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19th November 2014
Sparks fly
Title of film: Carhartt, Skate
Director: Jacob Harmer
Jacob Harmer's slice-of-life films for White Lodge explore relationships with the sea and city

Tell us a bit about your background – how did you get into making films? We spotted that you also edit as well as direct your own projects.

I always loved the juxtaposition of imagery over sound and feel no other art-form can personally evoke the emotional response of these two combined. It’s transcendental, like when dreams conjure up emotions you cannot fully describe once awake.

This was the starting point for me – toying with both mediums up until university where I focused on editing. Shortly after graduating I started to direct and found that it was more efficient to cut myself to keep my distinct vision. I still normally edit although on Skate I collaborated with a very talented editor and found working alongside him really helped in the decision-making process.

How did your documentary piece Nets come about? You managed to really capture the tone of the fishing community. Where did you shoot it?

Nets was set in my hometown of Hastings where the story and its protagonists were always close to my heart. I wanted to explore being born into a life at sea. It’s about heritage and the pride in your independence, the romantic ideal of earning a living on the water and the harsh realities entailed to do so.

Your latest piece, Skate, features model and artist Theo De Gueltzl. Did you know each other before the shoot or did you meet through casting?

We were tight already and I’d always admired Theo’s artistic drive. One evening we were discussing our personal approaches to our work when Theo described his life-long love of skateboarding as a key component in his creativity. Sparks started flying in my mind and our concept was born. It’s a meditative look at rolling and the freedom this can create both geographically and philosophically, an alternate approach to practising more extreme elements of the sport.

Your work seems to have found its flow in a documentary aesthetic with a music video edit style – what is it about this combination that appeals to you as a filmmaker?

My aim is to combine real life stories with a cinematic tone more akin to the movies. I try to give insight into worlds that I find inspiring and hope audiences can be enlightened too. The tales are easily digestible due to their short and dramatic nature – I find the style is an effective communicative tool in today’s time-squeezed society. Although concise I like to leave the stories open ended alluding to life’s continuing narrative. Ultimately I’d love my films’ themes to linger and offer a sense of curiosity and reflection for some time after their initial viewing.