Goodbye IdeasTap, we’ll miss you
This week I received a message from IdeasTap explaining that due to funding issues, it is closing down in June 2015. It’s sad news; I have great memories of working with them on creative projects.
IdeasTap is a national arts charity that provides funding opportunities, creative briefs, events, training, jobs listings and networking. Its partners include Sky Arts, Magnum photos and BFI.
It was set up by arts philanthropist Peter De Haan in 2008 as a response to the growing financial crisis and the disproportionate number of unemployed young people in the UK. Since its launch, it has helped more than 190,000 young and emerging artists and has awarded £2.3m worth of direct funding. You can find out more about its closure on its website.
Rather than dwell on the sad news, I wanted to tell you about my favourite project that I ran with IdeasTap. It was a collaboration between IdeasTap and the British Library which I ran a few years ago as part of the Library's Spring Festival. It fell under their 'creative briefs' programme.
In the British Library's National Sound Archive, we have an incredible collection of wildlife sounds from around the world. We even have a wildlife sounds curator (who is lovely, in case you want to follow her on twitter).
Some of the strange sounds in the archive include a haddock under water that sounds like a snare drum, an American bullfrog that sounds like vibrating wires and bats that sound like human beatboxers. They’re so cool. Some are relaxing, others are spooky and intense.
We set up a competition with IdeasTap for filmmakers and animators to create new shorts using the sounds. I didn’t want them to use them in an obvious way – the weirder the better! I wanted filmmakers to play with the sounds, speed them up, slow them down, layer them with other sounds and make them their own.
There was a cash incentive, screening opportunity at a Future Shorts event during the Library’s Spring Festival and lots of marketing and press support.
We launched the competition at an event at the BFI London Film Festival. I have fond memories of standing on stage trying to talk with some vague authority about bats and echolocation!
The great thing about IdeasTap is that they have a fantastic network of filmmakers, so the quality of entrees was strong. Here are my three favourites. The winner was Samuel de Ceccatty's 'Dave's Wild Life' which went on to win at the Greenhorn Short Film Festival.