“After years living in London, crossing the Thames River, wondering where it started and thinking that London wouldn’t exist without its river, I started to plan the Thames River Project. I met Antony a few weeks later, told him about it and he came along to photograph the project. After TRP we both felt that there was more scope to this idea and wanted to try it again elsewhere. A few Skype calls later, some initial research, and the Hudson River Project was born.
Over the last year and a half we have made two scouting trips to the source of the Hudson River, Lake Tear of the Clouds. We have shot a teaser trailer and driven the length of the river twice seeking out locations and testing the water. Between these trips we have been meeting people and getting advice about the challenge ahead. Mogwai are involved and everything is now in place to begin production in late September 2012, with the film completing Summer 2013. We are very excited!”
Our intention from the start has been to stay true to the simple idea that is at the core of the Hudson River Project. We are going to make a film that is beautiful, a film that is both thoughtful and headstrong, powerful and still. A film that is a portrait of both New York City and the upper reaches of the Hudson River, a film that connects the two and weaves them inextricably together.
I started working with Mogwai in early 2010. I’ve photographed cover art for them, documented them on tour and made music videos for them. Most recently I shot a short film with them in Tokyo which they provided the soundtrack for and James wrote. I seem to photograph things in a similar way to how they approach music. There is a feeling or point of view
When I told them about Hudson River Project they immediately wanted to be involved. They will be writing an original score for the film which will be recorded in early 2013. They’ll release the soundtrack sometime afterwards and they’ll hopefully be performing it live to screenings of the film.
Antony is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker. Born and raised in Bolton, England. He studied photography in Edinburgh, and his work has since been included in numerous public and private collections, as well as publications such as British Vogue, Interview, The New York Times and i-D. Nike, Orange and Microsoft are just a few of Crook’s commercial clients. Recently, Crook transitioned into film, represented by Ridley Scott Associates.
James has cycled around the world in record time, built boats from scratch, and worked in Kosovo, Bosnia, Canada, Spain and the Caribbean. He has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and has worked for over 10 years as a designer/maker. He has appeared across the media from BBC World Service to some of India’s smaller regional papers. He has shown work at the ICA, MACBA Barcelona and elsewhere. He lives in London.
Yes! Both James and Antony are ready for the Hudson River Project, as are Mogwai and the rest of the team behind the project.
James has proved himself more than capable – he has cycled around the world remember, breaking the world record, and has already shown he can build a worthy craft out of nothing.
Antony’s love of capturing the landscape and his ability with a camera are evident for all to see. He is also an experienced director, capable of seeing the big picture unfolding around him.
Together, doing what they do best, they are perfectly placed to tell the story of the Hudson River Project.
Yes, the score that Mogwai write for Hudson River Project will be released some time after the film has premiered. There is opportunity to obtain the sound track before this, by purchasing it as one of the rewards in our kickstarter campaign. We are also planning live performances of the film and score at venues in London and New York City.
We will start shooting around 20th September 2012. This will be the tail end of summer in NYC. By the time the boat is built and we reach Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks, Fall will have begun. As we travel back down the Hudson to New York City the leaves will be turning orange, red and yellow. Finally, as we approach the city, winter will be approaching, completing the cycle.
I mean boat, or perhaps kayak… most definitely not raft! I found with the Thames River Project boat that what I built ended up being quite similar to the traditional Thames River rowing skiff. Not quite as graceful perhaps, but pretty close. The Hudson River Project boat will reflect types of boat that are used on the Hudson – it’ll probably be a kind of cross between a kayak and a rowing boat, about 11 feet long. As for what it’ll be made out of, well it has to be strong enough for white water. This is an exciting part of the project for me – finding those materials around Manhattan is key… There’s plenty there if my walks around Manhattan on previous trips are anything to go by!
Boat parts will be collected from Manhattan. The boat will be made in Manhattan using these parts. When its completed James will be towing it by bicycle North through New York State to the Adirondack Mountains where the Hudson River starts. The nearest big town is Lake Placid. James will then haul the boat from the nearest road on a 10 mile hike to Lake Tear of the Clouds, the source of the Hudson. From there the 315 mile journey back to Manhattan begins, from the white water of the Hudson River Gorge down to where the river widens to become an international shipping lane.
James is setting himself one week for materials collection, one week for the build, another week to tow the boat up to the source and around 5 weeks to travel back down the river. Of course, as we are filming the entire endeavour there will some contingency, with the whole project taking up to two and a half months.
James will be tweeting along the way from @H_R_Project and our Facebook page will be constantly updated. We may also have a GPS tracker so you can follow him every step of the way — keep your eyes on the website for
James and the crew will be eating dehydrated foods in the Adirondack Mountains, observing all camping regulations for packing out trash. They’ll be filtering water from streams and camping in designated camp areas. When things get a little more civilized the crew will be eating and sleeping in an RV that will be their base for the entire journey. James will be staying true to the adventure at hand and will be sleeping as near the boat as possible. Where necessary permission will be sought for James to camp on private land.
The Hudson River is as varied as it gets. Grade 4 white water near the source – this means waves, maybe rocks, and considerable drops. This is potentially dangerous is speaking to others that have kayaked this water and will be topping up his whitewater experience. On the other end of the scale the Hudson is an international shipping lane – guidelines apply to small craft to keep them safe and again James has sought advice about how best to navigate these potential hazards. In addition to these obvious hazards there are other considerations for filming on the water – everyone involved will be briefed and properly prepared so that we capture the drama and magnificence of the Hudson in the safest possible way.
The film will be completed around May 2013. We are planning premieres for New York City and London initially and will be looking to secure a theatrical release. News on this will develop as the project moves forward but needless to say we want as many people to experience the Hudson River Project as possible. We’ll be showing it to festivals, arranging screenings and eventually releasing it as a DVD and download. We anticipate that Mogwai will tour with the film and play the soundtrack live. Again, more news on this as things unfold.