No documentary about urbanisation is complete without New York and interviewees on Urbanized criticised the highway that rings Manhattan cutting residents off from the waterway. In a city where pedestrians are king and the neatly hidden subway is the true lifeline of the city, the highway makes little sense.
But the pulse of this city was brought to life by Graham Elliot’s documentary New York in Motion. Focusing on the motion graphics scene in New York, it complements Urbanized by capturing the frenetic life of the city with fast editing and loose camera work. It brings the most prominent players in the field together in a conversation about the processes and inspiration that drive the industry.
“The ongoing digital revolution has brought with it an era of digital democracy,’ says Elliot, who aimed to explore why New York remains such a vortex of this global industry. “It seems almost contrary to the sign of the times that any one geographical location should be home to such an incredible concentration of the top players and creatives in the field,’ he says.
Elliot filmed New York’s practitioners of motion graphics in the middle of their daily routines. When they are not at their desk, they are on the streets, on the subway or even paddling the waterways around the city which is, in essence, their muse. The gritty urban landscape and people of New York are used as the backdrop, intercut with graphics that the designers have brought to life on our digital screens. One is left with a sense that both the city and designers are performing a rhythmic dance that is gaining momentum and that the motion graphics industry will always feed off the energy of this city.
By Anton Crone
Screen Africa magazine- May 2012