My name is Phil Griffin. I am an independent film producer who has worked as a documentary filmmaker for more than 25 years. My job is to witness, record and preserve the action in front of my lens.
My work can be viewed on my website
In February 2015 I was invited to join the company Troubleyn in order to witness and film the creation process and the first performance of the 24-hour theatre production of Jan Fabre/ Troubleyn named ‘Mount Olympus – To Glorify The Cult of Tragedy’.
As Artist In Residence I was to be 100% independent of the company and under my own directorial & editorial control at all times.
In 25 years of work, I have rarely felt as safe as I did at Troubleyn both as the first male dancer in the company in 1987 and as a filmmaker in 2015 witnessing the new work. I ask myself – In both roles & in both times – was I responsible for knowing my own limits? – Yes. And was I cared for in recognizing where those limits were? – Always.
On the film project – I spent 9 months, where each day I filmed approximately 12 hours, using 3 cameras. I recorded everything I could whilst filming as a one-man team. Jan Fabre, with the permission of the performers & team offered me full access to all scenes, all rehearsals, all discussions and all workshops. In the process, I witnessed the drama, emotion, elation, despair, the steep learning curves and high mountains that need to be climbed to make such art.
On the basis of the obtained footage, I produced the movie called “Surrender” (2018): an in-depth observation and examination of Jan Fabre’s working process and methodology.
Jan Fabre is fueled by a consistent and often-intense curiosity for and about the human condition, to that complex end I have watched him work tirelessly to protect, celebrate & elevate both the work & his performers of the work.
It is important to note: that though the projects maybe radical Fabre’s creative intention is, without doubt imbued with empathy not disdain for humanity. It is not easy, but I witnessed no malice or intentional humiliation: only the passion, and a desire to create the best possible work.
I interviewed Jan many times about his art and his work, why he pushes himself so hard and why people push themselves so hard for him. His answers in the movie present a clear portrait of a generous, driven artist who cares deeply about what he does and how he treats all those who collaborate with him in exploring the limits and vulnerability of performance.
Surrender has been shown without controversy in Italy, India, Russia, USA, London, Spain and Belgium.
Trust and the power of vulnerability are the joint cornerstones of Mr. Fabre’s work. If that trust is removed the work its self is vulnerable.
Phil Griffin