Caught by the River

My Friend Eric

28th October 2009

A film by Justin Partyka.

In early 2008 Justin Partyka acquired a small digital camera. The camera sat around gathering dust until he discovered it had a video function. Intrigued by the idea of carrying a “video camera” in his pocket, Partyka started to take the camera to the fields and farms he visits for The East Anglians project; especially the farm of 99 year old Eric Wortley, where he typically goes once a week. The camera soon went from being “just something to play around with,” to being used equally alongside Partyka’s 35mm film cameras.

The result is My Friend Eric: the story of Eric Wortley and the agrarian tradition that he represents. The film subtly explores the decline of Eric’s world, the importance of memory, and how this world clings to the past. At the same time the film interweaves Partyka’s experience of photographing this agrarian world, and his friendship with Eric.

My Friend Eric is a work in progress, and Partyka is currently deeply immersed in the editing process as he slowly works through the approximately 100 hours of video he has recorded. My Friend Eric is expected to be ready for release in Summer 2010.

A 7.44 minute trailer of the film is currently showing as part of The East Anglians exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK, until 13 December 2009.