Fat Rat Films have teamed up with a variety of composers to produce an amazing series of films called Hidden Lives which capture the lives of ordinary people who often go unnoticed and brings them to life.
Going from country to country, opposite ends of the world, you will experience the life of ‘The Street Chef of Gulshan’, ‘The Singer of Paratay’ and ‘The Villagers of San Miguel’.
There is a profound connection between each film and its music. The composers have managed to create master pieces which link to the film creating an exhilarating ambience for viewers. It gives a whole other meaning to the films engrossing the viewer to experience a different culture and see the beauty of nature.
Whist watching one short film I found myself travelling with the guide on his bike through the city, flowing with the beautifully composed music which suddenly came to a halt and I found myself back in my own surroundings.
Who could have thought that it would be captivating to watch a group of boys catching fish from the sea in Colombia?
It is very true that these are the simple pleasures in life that we miss; they are there but go un-noticed. We are so engrossed in our own busy worlds that we do not stop and look at the beauty that surrounds us, the rich diversity of cultures, the breathtaking scenery or even the beautiful language of another nation.
Whilst watching the series I found that there was the theme of poverty in many of them. Children who should be at school but are at home with their mothers helping with household chores along with the poters carrying luggage through the mountains of Peru. This highlighted the struggle against a globalised world but through which there are smiles. Smiles which made me see the happiness in simplicity.
This series is a must watch for everybody it not only inspires but will also reignite a hidden passion to go travelling, discover new hidden treasures and create new experiences getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Everybody will have their own interpretation on the series but it is always interesting to know what the producers of films think and feel about their own work. So I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Gemma Atkinson one of the producers of the mini-series.
Why do you think it’s important to see the daily life we never notice?
Coming from a big city, I know how easy it is to do – you dismiss the most beautiful things about life which in essence is its people. Natural beauty is important but what really makes a place is the people who live in it. I see it happen in London all the time where we annoy one another rather than appreciating one another. When you see a team of people working together like in ‘The Fisherboys of Palomino’ you realise life is so simple and at its best when you interact with those around you. It’s easy to frown and walk head down when we pass workers in the road but what they’re doing is as beautiful as the Fisher boys – it’s about the universal language or wordless communication.
What is the significance of the music for you?
Film is all about collaboration. We gave the composer’s free reign to interpret these films in any way they wanted. They’re all brilliant musicians so we trusted them implicitly and were excited to hear how they developed these films from our original perspective. We have one view of the lives we were filming because we saw them in the flesh. We liked the idea that the composers only saw it through our lens – they were the first audience but then their take on these lives developed it in ways we hadn’t imagined.
How are the musicians chosen for each film?
What we like about all the composers we used is that their music gets better with each listen. It’s so detailed that you keep finding new aspects to it, every time you watch the films.
Nicholas Singer who wrote music for 5 of the 8 films is someone we’ve worked with for 10 years so we trust him implicitly and he always gets our vision and translates that perfectly through his composition.
Abigail Fry is another amazingly talented composer who we’ve known for 20 years – she scored our latest documentary Shooting the Tribe which is coming out soon. She is a brilliant viola player, who usually plays with British Sea Power but also does individual scores for films.
We’ve never worked with Tandis Jenhudson before but we were introduced to him through a friend and since then, we’ve always wanted to work with him and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Luana Caribe was a singer we came across in a bar in Brazil, the combination of her voice and the way she sang was so powerful we knew we wanted to give her a wider audience.
How were you able to choose the people and the locations in each film?
It was more about arriving at a place and if it felt right, we’d spend a while (anywhere from a couple of days to a month) sussing the place out, the people who lived there, the atmosphere and only once we felt we had absorbed it, we’d start to film. It was often about looking for one thing and finding another. In Paraty, Brazil, we were at a music festival, looking for an interesting subject and we went into a tiny bar to get a drink and discovered Luana singing to a small audience. We ended up staying in there for the rest of the evening, ignoring the rest of the festival, as we were so captivated by her voice and her performance. That was the first one we filmed and that set the tone for the rest of the series.
The producers of the series are keen to make more shirt films and are asking you the readers to suggest places where you believe could feature in this ongoing project, so email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hidden Lives Series Vimeo Channel: