Juilliard Experiment website launched

A dedicated website has been launched for Mark’s recent The Juilliard Experiment, a film which explores the French artist Fabienne Verdier’s residency at the Juilliard School of Music. The website includes bonus material, concert footage, and exclusive interviews with Kidel, Ghislain Baizeau, Phillip Lasser, Darrett Adkins and Edith Wiens. http://thejuilliardexperiment.com/

I Want to Take You Higher


After shooting an interview with Sly Stone in LA in June 2015, a trailer for Kidel’s documentary about Sly and The Family Stone has now been made and Kidel continues to develop the project in collaboration with ARTE France. The film will examine the genesis of Sly and the Family Stone and take the story through 1971’s landmark LP ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’ and on to 1973’s ‘Fresh’. Other band members will also contribute, while footage includes an unseen concert in Harlem.

Becoming Cary Grant

After 12 months of development, Kidel is set to start shooting next week for his latest project, a definitive biography about the Hollywood icon, Cary Grant. Cary Grant was a Bristol boy, born in Horfield and lived in various houses in Stokes Croft, Cotham Brow and Bishopston. Mark has made the most of the film’s Bristol connections: the soundtrack to the film will be made by Adrian Utley of Portishead and The Insects all of whom live and work in the Cary’s home town. The documentary is being produced by Yuzu Productions and is scheduled for completion in September 2016.

Schubert’s Greatest Hits: In development

Mark is developing “Schubert’s Greatest Hits”, a film in which the tenor Mark Padmore takes songs by Schubert out of the comfort zone of the concert hall and reaches out to audiences who have never heard the composer’s Lieder – the pop songs of their day – before. With a view to editing a trailer with which to raise further finance, Mark Padmore was filmed at an Islington Sixth Form College, offering a first-time introduction of Schubert to a group of composition students, many of them of Asian and Afro-Caribbean origin. Padmore was also filmed rehearsing and busking under Blackfriars Bridge, accompanied on harmonium and accordion by John Baggott, keyboard player for Portishead, Massive Attack and Robert Plant.

Seydou Keita

Mark has recently started development on a documentary about the legendary Malian portrait photographer Seydou Keita.

The development is being financed by RatPac Entertainment.

The Juilliard Experiment


Mark’s latest film, The Juilliard Experiment, was completed in January 2016. This feature-length film is about the French artist Fabienne Verdier’s residency at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, during which she explores the relationship between painting and music. The film documents Verdier’s collaborations with composers, musicians and singers in an open-ended experiment that ranged from Mozart to Jazz, from Handel to Elliott Carter. Mark Kidel’s s stirring and intimate documentary evokes some of the strongest moments in the artist’s adventurous journey, which, as she claimed afterwards, both liberated and fundamentally transformed her. The film allows the viewer to share in the ups and downs of the artist’s creative process. Back at her studio in France, Verdier continued the ‘Juilliard experiment’ with one of her New York collaborators, the composer Philip Lasser, free to explore further and on a much larger scale, the forms and energies that animate the worlds of image and sound.

Sly and the Family Stone


8 years in preparation, Mark’s feature-length documentary on Sly and the Family Stone is about to go into development and production. The film is being co-produced with Mike Lerner of Roastbeef TV in London, and developed with ARTE France and the BBC’s ARENA strand. Preliminary filming is due to begin in LA early in 2015.

The Island of 1000 Violins – Music in Taiwan

Mark’s latest film “The Island of 100 Violins” is now completed. This is a 52 minute documentary about music in Taiwan with Paris production company Artline Films, ARTE and Taiwan’s public television channel PTS. Taking as its staring point the Chimei Foundation’s collection of over 1300 top violins which is housed in the Southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, the film explores the place of Western classical music in Taiwan and the many-faceted musical identity of an island strongly drawn to the Europe and the USA but firmly rooted in traditional Chinese and Taiwanese culture. The film which features musicians Lin Cho-Liang, Chen Pi-Hsien, Sophie Wang, Anne Sophie Mutter and the Szymanowski Quartet will be broadcast on ARTE and PTS in 2015. The film has been selected in competition at FIPA (Biarritz, France January 2015).

Continuing work with Fabienne Verdier

Mark has made a number of short films for Fabienne Verdier’s website (http://fabienneverdier.com/videos/), notably about exhibitions in which she took part at the Pinakothek der Moderne Schloss Herrenchiemsee near Munich and the Centre Pompidou – Metz.

In December 2014, Mark started collaborating with Fabienne and Ghislain Verdier on a feature-length film that will look at their explorations of the relationship between painting and music. The project started with two weeks of filming at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. The filming and editing will continue in 2015, with an expected completion of the film in the autumn of 2015.

The DVD of Mark’s documentary “Fabienne Verdier: Painting the Moment” is sold out but a new edition is being prepared for early 2015. This will be available as before from Les Films D’ici and on Amazon.

Elvis Costello: Mystery Dance

“Elvis Costello: Mystery Dance”, Mark’s feature-length documentary, was shown to considerable acclaim on BBC4 in November 2013. It has subsequently been shown at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Melkweg in Amsterdam.

“a deftly constructed trip through a restless, shape-shifting career…an intimate portrait…gives a moving insight into a man rightly branded a musical genius” (Daily Telegraph)

” an absorbing…intelligently assembled profile” (The Observer)

“a compelling profile of a man in flux” (The Guardian)

“There are real treasures here (an early, live Alison, unreleased demos with Macca) but for one of pop’s greatest lyricists, one hour just isn’t enough” (Radio Times)

Watch a clip form the film

Read a making of article by Mark on The Arts Desk

Read interview with Mark about the film

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