We can’t wait to see the full film if this is the trailer.

Sometime Liverpool resident, Berlin-based Jürgen Cyranek, together with Rebecca Cyranek and Claudia Christen – aka City Picture – have spent the last few years compiling the documentary: Liverpool – Capital of Vulture (following on from their thought-provoking ‘Turning The Place Over?’ short, a couple of years ago). And, as it’s nearing completion, they’ve teased us with this trailer…

An unflinching, honest and – at times – acerbic snapshot of where we’re at, the documentary posits whether, in the wake of the Capital of Culture, the city’s artists (so essential for the regeneration of run-down post industrial areas) have experienced anything approaching a legacy, or whether the event did little more than hijack their community for a year long knees-up at our expense.

It’s a question we’ve raised before – and had differing responses from cultural organisations large and small.

In the month that Manchester International Festival launches with a roster of new commissions, world class acts and locally-produced goodies, the film’s trailer shows that not every arts led intervention leads to multi million pound investment, Damon Albarn, increased exposure and, er, Damon Albarn.

It’s a thorny subject, for sure, and one that elicits as much heat as light: there are as many versions of the 08 story as there were tattered flags lining Edge Lane. For some, it was a platform to showcase the city as a cauldron of creativity, for others a PR exercise of cliques and canapes that failed to ignite any real sense of inclusion or momentum.

How was it for you? And how is it now the party’s over? These are the questions directors Jürgen and Rebecca pose in ‘Liverpool – Capital of Vulture’, a response to the year that will doubtless be every bit as valuable, and honest, as every other tale.

And, in a shocking move, the film’s interviewees are not from Australia, or Brookside, nor were they on the payroll of 08. They’re from the city. They’re our creatives. And they’re still here.

So, it’s quite possible, their opinion might count for a little more than others’…


16 Responses to “Capital Of Vultures?”

  1. Littoral

    Looks utter bolloxs tbh. I didn’t get a grant off the council therefore Capital of Culture was Stalinist AND Nazi! At the same time, although the are two distinct and seperate extreme political systems. Neither of which would tolerate people speaking sh1te about the authorities on Wood Street, if they ever took over. Hopefully the clips are unrepresentive but if they are not the film is an ill-informed collection of moaning gobshites whinging about things of which they are entirely clueless.

  2. So, these individuals based in, as there website says ‘Berlin and Sheffield’ feel they’re ‘telling the truth’ about Liverpool CoC. Yes, they ask local people, but who they choose to ask and the way they choose to edit the footage will of course be inevitably be skewed to suit their own political and ideological agendas just as much as anything that comes out of the City Council or Liverpool University. Perhaps they should focus on there own localities and leave comment on Liverpool to people who have lived here theie whole lives and are capable of seeing the bigger picture. I am sick to the back teeth of people from outside, usually hypocritical middle-class ‘liberals’, using Liverpool as an ‘example’ for there own ideologies, doing us down, and then pissing right off again. We had enough of it from the broadsheets in the build up to 08 and we don’t need any more of it now while were trying to deal with the cuts. 08 happend, some of it was good, some of it was bad, now let’s move on.

  3. Littoral

    No, I take it back, ECoC was NAZI !!! She’s right!

    No, I don’t work for the Echo or the council for that matter (which has even changed hands since 2008). The film might be better but the comments in that trailer are laughable.

    KT is right that 2008 contained good and bad. And it was huge, with hundreds of events so that even it you (like me) aren’t a Beatles fan (and contrary to the comments in the trailer should be really be a suprise that Macca’s concert was **one** of those hundreds of event) the vast amount of other things going one must have contained stuff you’d enjoy.

    And of course, the most important thing to note in connection to the council and ECoC is that a huge majority of what went on in the very successful culture had nothing directly to do with them. Liverpool is very blessed culturally. ECoC was successful because of what the city already had before the award was given. The cutlure year (only an arts festival remember, it alone cannot reverse an entire city’s fortunes, although it is worth having) was mostly only a spotlight shone on Liverpool’s existing cultural strengths to encourage visitors, yes, but also to let the city’s own residents know what the city already had.

  4. CofC was a great year. It was ultimately about using culture as a tool for economic growth. In that sense, it succeeded. To think it was going to be some kind of springboard for local artists would have done little other than improve the lives of the artists themselves. I judge the year by how many people came into Liverpool and spent cash, or invested as a result. I know people who come here for a weekend every month now who had never en to Liverpool before. That is value added. Jobs created.

    All in all, using culture as a means to a different end. Let the artists use art for art’s sakes, but nowt wrong in LCC using art for economic/tourist reasons.

    Fine by me.

  5. Can’t wait to watch the full documentary though. There’s nowt wrong in pointing a camera at someone and allowing them to speak their minds – especially if they live in the city, add to the city’s cultural DNA, and are speaking from the gut. That, to me, is documentary. No bells, no whistles. Just a mic and a camera, and people not afraid to tell it how they feel it.

  6. Liverpool Gaz

    Should be an interesting watch. The thing is about CofC is that there was so much to capture people’s imaginations that year. Great examples being La Princesse and the Superlambanana trail. The city would also have been foolish not to get the likes of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr involved. Things like Urban Strawberry Lunch can show how culutre can make use of somewhere that is derelict like St. Lukes. I suppose when the film is viewed we will see whether it is various people in the city bellyaching because they were sidelined or if they have a genuine grievance.

  7. CoC was an utterly amazing year for Liverpool. You can’t take significant events in isolation, but they all combine over time and come together to give momentum.

    Liverpool is a city utterly transformed over the past 10 years, with CoC giving that a serious boost in terms of visitor numbers and profile. I had a lot of people come and visit me in 08 to go to events, and they were stunned at what Liverpool has to offer, as before all they’d heard were the bad stereotypes. Friends of mine now travel hundreds of miles to visit – to visit me of course, but if I say I’ll come to them they say no they’d rather come here.

    A legacy of 08 isn’t just for the arts, but for the whole city and the arts have to share. As far as an artist trying to sell either themselves or their crafts, how about being seen as coming from an ace and creative city, rather than a dole queue (which is what they were perceived as before).

    I think one key legacy change in the city is that whereas before the moaners, whingers and whiners would win out only because the rest of us had a collective lack of confidence – that’s not the case any more. Whinge if you like, but don’t expect to beat the rest of us down with your ever present raincloud!! Not this time!

  8. A documentary called The Capital of Vulture made by folks from outside the city trying to make capital out of the city. Is it only me that sees the irony in that? Anyhow, I hope the finished product is better than the trailer. It has the production quality of a secondary school media project and is not a great advert for its makers. Lets hope the final film is much, much better than this.

    08 was great. Some amazing events. And there is a legacy. There has been a massive upswing in creative output from the city. Great venues, great music, new artist-led spaces and initiatives, tons of new theatre, community projects, artists working in every imaginable medium making spaces to show and share their work.

    Whats genuinely exciting is that in almost every case Liverpool’s new creative talent is blossoming without the need for grants or targeted initiatives of any kind. Rather, individuals or groups driven by their own vision, passion, dedication and entrepreneurial skills are just getting on making great things happen. This organ is an examplar of all that is great in our creative new landscape. That you have all these amazing venues, events and individuals to report on is itself testament to the legacy of 08

    Continue to lead with your hearts Sevenstreets and don’t be overly influenced by grumblings of old inflexible mindsets. There are many times more local artists and residents who are delighted with the transformation in the city seeded by 08.

    Final note: Damon Albarn was here in 08. He brought Africa Express to the old Lacarno in West Derby. It was phenomenal.

  9. Dear Liverpudlians,

    Thanks for all your comments and critiques. Just a short explanation, since we feel that it might help to understand the context of this documentary:
    1) Budget of the documentary: 0 EURO
    2) Estimated cost of the documentary: >700 EURO
    3) Estimated income through sales: ?
    4) Background: This documentary is the practical part of a master thesis for a degree in Human Geography. It is an academic project carried out through a project team of urban science students called CityPicture. This is no commercial documentary whatsoever. Academic work is (supposed to be) independent and objective. This film shall give an insight in the developments of the European City if Culture events in connection with the Liverpool art scene.

    Your CityPicture Team

  10. Dear CityPicture,

    I’m not interested in how much it cost to make, nor how much if any you stand to take for it. CoC wasn’t for the arts scene, it was for the city, its culture (which is way more than just paintings, artists and buildings) and its economy.

    You don’t live here, you don’t work here, you probably don’t even choose to holiday here, so what knowledge do you have of our culture, history of our culture or future of our culture, other than a flying visit to stick cameras in people’s faces?

    In terms of impact on “the art scene”, without even getting into the beneficial shift in national and international perceptions of Liverpool: Simply put, sustained higher visitor numbers equals sustained higher footfall to art venues equals sustained higher chance of staying in business, better exhibitions (and therefore also lots more opportunities for local artists).

    How much more do we need to simplify for our audience?

    Certainly, if you came to our city to do this film and expected us not to challenge it, well then you really don’t understand our culture!

    A Liverpudlian

  11. Dear CityPicture,

    The term “to make capital from” means to make gain. This can be in any respect, including financial. But in this instance I was making reference to your use of the city of Liverpool as a way to promote your own thesis or argument. But thank you for your response and breakdown of costs.

    As you are aware an academic thesis requires empirical evidence in support of any conclusions reached. Objectivity requires clearly designed methodologies applied rigorously in a manner that yields data that will stand up to interrogation. It is perhaps unfortunate that your trailer sensationalizes and trivializes what may indeed be a very strong thesis. Its current weakness lies in its focus on the subjective opinions of a statistically unrepresentative sample of the current population (400,000+). But perhaps this in not wholly representative of the work you have put in? I look forward to seeing the final piece and trust that it will make explicit any methodologies used and analyses carried out in support of your conclusions.

    Very kind regards

    A Liverpool academic

  12. What changed really?

    You don’t live here – so no view allowed.
    Your questioning, criticizeing, not allowed.
    Beneficial shift in perceptions of Liverpool.Really? Defenseive siege mentallity backing up stereotype.

  13. Littoral

    ^Trolling idiot. It is the stupidity of the opinions expressed in the trailer that is being criticised, not that the film-makers themselves are from outside the city per se. That they aren’t local is relevant to their probable lack of understanding of ECoC and Liverpool in general.

  14. If you can’t see what’s changed then you must be walking round with your eyes sealed shut. And yes, beneficial shift in perceptions of Liverpool. Perhaps you have your ears sealed shut too. Our ever rising visitor numbers are a testament to this.

    Opinions that are stupid are ok, but I would have thought it clear by now to everyone that Liverpool isn’t a city to swallow guff dressed up as ‘fact’.

    To forbid and label OUR questioning as ‘siege mentality’ that fit a stereotype, simply because they are made in a Liverpool context is just offensive prejudice (not to mention ironic).

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