ANAGRAM is an award-winning creative company based at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, with a talent for producing work that seamlessly brings together the physical and digital world.
ANAGRAM’s strength lies in the creation of interactive experiences with a coherent and compelling emotional world. They are interested in connecting the extraordinary one-off tale to universal questions that lie at the heart of what it means to be human. They are quite strict about what “interactive” means.
In the last 12 months they have been commissioned and programmed by the Tower of London, Tribeca Storyscapes, Sheffield DocFest, the Young Vic Theatre, Birmingham Cathedral, Greenpeace, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Stoke City Council to produce projects ranging from experiential documentary, through to public art, children’s toys and video games. In a variety of ways, all these projects give participants both immersion into, and agency in, a story.
For their immersive documentary Door Into The Dark, they won the Storyscapes prize for best interactive work at Tribeca Film Festival, 2015. The jury included Shari Frilot (Sundance), Charlie Phillips (The Guardian) and Andrew Golis.
ANAGRAM are May Abdalla and Amy Rose.
Residents at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol, UK, Amy and May also give talks, workshops and conduct creative laboratories in the UK and abroad.
MAY and AMY have been making award-winning observational documentaries for UK broadcast and festival release since 2005. Between them their work has taken them from the front lines of the Egyptian revolution, to the intimate spaces of women dealing with severe postnatal breakdown. They have considerable experience in accessing people in sensitive situations, and collaborate with their characters to express their stories with emotional depth and a playful lightness of touch. Their films have been screened at over 25 international film festivals worldwide. Beyond the screen, both work on interactive and theatrical projects.
Collaborators involved with Anagram beyond the core team include architects, engineers, set designers, animators, musicians, creative technologists, graphic designers, sound designers and theatre makers.
ANAGRAM was formed in 2012, and were Artists in Residence at Blast Theory in April/May 2013.
MAY developed Alternative Reality Games at BBC Current Affairs and consulted for BBC World Service on a series of interactive projects. In 2011, she produced the BBC3 Our War multiplatform site, which involved sourcing 10 years of found footage from across Afghanistan to chart the personal stories of the war. Over 4000 hours of material from military and civilian sources were obtained. The series was awarded a Bafta and Sheffield Doc Fest premiered the site as part of its cross-platform docs showcase. In 2010 she ran “Give Your Vote”, a radical global stunt-come-intervention which used an SMS programme to globalize democracy. British citizens were able to give their votes in the UK election to those who were affected UK polices around the world.
Over 25,000 people were involved as locals organised parallel election campaigns in Afghanistan, Ghana and Bangladesh, including live screenings on the televised debates on Kabul rooftops and a mural paintings on the streets of Accra. The project received worldwide media attention and was endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
AMY has been making films, documentaries and interactive games for over a decade on subjects as far apart as elderly transvestites and small angry boys, world famous pianists and postnatal depression. Working to large and tiny scale, she has designed and built installations for a variety of UK festivals, directed shorts and music videos that have screened all over the world, and shot documentary features for a variety of directors. She studied film with the Scottish Documentary Institute at Edinburgh College of Art, where her graduation film was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent award and screened in the Trailblazers section of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009. She also runs wild camps for children in the woods, manages festival kitchens that cook elaborate food for hundreds of people and designs narrative-driven interactive games – taking them from forests ringing with the cries of small children to the nocturnal antics of music festivals around the UK. She is preoccupied with how we share and experience ideas and, when not holed up in the Pervasive Media Studio or tinkering with a show, she likes being outside in the woods.