Actor, writer and film-maker, James Fraser, has worked with viola da gambist, Jenny Eriksson for several years including writing and acting in “Master and Pupil”, The Marais Project’s dramatisation of the life and music of Marin Marais. He has now made an epic promotional video for “What should I say”, the debut CD from Jenny’s electric viola da gamba group, “Elysian Fields”. Juxtaposing powerful World War II imagery with an idyllic love story, the short film draws deeply on the CD’s deep emotional content. James spoke about the film with What should I say Executive Producer, Philip Pogson.
Philip Pogson (PP): Who is your favourite film director?
James Fraser (JF): Lately. Yorgos Lanthimos.
PP: Top 3 movies of all time?
JF: Boyhood. Spider-Man: into the Spider-Verse. Mommy.
PP: How did you get into making your own films?
JF: I’ve been acting professionally since I was 12, but it’s tough pursuing a passion that relies on other people to give you opportunities. I started making films so I could do more of what I loved. Now I love making films whether I get to be in them or not, and I still use filmmaking to write myself the roles I wish I was auditioning for.
PP: What music inspires you?
JF: I listen to a lot of instrumental music. It seems to come especially from Germany and Scandinavia. Sigur Ros, Nils Frahm, Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, Jóhann Jóhannsson are all on high-rotation.
PP: Where did the idea of “What should I say” come from, particularly the WWII imagery?
JF: The concept for ‘What Should I Say’ developed while I was in New Zealand for something I was acting in. When I had downtime, I threw on my headphones, closed my eyes and wrote down the images that came to mind when I listened to the CD. First, I saw black and white, then a dance, then the grainy, collage-style editing. Finally, the narrative formed around that. Generally, style and aesthetic comes after story for me, so it was a unique process to work backwards like this.
What: Release of “What should I say” promotional video
When: Thursday February 14 (The CD will be released on March 14 at Foundry616)
Where: Elysian Fields Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/ElysianFieldsJazz/