Photos and Video
In the opening moments of The Workshop, director Jamie Morgan announces that he's "ready to make some changes in his life." So he flies halfway around the world, from London to San Francisco, to attend a 10-day workshop lead by spiritual leader Paul Lowe, and he brings a video camera. Leader Lowe is a white-haired teacher who promotes mind-expanding, heart-opening and soul-searching meditation-including the possible existence of aliens. As part of therapy, Lowe encourages these acolytes to shed not just "previous selves" and inhibitions, but their pants. Everyone very actively participates in the communal search for meaning, which includes nocturnal orgies. The breakdown of convention is a wild ride, as Morgan chronicles love triangles, couples struggling with monogamy and a gay man having sex with a woman for the first time-all on camera. Jealousy, both emotional and physical, erupts within the flock. It's an amusing and emotional adventure in sex, love, betrayal, fear and joy until the workshop ends. One year later, Morgan visits a handful of participants tos ee how deeply Camp Lowe affected them, revealing that there may be more relevance to spending 10 days crying, screwing and listening to possible aliens than we might have expected.
Director's Statement Collapse
I shot this film alone, with a solitary HD camera, no crew, tripods, nor lights. This was imperative so that I could limit any intrusion from the camera. I tried to breakdown the barrier between filmmaker and subject so that the audience really feels what it's like to go through the workshop.
To make the film, it was essential to fully submerge myself in the process of the workshop, making it difficult to distinguish between my own personal journey and the making of the film.
The idea of the workshop itself is to stop hiding and find out who we are underneath our image, to show our humanity and our vulnerably. I wanted to create a film that echoed those sentiments. A film that is intimate and funny, but ultimately raw and real, hiding nothing.
I mixed the traditional ideas of documentary cinema with stylized artistic sequences that express what it feels like to explore ones inner world.
The making of this film was and still is an incredible journey for me, both creatively and emotionally. The process has made me question everything. What are my motivations, my fears, what is my life is all about and ultimately what is this film about?
The Workshop poses many questions, but looks for the audience to answer them for themselves. What is jealousy? Why is it so painful? Why are we ashamed of our bodies? Why is our sexuality so taboo? Is monogamy the only way to live? It also poses the more philosophical questions: What is our reality? Who are we why are we here where are we going?
This film exposes our basic human instincts like sexuality and jealousy, but I would love for people to also recognize the more noble traits of our humanity like forgiveness, non-judgment, and dare I say it love.
In this film I wanted to challenge people to ask questions about their own life.
"The unexamined life is not worth living"--Socrates
Film Information Collapse
[WORKS] | 2007 | 93 | Documentary Feature
Foreign Title: (The Workshop)
About the Director(s)Collapse
JAMIE MORGAN began his career as a photographer and rose to notoriety as one of the founding members of the '80s London based creative collective called Buffalo. The group's radical mix of street fashion and haute couture changed the nature of image making through its pioneering work in The Face magazine. Morgan continued to work in photography, shooting album covers for rock stars, such as Culture Club, Sade and Neneh Cherry. He also worked on campaigns for Levi's and Comme des Garcons. Eventually turning to filmmaking, Morgan began directing music videos, including the Bush hit "Swallowed." He's also helmed several short films, one of which was a documentary on artist Andy Goldsworthy. The Workshop is Morgan's debut feature film.