PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Steven Eastwood, director of the documentary Island.
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Director Steven Eastwood presented his documentary Island, at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands, where it had its international premiere. In this interview, he describes his film as “a film about the very end of life and the moment of death.” He tells us about the origins of the film, why he set out to make it, and why he eventually ended up filming in the Isle of Wight, which, as he says, was not his original intention. The setting ended up being important, even somehow defying his initial objective of not working with metaphor, eventually surrendering to that inevitability. In this interview, Eastwood also says that in his initial research he discovered that there aren’t many good images of death nowadays, and tells us why he believes that is. He also talks about approaching the four individuals whose stories he follows, whether he ever thought he should stop shooting but didn’t, why he believes that in the case of a film about the dying there can be similarities between the filmmaker and the nurse and the doctor, and more.
Island: If you haven’t experienced it from close by, you won’t be very familiar with the processes of death. Although there are countless fiction film scripts about life and death, there is still a taboo on a realistic approach to this subject. Eastwood spent a year among terminal patients, who gave him their trust and valuable time. Wisely, he refrains from all sentiment or unnecessary stylisation. No music other than the local choir practising. Eastwood’s title refers to his location, the Isle of Wight, as well as a being a metaphor for the safe haven provided by palliative institutions where people retreat to prepare for the great journey to the other side. The ferries depart like spaceships, whilst slides of mutating cells loom like ‘planets’ under the microscope. This project, created for the Fabrica gallery in Brighton, also exists as a multi-screen installation. The irrevocable linearity of film projection makes the experience even more poignant. (Text from the official website of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.)