33 - Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies : B - Film
Q - Digital or visual media
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ISLAND is an artists' documentary filmed over 12-months in partnership with Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight. The focus and methodology are underpinned by Eastwood's published research article 'The Interval and the Instant: inscribing Death and Dying' (Miraj Journal 5:1-2,2016). The process necessitated a long pre-filming period of negotiation and ethics planning with hospice patients and their families and carers, and the nature of the project, to film the instant of death, required a geographical and time commitment over and above that of feature filming norms from Eastwood, including acquisition of next-of-kin status to one of the subjects.
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"ISLAND" uses documentary techniques to interrogate the paucity of descriptions of palliative care in the UK and western society and to offer new and direct perspectives on terminal illness and the dying process, making these experiences accessible to general audiences and to professionals and students within the field of palliative care. The research questions address the ethics of recording experiences of end of life, and how to represent people with terminal illness at their request and with their consent. The methodology is one of intimate filming and long-term relationship building: Eastwood spent 12 months collaborating with the palliative care team at Mountbatten Hospice, and four individuals in their care nearing the end of life. His proximity to his subjects fostered a relationship of trust and care, allowing him to document the progression of illness in his subjects and record intensely private experiences that have been historically inaccessible because of cultural taboos around witnessing death. In this way, he created new modes of agency and visibility for persons with a terminal diagnosis in relation to their experience of dying, and produced original evidence-based work to influence and educate palliative care specialists in their knowledge and professional practice, including trainee doctors and nurses.
The research builds on Eastwood's previous film and written work exploring the visual language, non-narratorial structure and prolonged duration used in artists' moving image, and testing the ways in which this can effectively describe the experiences and environments associated with the end of life. The film was widely exhibited at international film festivals, including the 61st BFI London Film Festival (2017) and on major streaming platforms (Amazon, ITunes, Mubi) and in 2019, following collaboration with partner hospices (St Oswalds, Barts/Royal London) the ISLAND toolkit was licensed to NHS trusts and hospices as well as international universities."