mirror each other. Where Eli’s vision of his life in a broader sense and the details of his immediate life collide. I saw Eli a couple of years ago walking along the street. Still with a mohawk, still in leather. Looking older, but still ‘the same’.

Eli above, Ron below.

Ron went back couriering and road for at least another 10 years. I would see him occasionally around the city. I haven’t seen him for while though, but I imagine he still could be out there now pushing those pedals at a furious pace.

5 Responses to “NEVERLAND”

  1. Zach Piccolo Says:

    Hey Glendyn. Fantastic doco. Really enjoyed it. There are some super philosophies on life in it. Really dug it. Well done! – Foundie Zach

  2. Glendyn Says:

    Glad you liked it Zach. As I said a bit rough around the edges…

  3. Zach Piccolo Says:

    Haha, let’s bear in mind that it was made 12 years ago when you were a student. I’d be glad to say in 10 years time that the film i made in foundies was a bit rough around the edges. If i couldn’t then i should probably look for another line of work. Do you know what Eli & Ron are up to these days?

  4. eli Says:

    ron was back on the bike for about four years and gave up again recently as far as I know and eli did 3 and a bit years jail for stick ups due to bloody drugs got out in 2002 went back on the bike for 5 years and then quit again. Now he’s working as a furnace operator on night shift 5mins from where he lives. Gidday glendyn mate, it’s eli. funny what you come across when hooning around the web, someones off the cuff remark got me here completely by accident. nice to see you’re doing alright, you should’ve given a hoy when ever it was you saw me, you should know I don’t bite(hehe) Would’ve been good to see you after all these years. anyhoo must be off, am damn hungry after night of youtubing some damn fine punkas rockas. Later man

  5. Susan durno Says:

    Eli cheeseman! wondered what happened to you all these years! and I find you here! a-maze-ing! xxxx Susan from the nui

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