A Monthly Film Night Wants to Counter the Cult of Overwork

As a crowd slowly gathers inside Lucky’s on Meath Street, Chris Hansen sips his pint in the smoking area. “When we first started this event, I was working all the time,” he says.

It’s Sunday, the weekend is coming to an end, and the beer garden is full. A group of film enthusiasts are about to leave this sunny spot behind, and head inside.

“I was doing some freelance copywriting on top of my regular service job. The hours were shitty, and free time was hard to come by,” Hansen says.

His exhaustion is what inspired Do Nothing Watch Films, a monthly event that promises an “escape from the Dublin rat race”.

Getting Started

Do Nothing Watch Films began three months ago. “At first, I wanted to do a slacker film festival, and reached out to some filmmaker friends,” Hansen says.

Instead, he decided to host a regular event for filmmakers and enthusiasts, to provide an alternative to work, and a reminder to relax. “People in Dublin are working harder to survive than ever before, and getting far less in return,” he says.

Hansen teamed up with co-founder Thomas Mozdzeń, and the pair have hosted three successful installments to date. They seek independently produced projects, which interpret the theme of “slackers, layabouts and lives of leisure” in innovative ways.

“We’re not super strict on theme, it’s more about the vibe,” Mozdzeń says.

Selected films typically are produced on a tight budget. “We want to provide a space for them to be seen, and an outlet for people starting out,” he says.

Chris Hansen. Photo by Jack Maguire.

Inside at Lucky’s on Sunday, Hansen keeps his introduction brief, as Mozdzeń, perched in the DJ booth, gets ready to press play.

There are 20 or so people gathered for the event. Pizzas and pints litter tables.

First up is The Sponge by Robbie Stickland, an eerie animated stoner comedy. It provides a lighthearted start, with a conventional take on the slacker theme.

Next up is Hansen’s own production, an exploration of transcendence. It’s a piece that examines community, and questions what we come together around.

Throughout the evening, viewers dip in an out to smoke or buy drinks. In keeping with the slacker ethos, most pieces lack a linear narrative. So constant attention isn’t required. Viewers can easily tune back in.

Clara Hancock’s hypnotic piece has a meditative quality. A sequence of ocean imagery explores our relationship with the natural world under late-stage capitalism.

Waves remind us of “our ability to exist harmoniously with the environment, rather than conquering it for our own use”, she says.

The last reel is artist Aden Nofing’s piece, Shelta. It pays homage to French cinematographer Chris Marker, although the film’s visuals and voiceover tackle politics closer to home.

Photographs of Phoenix Park and the Poolbeg chimneys appear on screen as a narrator discusses finding community among those being pushed out of the city. People forced to leave are “not the community the beast wanted, not what it needed”.

Shelta’s end credits are met with a massive round of applause.

Then, Dance

As Roo Honeychild takes to the decks, the crowd merges with remaining pub-goers. Filmmakers mingle with viewers, discussing cinematic techniques.

For Hancock, whose film had been shown earlier, Do Nothing Watch Films always feels welcoming – while other, similar events, she says “can seem really closed off, or difficult to get into”.

Reettaleena Rauhala found Do Nothing Watch Films on Facebook, and arrived without knowing anyone else there. She said she loved the atmosphere and range of movies: “They were all so different and artistic.”

Mid-dance floor, stragglers enjoyed tunes and silent movies long into the night. One of those who remained was Jack Connolly.

Despite having lots to do, he said he was happy to have spent the day “hanging out somewhere low-key, without overusing my brain”.

[CORRECTION: This article was updated on 24 May at 9.57am. A previous version gave a different name as director of Shelta. Apologies for the error.]

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Jack Maguire: Jack Maguire has written for Al Jazeera, TheJournal.ie and Hot Press magazine.

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