Strays (2018)

Strays by Scout Stuart | 11 mins | scored by Tombed Visions

Commissioned and premiered at Basquiat x Video Jam at the Barbican Hall, 28/01/18. The event marked the closing of Basquiat: Boom for Real, the first large scale exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s in the UK.

A young artist, moonlighting as a dog walker, takes a dog for an early morning walk around a London suburb. Told in a series of still, mostly wide shots, the pace and structure of Strays takes influence from Downtown ‘81 (dir. Edo Bertoglio), on display in the exhibition. Filmed on the streets of NYC and starring a young Jean-Michel Basquiat, Downtown ‘81 centers on the night wonderings of his character as he attempts to find employment and a place to sleep, crossing neighbourhoods that bridge affluent and neglected corners of the same city. Strays extends an ongoing theme of Stuart’s work around isolation in the urban environment.

Artist statement: “The film was made as a response to what being an artist means for me, today, living in a capital city. I wanted to touch on the theme of precarious employment, especially from the point of view of someone living in a country not native to them - like that of the protagonist, Juliet - adding a further element of uncertainty for her character. I chose to respond to the exhibition through Downtown ‘81 which felt relevant to reference today. In making my homage, I was especially interested in creating something that was relatable to artists from working class backgrounds, who have to balance their passion (art) with paying the bills.” - Scout Stuart

Scout Stuart is a filmmaker from Manchester, currently based in London. As a screenwriter, her short narrative films have received funding and support from BFI.NETWORK and Creative England, and have been screened at major international festivals including Edinburgh and Palm Springs. In 2015 she was selected for prestigious development scheme iFeatures. As a filmmaker, she has been mentored with BFI Flare, an initiative to help develop LGBTQ filmmakers. Scout has received support from Arts Council England for her moving image work and from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for her work as a director.