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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Movie makes director star of CCTV
The images in Faceless are all taken from real CCTV cameras
An Austrian filmmaker has come up with a novel way of avoiding the costs of creating a movie - by making her film entirely from images of real life captured by CCTV cameras.

Called Faceless, the film is the project of London-based Manu Luksch, who is both the star and director and describes it as a "science fiction fairy tale".

By taking CCTV of herself and blocking out the faces of anyone else captured on it, she created a story set in the future, in the "faceless world" - with herself as the only woman with a face.

"We're being filmed all the time, in all sorts of situations, by CCTV cameras," Ms Luksch told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

"As a filmmaker, I was really questioning myself - where I should bring in my own camera.

"I found out that under the Data Protection Act (DPA), one has the right to retrieve data which is held upon oneself. This does not only apply to medical and financial data, but also to CCTV images."


After she had the idea for the film, Ms Luksch set about attempting to get as much footage of herself as she could. The first recordings she was sent were images of herself in a theatre foyer.

The film was made according to the "manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers" - there was to be no specialist equipment or cameras involved; the only cameras used had to be CCTV cameras already in place; and the footage had to be obtained by using the Data Protection Act to procure it.

Manu Luksch
As an artist I try to work with these images in a way that it opens up questions to everyone
Manu Luksch
"It was interesting to observe a part of our legislation - in this case the Data Protection Act - over a period of five years," she said.

"My requests were more often than not replied to in an inadequate or uninformed way - the controllers had clearly not heard of the Data Protection Act."

She explained that the usual responses to her requests would either be no reply - despite the law stating requests for images must be responded to in 40 days - or she would be told no images could be provided.

Others attempted to charge thousands of pounds for "post-production", even though the DPA says that only a standard fee of 10 can be charged.

"There are lots of aspects of this legislation which are clearly neglected on a daily basis," she added.

"As an artist I try to work with these images in a way that it opens up questions to everyone who is concerned.

"We are always being recorded, and the Data Protection Act affects all of us."

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