Double vision as twins celebrate film debut

Aug 19th 2008 by Vicky Anderson Liverpool Daily Post

THE Singh Twins, better known for their work that can be put in a frame rather than on the big screen, were celebrating their first film premiere last night.

The Wirral artists, alongside actor Mark McGann, songwriter Steve Mason, and a team from Liverpool- based animators Sparkle Media, held a question and answer session for invited guests to the first screening of The Making of Liverpool, at Fact.

The 13-minute animated film was inspired by their painting Liverpool 800, commissioned for the 2007 birthday of the city.

Sisters Amrit and Rabindra – who quickly point out who is who, but both immediately say they would rather be referred to as "the twins" than separately – had been working on the project since March.

"We had a lot of feedback about the painting, people would email and even stop us in the street wanting to know more about the detail and what it represented," they said.

"We’ve always had an interest in film, so we thought we would try and tell the history of the people of Liverpool using the painting."

Liverpool 800, which hangs in St George’s Hall, is crammed full of intricate and hand-painted symbols of the city and its culture – sometimes a recognisable figure, sometimes patterns recognisable to only the most eagle-eyed – all laden with a meaning relating to moments in history.

Its sister commission for Capital of Culture year, Pool of Life, is on display at the Bluecoat.

The Making of Liverpool was a chance to take the wealth of information in the first painting and explain the deeper meaning.

To narrate the film, and to make sure that Liverpool’s poetic history was not ignored in the culture mix, the sisters wrote a poem, read by Mark McGann – who agreed to take part immediately.

The film ends with the new song, City with Wings, written and performed by Steve Mason, to a backdrop of real footage of Liverpool intertwined with the Singh Twins’ irresistible animation.

"We are always looking for new ways to bring our work to a wider audience," they said.

"Although it is great that the painting can be seen in St George’s Hall, it limits the audience, and now we will be able to take the film out across the UK and internationally."

It has already been entered into several film festivals and to qualify for some, as part of the selection process, the film cannot yet be shown to public audiences.

As soon as it is known whether The Making of Liverpool makes it into the London Film Festival in September, The Twins will be able to start arranging more screenings.

"The film is looking great, and there is nothing like seeing it on the big screen," they said.

"We usually work to such small scale that it is amazing to see it blown up to that size.

"Everyone involved has been really enthusiastic and given 100%.

"We had a few reservations at the start. We are comfortable working together as artists, but this was the first time we have worked with others, and we were worried about translating our idea and making it reality, but everyone did a fantastic job."

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