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Elliot Grove
Filmmaker

London, U.K.
May 21, 2009

Mesmerized by the moving image from a young age, but unable to watch TV or films until his early teens due to the constraints of his Amish background, Canadian-born Elliot Grove followed up formal art school training with a series of jobs behind the scenes in the film industry. Working as a scenic artist on feature films and commercials in his native Toronto, he developed a distaste for the wasted resources on set and union red tape that prevented filmmaker wannabes like him from getting their own features off the ground. Elliot moved to London in the late 1980s and thirteen years ago, when the British Film Industry was drowning in self-pity, launched the Raindance Film Festival, a festival devoted to independent filmmaking and its emerging talent. Last year's Raindance line-up included seventy independent features and one hundred and fifty shorts from forty countries.
Upholding the ethos of Raindance, Elliot wrote, produced and directed 1997's feature, Table 5, for just over £200. He also lectures on screenwriting and filmmaking throughout the UK and Europe, and in 1992 set up the training division of Raindance which now offers nearly three dozen evening and weekend masterclasses on writing, directing, producing and marketing a feature film. These courses are designed for those with no formal training who want to break into the film industry or for professionals who want to refresh their skills. Raindance Canada is currently running workshops Wednesday evenings until the middle of June.
Grove’s new book Beginning Filmmaker is to be published in the States and Canada by Barrons in July 2009. Britain’s Open University have just announced that Elliot is to receive an Honourary Doctorate for services to education this summer.
 

1. Zombie Crawl

My hometown Toronto may have been the venue of the first documented non-commercial Zombie Walk (also known as a Zombie Mob, March, Horde, Lurch, Shuffle or Pub Crawl). A Zombie Walk is a legitimate social networking event where people dress up as zombies and take to the city streets. Movies like Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, and 28 Days Later helped popularize zombie culture so it’s now hip to be a zombie. Essentials of a Zombie Walk include zombie make-up, costumes, DIY blood (six pints clear corn syrup, three pints red food coloring, one pint liquid nondairy creamer, one drop blue food coloring [formula courtesy of Bruce Campbell]) and a healthy amount of booze to perfect the zombie gait.

2. Sixth Sense

Check out the Sixth Sense brain implant – the stuff science fiction is made of. Imagine looking at your boarding pass and immediately accessing information about the flight being delayed or a change in the gate number. Imagine looking as cool as Tom Cruise in Minority Report. The rudimentary form being developed by MIT uses a camera and a battery-powered projection system with a mirror to communicate with a cell phone that acts as a communication and computation device. The owner of all this equipment is able to walk up to any surface and use his hands to interact with information projected in front of him. To believe it, you have to see it.

3. Oral Storytelling

Oral storytelling is an intimate part of my Amish background. I grew up with the tradition of stories around the table at supper time and of endless Bible stories told by my elders at Sunday school.
The mass media which led people away from book culture has helped renew the importance of storytelling in oral communication. Search under “The Ancient Art of Storytelling” on YouTube for some fascinating clips.

4. Dave McKean

Little did I know when I produced a couple shorts in the mid-nineties for Dave McKean that I would be involved creatively with such a Renaissance-type modern day genius. He writes, he's one of Britain's top jazz musician, he paints, he illustrates, and he makes movies that shock and disturb. I'm working with him on a novel I wrote about my childhood experiences growing up in Somalia.

5. Music

I love music in all shapes and forms. Two of my current favorites are beatboxing (especially the two British practioners, Beardyman and Nathan “Flutebox” Lee playing together at Google HQ in London) and the all-girl British band Bat For Lashes.

 

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