2022 / Duration: 30 mins
It is hard to picture the scale of the iron industry of the Weald today. A large amount of the violence inflicted upon the landscape has healed, only expressing its scars when you know what to look for. However, beginning in the early 16th century, vast quantities of iron were extracted from the area due to the actions of an industry that lasted for over 200 years.
Coppice (2022) is a film rooted in a feeling of psychic dislocation with land. This feeling lead the filmmaker to begin a practise of monthly visits from his home, to a small woodland called Cutaway Wood within the Weald. What began as an attempt at re-enchantment, became a film focused on the industrial history inscribed in the topography of the woodland. Coppice weaves together footage of a year spent watching Cutaway change with the seasons, with sounds captured both above and below the canopy, all the way down into the earth itself. The result is a film poem that conjures the ghosts of the landscape.
Alongside the woodland and those who inhabit it, Sam Risley worked closely with Simon Adamczewski, a friend of the woodland and Lara Laeverenz, a singer and artist. With their own relation to the woodland, they become expressions of this search for communion.