Cultural values and diversity are parameters increasingly marginalised in today’s flattened homogenous, ‘we-must-all-be-the-same’ societies. Differences are to be celebrated, as much as sameness.
‘Only through the diversity of personal interpretation does some sort of relative objective assessment emerge’.
This by the great Russian Filmmaker Andrey Tarkovsky frames how a consensus thinking can be reached when interpreting art. Yet, it underpins the dynamic of a group, as diverse in tastes and opinions in their growth. The Thirty watched, consulted and explored each other’s work.
As a black brit, born to Ghanaian parents, who grew up in the UK, spent time schooling in Ghana and working in South Africa, my ethnicity no more exclusively defines me, than my surname does. Alas, however we forge fixed and simplistic perceptions based on these. I am as likely to be interested in Impressionism as I might BME stories. This is one of the enduring achilles of our media industry and diversity.
Without diversity in people and ideas, and an understanding of their histories, where would creativity, and innovation be?
Abel Gance’s Triptych sequence in Napoleon, seen through the prism of Russian Dziga Vertov, Man with a Movie Camera, decanted through Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media posits theories of interactive documentary. Africa ( Yoruba) art influenced Picasso, giving rise to cubism. reflecting simultaineity — events happening at the same time, which shapes today’s working practices in different zones.
As a senior lecturer today managing International Masters students, my approach to fostering creativity and diverse opinions comes directly from my own experience of the alpha males and females of the Thirty.
The Thirty embraced new journalism methodologies that had not been tested and above all, deviated from the styles of TV News — until the disaster of forced coupling ( bringing in a new tier of execs) was forced upon them.
A core however stayed true to their beliefs and disruption. A sample include:
Dimitri Doganis, 20 years later would be nominated for an Oscar for a film called The Imposter. Everything he knows he said he learned from being one of the Thirty.
John Gilbert, an ITN reporter now mimicked Dylan’s Don’t look Back music video, reporting from a convent where speech was not allowed, or employed Hitchcock memes in his journalism.
Trish Adudu, now a radio and television host in the Midlands, whose love for Sports and reportage meant she’d follow the players filming them in their changing rooms if she sensed a good story.
Rav Vadgama — labelled the human swiss knife, now based at ITV who perfectly illustrates The Thirty mantra of working in any medium and using any assortment of equipment — satellite technology to mobile phones.
… and then there’s me. When I tracked down mostly all of The Thirty. I did so based on a hunch, a hunch that you could only truly understand incremental changes by allowing time, by looking in the rearview window to see the future — a twist on a saying by the media guru Marshall McLuhan.
If I was doing it, looking to cinema to explain and envelope any new form, who else was and why?
Chapter IV follows shortly…