NEWS: Amber on Film – South Shields Spotlight @ Customs House | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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After a massively successful, award-winning retrospective at Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery, Amber Films will be showcasing two of their most heartfelt portraits drawing on working class life in South Tyneside at Customs House in South Shields on Thursday 30th June.

It all makes for an exciting and rare opportunity to see the work of the North East’s most highly regarded film & photography collective, As an added bonus, there’s also a talk and Q&A with one of the original filmmakers, Peter Roberts. First up, it’s 1969’s Maybe. Amber’s first ever film. Centred on the engine room of The Northumbria Ferry, and a gentle, thoughtful man who works within, it looks at more than just the journey it takes across the River Tyne between North Shields and South Shields. The man in question reminisces about his life, and the life of the river, and considers his retirement in anticipation of the ferry being taken out of service.

Laurie  from 1978 is the second film, which focuses its gaze on Laurie Wheatley – a South Shields-born plasterer, Pinewood model maker and self-taught sculptor, painter and photographer. The 1930s gave us a  group of working class artists, and this one from South Shields was one of the collective’s early influences. Commissioned by Amber to make a sculpture of a welder, this film not only documents the process, but contrasts Laurie’s artistry with his own, self-deprecating self-awareness of himself as a craftsman more than an artist. “I’m a manual worker really” – he says, in an intimate portrait of an unusual and accomplished man.

Amber On Film comes to Customs House, South Shields on Thursday 30th June.

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