Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions


Roger Ballen commissioned Emma Calder and Ged Haney from Pearly Oyster Productions to animate and direct Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions. The film is based on a large series of photographic drawings made in collaboration with Marguerite Rossouw, which feature in his forthcoming book The Theatre of Apparitions, Thames & Hudson. Publication date and online launch of the web version of the film 29th September 2016.

Thanks to Andi Mindel who’s idea it was to get Roger Ballen and Pearly Oyster together, without her the film wouldn’t have been made!

For a full list of Festival screenings and items in the press click here.

Short Synopsis of the film

Roger Ballen’s famous photographic work has been concerned with the interior architecture of standing structures, playing on the metaphor of the mind as a house of secrets and buried narratives. He has created a series of images inspired by the drawings and marks which people make on their environment that link his unique aesthetic to theatrical performance. Emma Calder and Ged Haney have used 2d computer animation and a brilliant music score by composer John Webb to turn these images into a film reminiscent of an old music hall or circus. In the theatre dismembered people, beasts and ghosts, dance, tumble, make love and tear themselves apart, plunging the audience into the nightmarish world of Roger Ballen’s subconscious.

Short Biographies

Roger Ballen (Executive Producer/Original Artwork/Writer/)

Roger Ballen is an American-born photographer who has lived and worked in South Africa since the 1970s. His previous award-winning books include Platteland (1994), Outland (2001), Shadow Chamber (2005), Boarding House (2009) and Asylum of the Birds (2014). Ballen’s photographs are collected by some of the most important institutions in the world and he has won numerous prestigious awards in photography and filmmaking.

Marguerite Rossouw (Artistic Director/Artwork/Writer)

Marguerite Rossouw is a South African photographer who has been working as Roger Ballen’s photographic assistant as well as artistic director for nearly ten years.

Emma Calder (Director/Writer/Animator)

Emma Calder was born in London. She studied Graphic design at The Royal College of Art. She has worked as a Animation Director, Artist, Graphic Designer and Lecturer and has written, designed and illustrated books, for both adults and children. She co-founded Pearly Oyster Productions making many successful and award winning animated films, including The Queens Monastery (BBC).

Emma is currently making a series called Random Person.

Ged Haney (Director/Writer/Animator)

Ged Haney is an animator and director. In 1989 he co-founded Pearly Oyster Productions with Emma Calder, leaving in 2005 to work in Germany. He is now back in London. He is currently working on a new film: Eddie and Winston, exploring the lives of two budding South London Sociopaths.

John Webb (Composer)

John Webb is a composer and workshop leader. Recent works include Into the Light for 2000 children and small ensemble, The Last Plantagenet for choir, orchestra, solo voices and Indian musicians, and The Girl Who Never Looked Up commissioned by the National Theatre Learning Department.