Astronauts, Vikings and Ghosts is a 60 min documentary produced and directed by Robert Haines and edited and written by award winning editor Stuart de Jong.
In the 70's, in my hometown of Merthyr Tydfil, as a 19 year old photography student I photographed my family, my friends, and sometimes just total strangers, capturing what I thought were ordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people. I took hundreds of photographs, put them in a box and forgot about them. Forty years later I rediscovered the box. Suddenly the people in the photographs didn't seem so ordinary any more. Now everybody wanted to see the images. A book and an exhibition followed. Intrigued I decided to try and find the people I'd photographed. I wanted to find out what their lived had been like. Some hadn't had the chance to grow old, but others told me about the life they'd led, since that single moment I'd recorded all those years ago.
"The people I’d photographed came back to me like ghosts from the past…"
The film looks at how, over a period of forty years, life changed for the people of Merthyr. It is a remarkable portrait of a community - poetic and elegiac, funny and touching. It shows that, when looked at closely, no life is ordinary.
Sadly, Mansel Davies passed away November 9th 2010.
Rev David Protheroe
Also, Rev David Protheroe passed away January 25th 2012.
"Astronauts, Vikings and Ghosts" won the Best Documentary prize.
"A touching documentary about a photographer who revisits his past, by visiting the town and the people he photographed in the 1970's. From the coal town of Wales, Merthyr Tydfil, this beautifully shot documentary reminds those who watch it how beautiful life is and how much we should cherish every day. The photographs are stunning and this is a truly accomplished and powerful piece of work"
The Film Festival Review of Film
Astronauts, Vikings and Ghosts was broadcast by ZDF/Arte on television in both France and Germany on February 13th 2012, Febuary 21st and March 1st on it's prestigeous La Lucarne slot.
An open window for documentary creativity, La Lucarne (the skylight) is that rare place on television that welcomes idiosyncratic non-fiction works. Disseminated by Arte / France, its shows are made available to viewers in France, Germany, Belgium, and Austria. La Lucarne de ARTE recently celebrated its first decade, during which it showcased work by established filmmakers (Chris Marker, Alain Cavalier, Naomi Kawase, Alexandre Sokourov, Lech Kowalski) as well as programs by emerging documentarians.
Astronauts, Vikings and Ghosts was selected for the 30th International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in Montreal March 15-25 2012. It is the world's largest festival of films on art. It was screened on March 17th at Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art.
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