MASH Cinema is Hereford's home-grown purveyor of audio visual play, collaborating with DJs, bands, venues, festivals, and students to curate, create and promote innovative film projects.
It started in 2002 as a platform for young people to showcase films in Herefordshire. Later MASH dealt in immersive cinema experience; nights out that combined film, art, music and illustration. From shows at the Jailhouse and Nozstock festival, to Glastonbury and London's Horniman Museum & Gardens, founder Dan Brown has been busy.
To celebrate MASH Cinema's 15th birthday, Dan - now living in south London - is returning to the spot where it all started.
Over three consecutive nights in March (9-11), he'll host multi-media shows inside a huge, industrial warehouse space that has, until now, been hidden inside Hereford's Old Market.
The events are part of Borderlines Film Festival (which is also turning 15 this year) and include a collaboration with Herefordshire New Leaf, shorts from Hereford College of Arts films students and a Run Wrake retrospective, celebrating the work of the cutting-edge animator/director who died in 2012.
We caught up with Dan to find out more about making movies, MASH-style.
So… 15 years. How did it all start?
MASH Cinema was a project that I started at the end of a year long placement at Rural Media. I could see all these amazing films being made locally but there wasn’t really a platform to show them, hence MASH was born as a way of screening work produce by local young filmmakers and artists alongside inspiration short films from around the world.
The Borderlines Film Festival screenings are collaborations. How important is that ethos for you?
Over the years MASH has morphed into different things and involved lots of people who brought fresh ideas, styles and skills. I think with events especially we're always thinking how can we make things more interesting, so we throw ideas around with people we've worked with previously or people we think are inspiring and see if we can do something together.
For the #MASH15 events we've got a strong partnership with Hereford College of Arts which is great as it enables a two way exchange with lots of creative people, giving them an opportunity to show work, but also to experience things they might not have seen before. It's great to bring STATIC [a night of audio visual performances and films] back to life with Herefordshire New Leaf too. We've worked together off and on for over a decade.
Tell us about some of your previous performances - you've done Glastonbury, BLOC Weekend and plenty here in Herefordshire too.
We've provided visuals for loads of bands and DJs in Hereford over the years, the majority of those were at the Jailhouse, of course! I can't even remember half of them but they were a lot of fun and it was nice to have gigs in walking distance from home.
We also did audio visual performances at Nozstock, Hay Festival, and many moons ago we collaborated with 2Faced Dance company on a film/dance piece in the Media Mix tent at the Big Chill Festival, that was pretty big for us as that festival in particular was very influential and introduced us to lots of AV artists and film makers who inspire us including Run Wrake [the late English animator and director,] hose films we have the privilege of showing on the Saturday night.
Above: MASH Cinema at Nozstock, 2013
Having seen this secret space inside the Old Market ourselves we are 1) jealous, 2) excited about these multi-media shows you’re promising and 3) jealous. Without giving too much away, how does the space lend itself to what you’re putting on over those 3 nights?
Ha! Yes, we're feeling pretty smug about the space. It's a great location and has lots of room for us to play with. It's also not far from where we had our Light Surgeons show for Borderlines back in 2006 before the Old Market existed, so it felt like the right spot for these events.
The size of the space allows us to back project which keeps things nice and neat, and also the white walls are handy for a few extra beamers too. It's just a great space for events as it has that industrial, underground feel and you could be anywhere in world.
The people at Old Market Hereford have been really supportive and we can't thank them enough for letting us use the space.
It's no secret that the cultural scene is shifting in Herefordshire; it’s growing up, getting on with it. What do you see as the county’s biggest cultural assets today?
Herefordshire has changed so much in the last few years, and there's a noticeable 'step up' from the creative organisations.
In terms of moving image and visual arts, Rural Media and Hereford College of Arts are doing amazing work giving people the skills and experience to work in the creative industries. It's these people who are the assets, the ones with motivation, drive and creativity to make things happen which in turn inspire others.
What are you hoping the audience might get out of the #MASH15 performances?
The Thursday night (STATIC:TREELINE) is something a bit different, it's like a exhibition + cinema + gig + party, there is a lot happening and I hope people challenge themselves to come out and soak it all up.
We hope the audiences are inspired by everything they see.
The short film programme is really diverse and is one minute terrifying and the next ridiculously hilarious. I can't wait to see peoples reactions! As I said previously it's a privilege to show Run Wrakes back catalogue, I really hope people love his films as much as we do!!
Finally, after Borderlines, what comes next for Mash Cinema?
We've been asked by Hay Festival to do a two-day rotoscope animation workshop [May 27, 28], so we're hoping loads of people come and see us and help us make a massive collaborative film.
Thursday, March 9 | STATIC: TREELINE @ The Old Market, Hereford
MASH Cinema and Herefordshire New Leaf invite you to an evening of music, installations, audio visual performances and films where artist biomimcry-ists explore nature in a post-truth world. Although humans are part of nature we understand ourselves to be separate – but are we?
7.30pm | £7, concessions £6 | tickets here
Friday, March 10 | STATIC: TREELINE @ The Old Market, Hereford
Reaching deep into its back catalogue of weird and wonderful short films, MASH Cinema takes us on a journey into the unknown. It promises to be inspiring, challenging and visually arresting. Also featured are 90-second films produced by students from Hereford College of Arts BA Short Film course.
7.30pm | £7, concessions £6 | tickets here
Saturday, March 11 | Run Wrake Retrospective @ The Old Market, Hereford
Widely regarded as one of the most influential animation filmmakers of our time. Run Wrake’s ability to synthesize everything happening around him in contemporary culture—Pop Art and collage, Punk/New Wave graphics, video art, Electronica— and filter it through a trippy, looping Fleischer
Bros animation sensibility. While it’s sad that we won’t be seeing any new films from Run Wrake [he died in 2012], he leaves behind a rich legacy that will continue to inspire and influence artists for many years to come. Proceeds from this screening go to St Michael’s Hospice, Hereford and Pilgrims Hospice, Ashford.
7.30pm | | £7, concessions £6.50 | tickets here
[Read more: what to see at Borderlines 2017]