James Batley

James Batley is a self-taught film maker who’s shown his films in Cannes. We’re not mucking about, he makes some pretty dark stuff. He’s also running a special, one-off night this Halloween featuring film, blood, photography, music and a load more. Josh Jones had a chat with him.

Hey James, how are things?

I heard you were running a Halloween night this week – what’s the plan? How scary is it?
Yeah. On the 31st we are taking over the Red Gallery in Shoreditch. There will be live music from Crows (on Savage’s Pop Noire label), DJs, macabre photography, sound installations, blood stained walls, projections, free communion shots and in the basement I’m showing my short film ‘Kneel Through The Dark’ on a loop, which features an Aleister Crowley ritual that caused all kinds of weirdness the last time I screened it. It’s BYOB and cheap entry too.

We intend to open the gates of hell.

So you’re a self-taught film maker. How did you teach yourself? Or did you watch an awful lot of YouTube?
I got a Super8 camera and started waving it around. Cut the footage and got a feel for what worked. It’s just about rhythm really.

How important are animals in your work? There seems to be some kind of theme there…
It’s more about what they represent. They are messengers.

What’s your favourite bit/part of London and why?
There is a bank of the Thames by St Paul’s that, when the tide is out, is full of bones left over from when the carcasses of dead animals were dumped in the river over the centuries. You can find teeth, jaw bones and other gnarly skeletal remains. It’s great for a first date.

What’s next for you?
I’m planning out a new short. It’s in the early stages but it involves meteors and a boy who buries dead bees in a park.

Photo: Tom Medwell


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