I received my second Stack Magazine a couple of days ago. This month it was Shelf Heroes zine. It is essentially a fanzine celebrating films one letter at a time.
I found the concept fascinating, it is a submissions-based magazine with the simple brief, “Watch a film that begins with ‘H’, go create something.” Diverse artists and writers submit works – I was surprised by the hugely diverse results, including essays, short fiction, and page after page of illustrations that span a wide range of styles, formats and colour palettes.
Flicking through the craft matt pages, there was an unmissable sense of energy and enthusiasm evident which comes from asking people to create something based on movies they love. It seemed an open invitation for fans to rediscover and articulate the films that have inspired them – some of the pieces were disarmingly personal.
I particularly enjoyed Sarah Christie’s overview of Heavenly Creatures, seen in the context of her own emerging sexuality. Christie explores how the film speaks to LGBT viewers. “That the sexual nature of their friendship was framed as so unproblematic for the main characters was incredibly powerful to me when I watched the film.” I feel that the accompanying illustrations show the obsessive nature of the friendship, leading to murder. However the playful sympathetic nature of the two friends in love could be relatable to many teen viewers.
I also liked the Honey story board by Emma Cosh. “When I watch the dance, it feels like I’m dancing too.” It is said that the brain contains ‘mirror neutrons’ which fire both when we see and action and when we see someone else doing it. When I watch some dance or performance, it does feel like I am there which them; it is not the same as experiencing feelings, but it is close enough.
The Melodies of Her explores the ambient soundscapes of Spike Jonze’s Her. “The film is composed of painful loud moments and the softer intimacy of quietness.” This links to ASMR, feeling the tingling sensation of heightened sound and the chill of whispering – these effect everyone differently. Reading this essay made me wonder what compositions would soundtrack my memories and also appreciate the power of sound – music and human voice. These are essentially the foundations of human connection and communication.
This publication shows that with no real brief or direction, pieces can be produced that are as diverse and individual as the moving images that inspired it. This could be an idea for a future project; allowing individuals to express themselves creatively surrounding a particular subject matter and using the result to create outcomes or become inspiration for concepts.
My favourite film beginning with H would have to be Hairspray as I love musicals. I don’t know what I would create, but possibly something around the optimism and ambition displayed and also the theme of finding beauty in subjects that most would deem ugly.