So rested and full of energy, I set off for my second day at the film festival, greeted by a new set of volunteers. After a quick cuppa, tour and briefing, we set to work, anticipating the arrival of our three events. How to Get Started in Filmmaking, Combat for Screen and Cardboard Cameras. The only one of these I managed to catch during my down time was Combat for Screen. I caught the session around half way through and it looked really fun! Lots of kids ‘fighting’ and coordinating their combat scenes. It was hosted by Lewis Penfold, a fight director who has worked on ‘Alexander’, ‘Poseidon’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. I really liked these types of events at the film festival, the more ‘get stuck in and DIY’ ones, I really think that they gave precedense to something which wouldnt naturally be the first area of film on audiences minds. It was fascinating to watch, and really good to see the audiences reactions to their finished products.
The Cardboard Cameras workshops were aimed at younger audiences, showing them how to create stop motion films. I had a quick look into the classroom where they were based to see children creating magical and wonderful set pieces, one I watched was a rocket and astronauts launching, with aliens. Another made a ski slope with skiiers, even better still the children got to take their creations home with them, and the girls hosting the workshop took their email addresses to email them their final pieces. Stop motion animation is an incredibly basic, but hugely effective and timeless (Wallace and Gromit anyone?) form of cinema. We’ve all made had a go at stop motion on our camera phones, being incredibly advanced, it’s effortlessly simple to create your own short film. It was lovely to see this very hands on basic approach of filmmaking happening.
The second lot of events was Online Video Success and a Filmmakers Journey with Danny Lacey. Online video success was hosted by Dennis Morrisson, who showed a different element of filmmaking, films for businesses. And finally the day was rounded off with the finalists of the Student film competition, which was packed. I really enjoyed seeing this enthusiasm for student filmmaking, it’s all too easy to dismiss student filmmaking as too arty, but this showcased some of the best local talent, who will hopefully one day become prolific filmmakers.
As a venue manager, I got invited to the closing party, which I couldnt stay for long unfortunately. It was at the Havana Club in St Albans and was decked out in glitz and glamour. The finalists and winners of the competition were announced amongst great food and equally great company, all the event hosts, filmmakers and guest speakers were invited to celebrate the successes of the film festival. I met the director of one of the finalist main film competitions, Joshua Westbury who made ‘We Can Get You Some Really Cheap Gear’ , a stop motion animation, with legos, based on the Bradley Cooper film, ‘Limitless’. This to me sums up perfectly the themes and elements of the film festival. Quirky and new, blended with mainstream and conventional. The festival was an wonderful opportunity to showcase new talent, but also to bring the big screen to a community.
I really hope that there will be a SAFF 2014, I will definitely be there, as a viewer, as a volunteer and you never know, might be my break into this industry.
(p.s. Check this out, Harlem Shake anyone?)