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News Filmmaker has a head for heights

Artist Melanie Manchot was in the North East bright and early today filming on the rooftop of one of the most recognisable and iconic buildings in the UK for her new film, Tracer

Commissioned by Great North Run Culture, the film features ten North East parkour runners, or traceurs, making their way along the course of the Bupa Great North Run. After meticulous planning to make sure the shoot could go ahead safely, Melanie and her team filmed 18 year old Andrew Vasey from Washington performing parkour on the roof of The Sage Gateshead at dawn this morning. 

Tracer is a portrait of the landscape of the North East and the incredible feats these young performers are capable of. Parkour, or freerunning, has become more popular since featuring in movies such as Casino Royale and The Bourne Ultimatum. Melanie’s film proposes a new perspective on this exciting discipline: filmed in long takes, it focuses on how the parkourists trace a route across spaces, interacting with and becoming part of the urban environment.

Filming for Tracer started in the early hours of the morning on the day of the 2012 Great North Run when the team from Apeuro Freerunning performed an amazing display in the underpass of the closed central motorway in Newcastle city centre before tens of thousands of runners streamed through. Since then, Melanie has captured some incredible footage including one of the parkourists running along the top of the Newcastle Swing Bridge while in motion as a film crew captured all the action from the top of the Tyne Bridge Towers. The artist also filmed a group portrait of hundreds of Great North Runners at both the start and finish areas of the Run on race day last September.

Melanie explains, "I’m working with a group of local parkour runners to re-imagine the architecture and spaces along the route of the Great North Run through the amazing discipline and philosophy of parkour. Through the parkourists’ movements these iconic, atmospheric locations are rearticulated and brought to life in unexpected ways. We’re very excited to be able to continue on our path into Gateshead by filming on the roof of The Sage. Andrew will perform a very sculptural move and handstand on the roof, which will look stunning outlined against the aesthetic of this unique building and the skyline beyond.”

Beth Bate, Director of Great North Run Culture, said, "We're delighted to be working with Melanie to show the course of the Bupa Great North Run in a completely new way. Every year we invite artists to apply for our Moving Image Commission and every year we’re amazed at the talent and the diversity of ideas out there. Whether they focus on the runners, the elite athletes, the landscape or its incredible heritage, it seems the Run has the ability to continue to inspire artists in new and exciting ways.”

Tracer by Melanie Manchot will be presented as part of Great North Run Culture’s 2013 programme in September; more details will be announced next month and you can see spectacular photos on our Facebook page.



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