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Artists' Moving Image

Thieves


2023 | Colour | English | 25mins 

Producer: Melanie Cura Daball
Writer-Director: Michelle Williams Gamaker

 

South London Gallery, from 31 March 2023

Anna May Wong is found on set by Sabu, but there is something wrong: she is in black-and-white while everything else is in Technicolor, and both find themselves trapped in their screen-images. Both must navigate the structural violence on set (in this case, the casting of white actors to replace actors of colour) by joining forces to overthrow the set and those in charge.

The Bang Straws

2021 | Colour | English | 17mins

Producer: Qila Gill

Writer-Director: Michelle Williams Gamaker

London BFI Film Festival 2022 - in Competition, Highly Commended

Aesthetica Film Festival 2022 - Best Experimental Film

Winterthur Film Festival 2022

London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, 2022

 

An aesthetically invigorating reworking of the casting process of Sidney Franklin's The Good Earth (1937) (1937), a film notorious for a white actor's racist portrayal of a Chinese character.

Other Work

I have been hired as writer on the following television series: 

Dirt

2008 | 47min | Colour | English

Producers: Steven Markovitz, Platon Trakoshis
Writer: Elan Gamaker
Cast: Brenda Ngxoli, James Cuningham, Tony Kgoroge, Clare Berlein
Cinematography: Christopher Wessels
Hair/Make-Up: Nathaline Arendse
Costumes: Julita Dewet
Production Design: Di Sole
Editing: Eben Smal

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Work as film editor
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Next Year in Jerusalem

Stage Play | Two Acts | English | Comedy Drama

Shortlisted for the BBC International Radio Play Competition

When Jeanie Shapiro returns home after an absence of more than ten years to attend a Passover dinner, it’s not for reasons of either religious devotion or family love.

A late child and bulwark of opposition to her family’s materialism and Zionism, she must deal principally with her two sisters: Barbara and Sarah. She is closer to the warm but dependent Sarah than she is to bullish matriarch Barbara, but on a night marking both a religious feast and the coming-together of three sisters with secrets and secret grievances, a confrontation is in the offing.

It will become a night of restriction and revelation, and one that will change their lives forever.

Using as its setting the faded glory of religious ceremonies no longer at the forefront of family life, Passing Over deals with the notion of ritual as a device of exclusion rather than congregation. It also deals with how the sanctity of the family environment offers the potential for both emotional abuse and attempts at expression, as damaged people seek ways – through control and feeble attempts at communication – to connect with those whom they love.
 

Wayward Nature

Novel | 289pp | English

Shortlisted for the EU Literary Award
 

Aaron Wolpe, 33, botanist, obsessive, misanthrope and ephebophiliac, is the narrator of Wayward Nature, a love story about decay.

Aaron, fascinated with putrefaction, is working on a PhD that deals with fungi that attack plants the moment they die. As such, he travels to the town of Greyton in South Africa’s Western Cape, a region known for its excellent close-scale variation of topography and climate. However, his decision to do field work here is not entirely coincidental.

For Greyton is also the adopted home of Aaron's first love, Verna Heinrich. Now almost 50, Verna was an older woman to Aaron's virginal former self, and it was in his nascent sexual life that Aaron developed a twisted and co-dependent relationship with rot. Still fixated on the destruction that lopsided relationship caused and curious to see what became of Verna's family, Aaron attempts, against his better judgement, to track her down. 

Instead he runs into Katja Groll, 17, Verna's daughter. Katja is ebullient and impulsive, intelligent and short-tempered, and soon joins Aaron on his field research, more out of curiosity for him than for his work. 

The two begin an affair. As Katja begins to form an attachment to Aaron, he seeks ways both intellectual and emotional to justify their bond while simultaneously nullifying it. He seeks a way out just as Katja's pull – and the redemption her submission represents – threatens to hold him forever. 

Soon the tables are turned, as Aaron begins to do anything to hold on to his prize. Now it is Katja who wants to flee the trap but, like Aaron, she cannot entirely pull herself free of the strange bond they have developed. 

When Aaron eventually does run into Verna shortly before his departure from the town, all comes to a head at a climactic barbecue at the Heinrich family home attended by the townsfolk for whom Aaron has spent a week feeling contempt and paranoia. 

Aaron narrates the passage of this week in the countryside to Katja's absentee father, ostensibly to make the point that every girl is someone's daughter and that 'there is no place for morality in the presence of decay'…

Short Films

Last Honeymoon

2011 | 7min | Colour | English


Producers: Jan Benk (Shtetl)
Writer: Elan Gamaker
Cast: Violet Culbo
Cinematography: Tomasz Brandseeschwalbe
Hair/Make-Up: Phillyda Shaw
Costumes: Michaela Fink
Production Design: Walter Peck
Editing: Neal Markage
 

A recently widowed woman retraces the route of her honeymoon, only to realise she stumbles upon the reason for her husband's untimely death. 

Juwes I Do Care 4 U

2005 | 3min | B&W 

Producer: Alan Comarsh 
Writer: Elan Gamaker
Cast: Peter Cohen
Cinematography: Julia Bartak
Hair/Make-Up: Thomas Muenstermann
Costumes: Lens Ghuty
Production Design: Ari Ketzenbaum
Editing: Neal Markage
 

As Jack the Ripper terrorised London's East End in the 1880s, clueless police needed a scapegoat. The natural answer was the area's Polish and Russian Jewish immigrants. This film plays into that prejudice. The graffito at the end gave it its title, because this was found by chance while shooting, and uses the same spelling as a graffito from the Ripper era.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va9FFPHBv4g

 

Draft Dodger

2004 | 4min | Colour 

Producer: Alan Comarsh 
Writer: Elan Gamaker
Cast: Cookie Monster & US Marshal
Cinematography: Julia Bartak
Editing: Steven Oppenheimer
 

Two figurines placed atop a washing machine in the spin cycle play out the time-honoured relationship between the draft dodger and the government agent bent on enforcing conscription.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKbKXjIUU38

Longing

2003 | 16min | B/W

Producer: Alan Comarsh 
Writer: Elan Gamaker
Cast: Mélodie Abad, Pete Kahn
Cinematography: Jean Meeran
Editing: Neal Markage
Sound Design: James Webb

Zebra Film Poetry Awards Competition, 2004

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