Written by Chanelle Leslie
With a name only one letter away from being ‘sex on the street’, it’s hard not to notice Adelaide’s freshest up-and-coming film.
6 on the St is the name of the documentary birthed by Your Take Sessions, a group of dynamic young filmmakers, who last year set out to shine the spotlight on local music artists with six-minute episodes published online. This year, with the government’s support, the episodes have been collated to create a full-length documentary that discusses the state of the local music scene. With the film due to debut at Mercury Cinemas on October 29, UniLife Magazine was excited to talk to producer Sam Wright about the project.
Like most good things, it all came together when a couple of friends had too much to drink.
‘We were sitting at the Exeter, and I had noticed that Ariana [Woods, the documentary presenter] had drunk quite an amount of wine, and she pretty well had a carafe of wine to herself,’ said Wright. ‘I saw an opportunity to make a greater thing happen and asked if she could present 6 on the St. She let out a drunken “yeah”, and 6 on the St was born.’
A documentary presenter isn’t the kind of opportunity most young men would see in a drunk girl, but as Wright puts it, ‘some get laid, some get a documentary.’
The idea was birthed in Canada, after a night of scouring YouTube in a labour of love.
‘[My flatmate and I] were watching videos continuously, and he was raving about this hot girl that he’d seen playing on this music video and we were like, okay… we’ll try to find it. Then we searched for an hour, two hours, it was a long time; he was kind of desperate to show us… She was fairly hot, but the important thing was the way it was shot. Everything was really interesting, and I’d never seen it before.’
The video that Wright had stumbled upon was by La Blogothèque, a French website that makes short films about international music artists in a way that hasn’t been emulated by traditional media.
‘From there, I jumped into this whole idea of filming in a way that’s really spontaneous and that’s not at all planned,’ said Wright of his moment of inspiration. ‘You can tell that they’ve literally just rocked up there, started rolling the cameras, and let the person speak.’
Although there’s often a pervading sense of parochialism among artists about their originality, Wright is frank about La Blogothèque being his source of inspiration.
‘I don’t think there’s any problem with copying, as long as you’re being honest about where you’re copying from, that’s for sure. And I try to be as honest about that as I can; I don’t pretend like 6 on the St was my idea.
‘People like [La Blogothèque] are more than for it. And so they should be. The idea is getting recycled around the world now. Melbourne has Sideshow Alley TV, which is amazing as well. And then Sydney actually have completely copied the idea of Blogothèque, but with La Blogothèque’s support, and it’s called Shoot the Player. So I don’t think there’s any problems with people doing it; it’s just allowing people to see more artists in a bit of a refreshing way for some people who just maybe only will discover that today.’
Clearly this isn’t someone who is seeking glory for himself or his team, but rather someone who’s genuinely enthusiastic about supporting the local arts industry – a rare trait in Adelaide. Indeed, it’s rare to find South Australian artists who aren’t counting down the minutes until they leave for the big smokes of Melbourne or Sydney. But Wright won’t stand for that attitude.
‘People see the barrier between Melbourne and Sydney [and Adelaide], and the fact that people see a barrier is an issue right there. Why should we even compare ourselves to Melbourne? We’re never going to be Melbourne. We’re Adelaide. We’re smaller. Everybody knows everybody. And it strikes me as bizarre that people don’t see that as an advantage, the fact that we know each other.
‘Ianto [Ware, of Format Collective and Renew Adelaide] touches on it a lot in the doco, about us being a small city but at the same time that you don’t have to be a huge city.’
While he admits that ‘there could be so much more happening’ in Adelaide, he points to organisations such as Format Collective, Fourwords and Stobie Sounds as examples of local enthusiasts making huge progress towards a more art-focused culture.
‘You know, it’s interesting because we talk about what’s going on here to friends in Melbourne and Sydney, and they get excited by it, so that really demonstrates that it’s doing well.’
So well, in fact, that Your Take Sessions was recently invited to film Washington after her manager was impressed by their video of Old Man River on a ferris wheel. Since the initial episodes were published online in 2010, they’ve filmed Cloud Control, Katie Noonan and Birds of Tokyo, and had one of their films screened to 14,000 people at a public forum with the Dalai Lama.
Despite all the hype, Wright isn’t developing any airs about his work.
‘It feels like Adelaide’s the equivalent of making the first album, which is generally gold, and it’s a bit rough around the edges,’ Wright said, ‘We’re always learning.’
6 on the St will be screened over three sessions on October 29 at Mercury Cinemas.