A debut documentary series
Scroll down to view the teaser and read our treatment
Metropolis, the debut documentary series, is an exploration of the dreams and nightmares of Metro commuters from cities around the world in times of great political upheaval.
The filmmakers asked hundreds of commuters one simple question...
“What do you dream about in your sleep?”
Through the delicate language of dreams, everyday citizens open up and reveal their deeply personal feelings about the state of the world and how they see themselves in it.
The metro train is always moving as we cut between capitals across the world, transporting millions of people and their dreams, often affected by the climate of governance and conflict which rules life over ground.
The cities of ‘Metropolis’ all have their own problems; whether it’s the state of war that looms over Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, or the economic crisis that has devastated the social security and the middle classes of Athens, Greece.
Multi award winning documentary filmmaker Ross Domoney has been busy traveling between cities in turmoil that also include: Trumps America, Ukraine at war and the failed republic of Catalonia.
The filming has taken place deep underground in gritty spaces that we normally pass through without attention. In ‘Metropolis’ the labyrinths of the underground have been transformed from public spaces of cold transit into intimate private spaces where the symbolic language of dreams allows commuters to share their wildest fears and fantasies.
What is remarkable though, is how similar these insecurities are that are shared by citizens across the urban transport webs of troubled cities.
The result of this compilation of dreams is an extravagant stream of scenarios; quests and dark thoughts told by workers, aristocrats and eccentrics alike, that hint at what it’s like to live in these cities of social and political crises.
In Kiev, Ukraine a battle hardened man who recently returned from war in the east shares a dream of his mother standing over his coffin at a funeral in the woods. In Catalonia amongst a political crisis of independence a young girl describes an elevator:
“I dream I’m taking an elevator, and I’m going to a certain floor, and the moment that floor arrives, it doesn’t exist. And it goes to the next floor, and it keeps on going up…because the floor I’m trying to get to, isn’t there.”
Scenes of political spectacle often spill over into the metro passages too. In Washington DC at the time of Donald Trumps inauguration carriages full of his supporters ride the metro on route to the White House.
A man with a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat shouts to the camera:
“My biggest nightmare would have been if Hillary would of won! It would have been all over for me”
A black man stares out the window:
“Ever since the elections, I’ve been getting headaches. I’m scared”
In our modern world breaking news updates of atrocities, political upheavals and Trumps latest controversy are fed into our consciousness by a constant, instant stream of social media updates.
Whether it’s the shocking news of Brexit, or a near Le Penn victory in France, but what’s it really like for the dreams of civilians living amongst it?
Metropolis is an outlandish portrait of our world in the era of uncertainty
How do we see this project being released online?
We would like to release Metropolis as a documentary mini-series online.
Each episode would be 15-20 minutes long. A season would contain 6-8 episodes. And if successful, we would love for this project to expand beyond one season.
There is also a great scope for the episodic series to be turned into a larger film that could do very well in the festival circuit.
With regards to the series: the pilot episode would open with a collection of dreams from a mixture of cities from all over the world; setting up the concept of the film and giving the audience a sense of what is to come.
After the pilot episode we would base each film in one city at a given moment of political upheaval.
From the filming we have completed so far we already have the content to produce the following episodes:
Trump: America’s conflict underground
The divided dreams of DC’s rapid transit system at the time of Donald Trumps inauguration.
Paris: the city that said no to Le Penn
Riots over-ground as passengers underneath share nightmares in the face of a near far-right victory in Europe.
Ukraine; dreams from the capital of a country at war
Soldiers share dreams of peace and fantasy as a city comes to terms with it’s collective trauma.
As moments of political clash and crisis continue to unfold, throwing the populations of various cities into the unknown, this project will further expand as we collect content for future episodes. These could include:
Russia at the time of Putin’s inauguration, Turkey at war with it’s Kurdish population, Tehran’s metro system in Iran, the Americas, Jerusalem…the list goes on.
As this series grows our audience will be able to experience and compare these lived moments of crisis through the language of dreams. The series will serve as a geographical map of cities in troubled times, linked together by their metro systems. Much like veins in a body, these metro lines and the carriages that traverse them will take the audience on an unforgettable journey, painting a bigger picture of the world in a time of uncertainty.
All of the characters that we have filmed so far have given full consent by signing release forms. With regards to metro stations, access has mostly been obtained through government and private bodies via application. Everyone who has appeared on camera has been very excited to take part in the project.
Style and format
This series is shot in an abstract format that sinks the audience into the language of dreams and poetry. The metro carriage and passages underground have been transformed into mind-bending visual spaces that has a sci-fi quality to them, allowing the audience to reflect on the cinematic language of dreams.
The filming is shot very close-up across a multitude of characters. It will be homage to a great variety of genetics and memorable faces. We want to show the different cultures, genders and ages of the cities we have chosen at these melting moments of crisis. This film will be shot on metro trains as well as underground platforms. In the trains, we will use a lot of close ups; partially to allow us to capture good sound, and secondly to be able to form an intimacy with our chosen characters.
The sequences that express the dreams will be equally as important and metaphorical. They will visually support the stories, which the dreams are telling and give the audience space to think and breath. We will use a steady-cam to capture the diverse, brutal and beautiful architecture of metro stations around the world. This will vary from the huge dystopian tunnels of the Metro system in Washington DC, to the brutalist soviet structures of the Ukrainian metro stations in Kiev.
The Director and Producer
Ross Domoney is a multi award winning freelance film-maker from the UK. His documentary work focuses on social/human rights issues, urban geography, character lead narratives and the affect of political protest on cities, authorities, and underground political and cultural movements. Ross studied documentary film making at the National Film and Television School. His work has been published in the Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Discovery Channel and has been recognized by the BBC. Variety magazine selected Ross as one of the 100 students who represent the future of film, media and entertainment in 2015. In 2012 Ross won the audience award at Thessaloniki film festival with his film (The High Price of Gold) . Ross’s latest film (Uprooted) won a Royal Television Society award as well as making onto the shortlist for the prestigious Grierson trust award.
Xanna Dixon Ward graduated from the National Film and Television School with a masters in Editing. Her graduation animation that she edited, ‘The Alan Dimension’, was screened at Cinéfondation selection at Cannes Film Festival in 2016 and was nominated for Best British Short Animation at the 2017 BAFTA’s. The film also won the Junior Jury prize at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Festival. Xanna’s editing work has also been nominated for an Editing Craft award at the 2017 Royal Television Society Awards. Her graduation documentary that she edited ‘The Pacemaker’ was also nominated and highly commenced in the Best Student Documentary category at the 2016 Grierson Awards. The film has now been made into a one-hour feature for BBC2
Marina Elderton is an award-winning composer for film, TV, theatre and games, based in London. Her practice combines experimental textures with traditional instruments. Graduating from The National Film and Television School with a MA in Composing for Film and Television, she received two scholarships from the Musicians' Union and The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, and a grant from The Sidney Perry Foundation. Her scores include the Film4 production 'Wake', Royal Television Society award-winning documentary 'Uprooted', 'The Wrong End of the Stick' animation (nominated Best British Short, British Independent Film Awards), and forthcoming Wellcome Trust/ Xylophone Games project 'P.E.T'. She has composed commercially for brands including Lynx, NBA, Tesco and Cadburys.
Contact the Director Ross Domoney for more details