The moment of grief and the journey of grieving is shown through Naomi's abstract fractured memories and emotions when she visits her recently deceased dad in the Chapel of Rest to say goodbye.

Using dance, performance and abstract animations showing the journey through grief, Rest depicts Naomi trying to reconcile difficult moments, lost opportunities and regret with the positive memories she shared with her father. The emotion and memories clash together to bring her through her painful confusion to a place where she can come to terms with the loss.

You can read about the behind the scenes and see some pictures from the shoot here.

2016 in development

Looking ahead to 2016 and my continuing drive towards making more films and pushing the political and social nature of the work I'm doing, there's a few key projects that I'm developing for shooting in the first half of the year.  Alongside these, towards the end of last year I started a group of political film makers in Bristol with my friend Elizabeth - we're trying to build stronger networks of people working in political film and documentary to help each other out and create better work and create more of an impact with what we make.  As a lot of us are not mainstream film makers- due to the subject matter, the main route forward in funding, production and exhibition is through making stronger networks, working together and finding grass routes audiences and building small and big movements where we can.

A Hopeful Journey
This is a quick film about a 2 year old girl fleeing a catastrophe in her hometown.  It's a 3 minute short that I'm filming with my (nearly three year old) daughter in Feb/March.  She hard at work in rehearsals.  The film is about growing up, maturity and innocence, as well as bringing in some other subtle themes of a girl in puberty as well as being a refugee.  It's an experiment in creating a film around what a really young child can do and making the most of some expressions she knows, some ways of moving and eating and acting and being a kid.

The Border Between Them and Us
I've been reading a lot about and of Brecht in the last year, and wanting to create something that fits in with his various ideas about the distancing effect to push political ideas, I've been working on a 10 minute script about a group of refugees at a border crossing who have various statuses as migrant and refugees and their experience of being allowed or denied access to safety.  Each actor switches roles in each 'scene' to show the artifice of not only the film, but also borders and nation state constructions of citizen and immigration.  I'm hoping to shoot this in April or May with a group of real refugees playing the roles and bringing some of their experience to the piece.

If you're local to Bristol and interested in meeting and networking with others making political film work (in various forms) check out the Facebook group here

Projection & Frame

Projection & Frame from Jonathan Hardy on Vimeo.

The purpose of art and specifically film for me is the connection with the audience, my work might be political at times - because I want to talk politics with the audience, my work may be emotional at times - because I want to engage the audience on a raw emotional level. Whilst Projection & Frame is not specifically political or with emotional rawness, it still has audience engagement at it’s centre - pushing the audience to react to the subject - a normally passive character in their portrait viewing. We turn the tables on the audience as they go from being in control - the objectifier - to the objectified.

Then how will the viewer feel? Their position as viewer will change with each emotional shift - some may feel awkward at the unwanted voyeurism, some may feel a lack of power at being watched by a portrait, some may question their position as a viewer and how they should feel peering into the identity of another.

The aim is to push the boundaries of portraits and their purpose, which are often one way, a passive image, static, sometimes emotionless, looking for a truth in who that person is - but here we have an active, false person, pushing back on the people that have come to see someone else laid bare in a gallery.

This debuted at the NeoPortraiture exhibition in April 2015 at the Island gallery, Bristol, when viewed in the gallery the piece was lifesize and at eye level, so there was a real sense of confrontation when standing just inches away from the subject.

Concept and Filming - Jonathan Hardy
Actor - Catherine Guy

Call for moving image artists

I’m a filmmaker and artist (among other things) looking to get a few Bristol filmmakers/artists/other together in 2015 to create an informal group to potentially put on an exhibition.  I’m really looking to bring together a loose collective of moving image artists (or related fields) as this is my area of work primarily, although it would be interesting to see how slightly different disciplines/mediums/styles/technologies could work side by side in a single exhibition and compliment each other.

By day I’m a director/writer/producer of mainly animation, drama, music videos and live visuals but I’ve been looking towards video art for some new projects so its a slightly new field for me (whilst closely connected to a lot of work I’ve already done)  you can see more about me here:

Looking for Bristol artists only (or very close by) as it’s nice to have a local thing to build on.  It’s an informal thing really, so if you are also looking for this type of thing then it would be interesting to hear about your practice and art. I'm assuming that whatever is done (both art and show) will be self funded. I don’t know how many people we’d need to form the informal group, but it would be good to hear your ideas as well. 

Please get in touch via if you have any questions or to tell me about your art.

Around 80 Days In The World

Last July my partner Laura was rushed to hospital at 27 weeks of pregnancy.  After 4 days of a worsening situation the surgeons decided to operate.  During the operation they had to deliver the baby - so our daughter, Lux, was born 3 months early, weighing 2.2lbs and spent nearly the equivalent time getting healthy enough to come home.

Although I naturally would take photos or film my new baby, this was a different situation.  Not knowing at times if she would survive I filmed and took pictures each day because the act of filming, creating a documentary whilst in the middle of horrendous turmoil and uncertainty meant that I had hope for the future - I knew I wouldn't ever show this film had she not survived, so filming meant I had hope that she would. On the worst days in the hospital, at times when it was touch and go I continued filming, because to give up on filming would be giving up on the hope that she would be ok.

Thanks always to all the staff at St. Michael's Hospital in Bristol for helping us through one of the most difficult times in our lives and looking after our baby when she came into the world. We owe so much to so many people.

Cots for tots is the charity that supports special care babies in St. Michaels hospital -

Also thanks to Bliss, a charity that helps premature and special care babies -

Music by Chris Mears -
Supported by Scubaboy Inc -

'Rest' shoot

After a few small delays last year then a huge delay when my daughter was born 3 months early last August (1 week before the scheduled shoot) we finally shot 'Rest' this week. 

'Rest' is a very short film about grief and grieving. The intense moment of distress and pain and the never ending journey of missing someone and the loss that stays with you.

I conceived the film in the year after my step dad (who I had lived with since I was 5) died after a long illness but all the same to young and too suddenly. The interim few years since have thrown up many different feelings and confusions about the step dad/step son relationship as well as a general sense of loss and trying to make sense in some small way to what happened to my family. 'Rest' is part of me working through those thoughts and emotions but in a wider sense to hopefully universalise grief and grieving and connect with others who have also lost.

Working with a local producer Lee Rayner to bring my 4 page script to life, we started casting and preproduction in Feb 2013. After all the stop and starts mentioned above (and in the meantime the perfect shooting space opening) we eventually shot mainly at Band Films amazing studio in South Bristol. We also had a two interiors at a local hotel and then a few skeleton-crew car driving and roadside shots.

Although it was a big task to get to this point where all the shots are in the can, we're probably only actually about a third of the way through the film due to the huge amount of vfx that will be commencing shortly.  

Here's a bunch of stills from the shoot...

Slate (I think we ended up shooting about 50 over the two days)

Green screen/jib/dance extravaganza 

Me discussing shots with the DoP

The most complex shot of the film, when the coffin lifts up and rotates to come face to face with the person standing over it. But we left the coffin still and cheated actor positions, did a clever camera move and rotated the lights around to fake the movement.

Scott setting up for a shot in the Chapel of Rest.

Having a wrap drink with the crew whilst we copied rushes over in a busy bar, on the floor! Rarely advised. That's the RED Epic camera that we shot on also on the floor!

Studio panorama!

It was one of my favourite experiences working on a short, with a great crew (of which I've only worked with the DoP before). Looking tentatively forward to the mass of post production and then moving on to my next film.

Lonely The Brave - Lyric Videos

You would probably describe Lonely The Brave as a rock band, but that really only tells half the story.

There's something a bit different about these guys and their songs, and we knew straight away we wanted to be involved with what they were doing. It was also pretty exciting to get the opportunity to be involved with a project like this from the start, something we've been keen to do for a while.

The idea is for each video to represent something visually relevant to song based around the lyrics which have been hand-written by Dave, the bands lead signer.

This is an ongoing project and we will be uploading new projects here as we go.

Creative Directors - James Ward, Jon Hardy
Design, Animation, Editing - James Ward
Editing - Jon Hardy

We Are The Ocean - Chin Up, Son

Our friends at Hassle Records contacted us late 2012 and asked us if we could help them out with a video they wanted to make for one of their bands. 'We Are The Ocean' are known as a rock band with a pretty serious image - these boys know how to make a noise.

The final track on their latest album however, is a bit more acoustic in nature than their usual sound, and they wanted to shoot a video that showed a different side to the band - something a bit more light-hearted.

We were up for the challenge and pulled together a shoot in super quick time to fit in with the bands schedule. We essentially spent a day making a huge mess at The Trinity Centre in Bristol playing with toys usually reserved for a 7th birthday party! The band were up for it and got stuck in, and we all had a good laugh, which hopefully comes across in the finished video.

Director - Scubaboy
Producer - Mease, James Ward
Editor - James Ward Jon Hardy
Grade - Stef Roberts
Camera & Lighting - Ian Oakley
Grip - Stef Roberts
Production Assistant - Joe O'Hare

The politics of cinema and film making

A short introduction about who I am and what I want.

I believe in the power of cinema, I've been affected and altered numerous times, my thoughts have been provoked, I've questioned myself, I've doubted the world, I've loved more and been educated countless times.  This is why I believe in the power of the cinema, in the power of art to inspire, change and connect to a viewer.

I became a film maker because I wanted to be part of that inspiration, connection and change.  I have many motivations and interests in the world that I want to explore - human rights, feminism, oppression, politics and Politics.  I consider myself a very political person, I regularly get involved in human rights and feminist campaigns, I'm pretty angry about the way the world works and I want to make it better.

I've been involved in various levels of the film industry - I've produced short films, I've directed music videos, I've worked on huge hollywood blockbusters and more. I've worked on over 100 film or video projects of all sizes, varieties and styles and one of my biggest concerns in all this is the horrendous under representation of women, people of colour, disabled people, LGBT people and other excluded groups in nearly all projects I've been part of - both on screen and on set.  This really matters.

There's often a lot of questioning and other groundwork behind my scripts and films so I thought I'd collect these thoughts, provide some arguments and provoke some thoughts about some of these issues that occupy my mind so that they can occupy my blog.

2012 round up

2012 has mainly been a busy year for working on building my production company Scubaboy Inc and also writing. I think I've laid some fairly solid foundations for working on not only some exciting animation projects and music videos with Scubaboy Inc, but also for some great shorts, the first I'm hoping to shoot in February.

InPerfection - I've spent the year continually rewriting the outline every time I work a little more with the composer, which ins a good thing. On the development front, we've made a small bit of progress with getting some great productions companies to potentially back the project, but no definite investors yet. It's always positive to get into the right meetings though, it shows there's some interest in a projects such as this.

Other projects - 'Rest' - I've spent the last few months of 2012 working on a very short, near-silent film about grief - a theme I've wanted to explore for a few years (since a personal experience) I've written something highly visual, but also supposedly very inexpensive, so hopefully just scraping together some money to get it going - its been too long shooting pure drama, so I'm looking forward to it.

All my other projects are currently still on official hold (including 'a family flees') whilst I concentrate on these films. Although unofficially I'm still tinkering with scripts and revising characters every now and again.

Looking forward to 2013.