“Island” mood board:

Island (mood board) from steven eastwood on Vimeo.

Of Camera from steven eastwood on Vimeo.

London-based artist-filmmaker Steven Eastwood talks about:

His East London neighborhood of Hackney, where he’s been for 15+ years, and the evolution it’s gone through from dodgy to hipster haven; the divisiveness not only between London and the rest of the U.K., but also between generations, as in Steven and his father, with whom his values vastly diverge, who voted for Brexit and perceives London as intimidating and full of cultural elites, and ultimately wants the country to go back to the way it was; his productive time in the U.S. teaching film at SUNY Buffalo from 2004-07, after a 48-hour interview process (in the U.K. you’re in and out the door in 45 minutes, he said); his evolution as a teacher, which lead him to a Reader teaching post which allows him significant time to devote to his films; the complexities around distribution of art-based films – when and where to release and in what addition;

how his ongoing state in making films is to feel alien, how feels like a stranger to himself when he’s making them; his film Island, which will begin as a multi-channel art gallery installation before its release in late 2017/early ’18 as a feature film, and is about the end of life (literally); all of the complex logistics with legal as well as emotional contracts and the navigation of ethics that allowed him to be a first-hand witness on more than one occasion; how art has always had a relationship with death, but it’s been somewhat taboo dealing with it through film; and finally a story about a harrowing night on a Scottish isle that he and former guest Kysa Johnson shared.

In Part 1 of 2, Los Angeles artist and activist Kysa Johnson talks about:

Her roots in Mormonism, and how its very patriarchal structure led her to rebel, fighting with teachers and eventually, along with her mom and brother, leaving the church; the various platforms and outlets for her activism, and how donating money, signing petitions and watching protest-based movies gave way to attending the initial protest in L.A., the Women’s March in Washington, a protest at LAX airport, artist political group meetings, phone calls to congress, and more; how her “being active” was a necessary reaction to the extreme change in the political landscape, and how protests – boots on the ground — matter because the visibility and solidarity of resistance is a key arm of resistance that lets those in power know that you’re angry, and then that you’re still angry ; the phone calls she makes as a constituent, which she scripts beforehand since she gets stage fright (and her stage fright in general, which causes her some lost sleep before artist talks, etc.; how after the election (presidential), for a few weeks in the studio everything felt ‘ridiculous, pointless and inconsequential,’ and  so she pivoted to ‘what can I do today’ to address the new climate…and the research that she uses for her art translated to her research for political action; her top picks for movies about protest, most notably Selma, Gandhi, and Trumbo, the latter of which is especially appropriate because it’s about artists/cultural figures being resisters; her series of ‘Terrible Roman Emperors’ paintings, echoing the fact that there are certain characteristics of a terrible leader that repeat throughout history; how she feels that visual artists have a niche and a platform to visually communicate information that is digestible in such a way (to the opposition) in order to create a shift; Kysa defines the difference between art that is beautiful (dark, sublime, etc.) and pretty (only for the eyes), and how one of her favorite movies, Amadeus, represents that dichotomy; how one is best served in their activism/actions by picking the thing that they’re most interested in addressing, because everyone is wanting to do something different.