The Children of Fogo Island
The Children of Fogo Island is a unique entry in Colin Low's Fogo series. Unlike the other films completed as part of island-wide Fogo project, The Children of Fogo Island stands alone as a poetic document of the island's youngest generation. Surprisingly, Colin Low once described it as "the most useful film" in the Fogo process.
Here's how he explained it in an interview with contributors Michael Baker and Chris Meir in 2002: "Everywhere we went, the kids would gather. They would stand beside the camera and watch, and then they would get bored, and then they would start to play. And so I pulled [cameraman] Bob Humble to the side and said ‘Look, we're doing a lot of boring stuff. None of these kids are boring. Every time you get a chance, turn the camera around and film the kids.' And I said, ‘You can do as much of it as you want. I will arrange for some kids to do things, but mainly you just shoot them.' And so he did. When we began editing the film I had only one condition: any kid that appeared [in the raw footage] had to appear in the film. I didn't want to leave a kid out. I wanted all the kids of Fogo Island in this film, and it was going to be long and maybe boring. I had arranged to get a local group – it was a rock ‘n' roll group called the Philadelphia Cream Cheese – to gather for a recording. They were quite marvellous in putting together half a dozen songs. And then we took that particular film back to Fogo Island and showed it.
"Every time we'd go to a village, the first thing we showed was The Children of Fogo Island, and there were kids from all over the island appearing in the film. The energy of the kids made people think of their own childhood and what they loved about their own childhood: the freedom about it; the endless play; copying their dads on the boats. The other thing that struck people is the melancholy that you can see on Fogo Island, but we had an enormous demand for [the film.]"