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Bison Hill

An experimental (Art film) set in the landscape where a cart is dragged up a hill.

  • Derek Ogbourne
  • Derek Ogbourne
  • Derek Ogbourne
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature, Other
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 8 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 20, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, A7sii
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Derek Ogbourne

Derek Ogbourne (born 3rd February 1964 in High Wycombe) is a British visual artist. Ogbourne's oeuvre is multi faceted and therefore difficult to define. His periods of production can be broken down to: Large organic paintings (early 1980s), interactive art installations (late 1980s), performance art (1990s), video and filmic narrative explorations (2000s to the present), and his museum installation entitled The Museum of Optography (2007- 2016). A return to painting from 2017 culminated in his Lockdown Series of 2020.

Derek Ogbourne is best known for his exhilarating, sometimes violently physical works across all art forms, centred around an ongoing plot of big themes: physical life, vision, violence, death; landscape, beauty and the sublime. Pulsing with the strengths and frailties of what it is like to be human, his obsessive preoccupations result in deeply complex, emotionally engaging artworks, most evident in films such as Gravity and Others, Struggle, Magic Mountain and Death and the Monument. His project, The Museum of Optography preoccupied Ogbourne for nearly 10 years, his last works taking the form of large, violent heart stopping oak machines added to an inventory of nearly 300 artworks that comprise his museum. 

Ogbourne studied at Slade School of Fine Art in London (1981-89). While he was at UCL he was awarded the Rosa Morison and Jeremy Cubbit prizes.  He teaches at Hampstead School of Art and occasionally at the Slade, while he has been visiting lecturer at most London Art schools including Goldsmiths and the Royal Academy.   
Exhibitions highlights include What Makes Me, What Makes You at the South London Gallery, Space International, Valencia, Spain and the Museum of Optography, The Purple Chamber at Sharjah Foundation, UAE. 

Derek Ogbourne lives and works in London and is represented by Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne.

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Director Statement

Bison Hill

The sun brings life, brings respiration, brings a measured breath of being me.

Bison Hill started as plain: ‘The Hill’, a simple, generic title. Man climbs a hill and destroys the camera that is simultaneously recording the setting sun. This evolved into a thematic trichotomy between the sun, work, and the act of measuring. Originally put as light, matter and to measure. A single dot of pencil lead in the centre of an A4 sheet of paper as the beginning point of a drawing has been the departure point of a demonstration I use when teaching to describe the three elements that bring life and form to the illusion of a drawing. These fundamental elements underpin the structure of Bison Hill, where no bison roam anymore, and are replaced by a primal embodiment in the form of the film’s protagonist, who carries the cart to the top of the hill. As with most of my films, there is an all pervading physicality that predominates in a breathless, unrelenting struggle. In this film there is a conflict between the artifice of the film’s illusion of creation, as the protagonist caresses the landscape with sensuality and tenderness, tending after his creation with his demi god hand from above, and the piercing array of spikes, needles, pins, stakes of all sizes that puncture, mark, and measure, with concerted effort and determination to drive forcefully into this sacred ground. There is also something conflictual at play in my film with its juxtaposition between the portrayal of the romantic, bucolic Vaughan Williams, Powell and Pressburger version of the English countryside with its picturesque distance from the viewer, and the close up physical struggle, with its measuring, marking actions made by my protagonist.

Derek Ogbourne