‘Fatherland’ is a 20-minute essay film by Parker and Moore created as part of an artist research residency hosted by Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre (NiMAC) in Cyprus.
During the residency, the film-makers lived on the edge of the UN Buffer Zone, interacted extensively with a diverse local population, and surveyed the built environment. The focus of the project was to film in a politically charged location and to exhibit the work there, thus collapsing the pro-filmic space and a filmic reality. Whilst ‘Father-land’ was exhibited at NiMAC, Parker and Moore contributed to the 2018 International Conference of Photography and Theory in Nicosia, delivering a joint paper, a gallery introduction for delegates, and an artists’ talk and screening at Frederick University.
The film-makers’ technique of structured improvisation builds on the legacy of French-American cinematographer and film director Babette Mangolte’s practice of ‘putting words in place’, using unrehearsed dialogue recorded on site to amplify affective impact, thus contributing to a key discussion in the field of essay film practice. This was inflected by Parker and Moore’s own experience as the children of military personnel.
‘Father-land’s’ premise was tested from conception, throughout its production and NiMAC exhibition, and via its subsequent dissemination. The residency was awarded through competitive process; research dimensions and rigour were strengthened by a series of conference papers during the film’s production, in which ideas and audiovisual material were subjected to peer review. ‘Father-land’s’ resonance in the region is demonstrated by its selection as the opening film of the 10th Bridges International Film Festival’s Official Selection documentary programme in Nafplio, Greece. The film was also selected to open the Discovering Dalmatia VI: Watching, Waiting conference, Split, Croatia (2020). ‘Father-land’s’ research method and contribution is made visible through its 2020 BAFTSS Practice Research Award, which further amplified the film’s dissemination.