Buxton Film

Buxton Film Festival - Programme 2009

Lecture Theatre, Devonshire Dome,
Buxton (SK17 6RY)

Friday 17th July 2009

Start Time Certificate

18:00

September - (Bafta 2009 - Best Short Film)

n/a

free

18:30

Slumdog Millionaire - Danny Boyle's Multi Oscar Winner

(15)

£5.00

20:30

Hunger - Cannes Winner First Time Director

(15)

£5.00

22:00

Close

Saturday 18th July 2009

Start Time Certificate

16:00

'sunken treasure' (2009) - Documentary on Buxton’s Crescent

n/a

free

16:45



Walking in Circles
A documentary based around Buxton woman, Eve Sims and her
1958 expedition to a remote region of the Himalayas.
The film is followed by Q & A with Eve and the film maker.

n/a


free




18:45

The Secret Life of Bees
Dakota Fanning, Paul Bettany, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys

(12)

£5.00



20:30


Waltz with Bashir - Award winning animation
A Film which coincides personal lives with political powers
in the Middle East.

(18)


£5.00





22:00

Close

Sunday 19th July 2009

Start Time Certificate

16:00

'sunken treasure' (2009) - Documentary on Buxton’s Crescent

n/a

free

16:45


'Open Shorts' - Session 1
The Undertakers
Our Hidden Heritage

n/a


free





17:25



'Open Shorts' - Session 2
Friends
Regret
Walk This Way

n/a



free







18:15




'Open Shorts' - Session 3
Goodbye Margaret
Reflection 9/11
Lost and Found
Real Nutter

n/a




free









19:15

September - (Bafta 2009 - Best Short Film)

n/a

free

19:45

Two Days in Paris - Romantic Comedy
Hugely Entertaining!

(15)

£5.00


21:30

Close

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

'Open Shorts'

Winners:

Best Film - September by Esther May Campbell
Best Young Person's Film - The Undertakers by Students of Together Trust School, Cheadle
Best Documentary - Our Hidden Heritage by Students of Anthony Gell School, Wirksworth and The While Hall Centre

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September September - 2008

Genre: Drama
By: Esther May Campbell
Running Time: 20 mins
Winner Bafta Best Short Film - 2009
Winner Buxton Film 'Open Shorts' - 2009
Screened on Friday at 18:00 and again on Sunday at 19:15

Caught in an in-between world of flyovers, grass verges and dead-ends, where the motorway hum serves as a constant reminder of the speed of other lives, Marvin is not going anywhere.

Into this forgotten corner of English countryside and motorway services arrives an extraordinary adolescent, changing his world forever.

With an international soundtrack from the likes of KAADA, Parvohaardu, Bass Clef and Crescent, this is a film of inbetween places and people.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Undertakers The Undertakers - 2007

Genre: Drama
By: Students of The Together Trust School, Cheadle
Running Time: 15 mins
Screened on Sunday at 16:45 (session 1)

Two Undertakers. Divided by law. United by greed.

THE UNDERTAKERS is a comic horror with a twist in its tail and is the result of several organisations and many individuals working together.

A bone chilling comedy horror. A remarkable, slightly twisted tale set in two time periods; the ‘hippy’ sixties and today.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Heritage Our Hidden Heritage - 2008

Genre: Documentary
By: Students of Anthony Gell, Wirksworth, White Hall Centre
Running Time: 12 mins
Screened on Sunday at 16:45 (session 1)

This is a short film about the history of lead mining in Derbyshire.

Derbyshire’s lead mining surface industrial archaeology has all but disappeared, with it the memory and knowledge of the local communities. Legacies of lead mining are however still in the landscape and people of the area, from rights of way, a hollow in a field following a lead vein, to surnames of the locals. What would have been such a major part of the industrial landscape and a major source of work for the area has been largely forgotten because it cannot be seen. Under the surface things are quite different. The area has a wealth of industrial archaeology. 150 year old railway tracks, 100m winch shafts, coffin levels and 300m vertical mines.

The project was funded by Young Roots, Heritage lottery. Three partnership organisations were involved, White Hall Outdoor Education Centre (Derbyshire’s outdoor & sports college, near Buxton), Anthony Gell Secondary schools and sports college, gifted & talented students (Wirksworth) and Matlock Bath Mining Museum.

We have produced an educational video on the lead mining of the Derbyshire Dales and High Peak areas, which can be used as a resource for local schools and the local community. The project engaged young people with a mix of outdoor adventure, media skills required to produce a video and a connection to the heritage round them.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Friends Friends - 2008

Genre: Documentary
By: David Littler
Running Time: 5 mins
Screened on Sunday at 17:25 (session 2)

‘Friends’ is a video short about past friends.

Its a personal reflection after having discovered this old photograph. It tries to capture my feelings immediately after finding the picture.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Regret Regret - (1981/2009)

Genre: Drama
By: John Cant
Running Time: 10 mins
Screened on Sunday 17:25 (session 2)

An aging man looks back over his uneventful life and recalls an afternoon on a riverbank thirty years ago. Based on the short story by Guy de Maupassant.

John Cant, who is now 88 years old, says “This was originally filmed on Super 8 in 1981. I have now completely rewritten and re-recorded the narrative, re-edited the pictures with some small additions on videotape. And of course the riverside scenes were actually filmed about 30 years ago! It now is a fairly accurate representation of the French short story by Guy de Maupassant (1850 – 1893)".

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Walk This Way Walk This Way (2006)

Genre: Mockumentary
By: Glassball Art Project
Running Time: 10 mins
Screened on Sunday at 17:25 (session 2)

This is a light hearted study of people who come into the Derbyshire Dales area to partake in leisure pursuits.

A ‘wildlife’ mockumentary exploring the existence of multi-coloured visitors that periodically inhabit Derbyshire’s scenic environment. The film is set in a pretty village and surrounding areas of natural beauty.

The film follows a group of visitors / walkers for one day; it begins in the morning showing the unspoilt, picturesque landscape that is about to be invaded.

Guided by our expert narrator, we enter a world inhabited by strange, colourful creatures who like to picnic, drink tea and walk with odd sticks.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Goodbye Margaret Goodbye Margaret (2008)

Genre: Oration
By: John Cant
Running Time: 6 mins
Screened on Sunday at 18:15 (session 3)

A public, but very personal, oration composed “while looking out at the scene in front of my window, familiar to me and my wife Margaret for 46 years”.

Set to the music of J S Bach.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Reflection Reflection 9/11 (2009)

Genre: Music
By: Kevin Allsop
Running Time: 4 mins
Screened on Sunday at 18:15 (session 3)

Music written and performed by Kevin Allsop played over stills of the World Trade Center in September 2001.

"I remember the 9/11 attack very well indeed. I was at work and I had the radio on in my office. The programme was interrupted saying a light plane had collided with one of the Twin towers in New York. Then the news reports changed giving more detail and as we all know what really did happen on that awful day. I had the radio on all the time and gave regular reports to the lads on the shop floor.

When I returned home and put on CNN, I was glued to the screen and at times thought I was watching a movie, but this was real and a big wake up call for us all.

While watching I picked up my guitar and the guitar seemed to play itself and the tune just came out.

The images were sent to me by my niece who at the time lived near New York in 2001."

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LostandFound Lost and Found (2009)

Genre: Drama
By: Glassball Art Project
Running Time: 8 mins
Screened on Sunday at 18:15 (session 3)

When the Imaginary becomes Ordinary

In the summer of 2008 Glassball worked with a group of young people from the Derbyshire Dales area in partnership with The Devonshire Educational Trust at Chatsworth. It was premiered at Chatsworth in the autumn of 2008 and has been distributed within the local area.

This is an experimental and contemporary piece of film work using Chatsworth as it inspiration. This mystery utilises the house and gardens to tell an unusual tale of children’s nursery rhymes and stories into reality of a day out at Chatsworth.

Our film focuses on a group of young people who go to Chatsworth for a nice day out together to celebrate finishing school. As the day goes by, one by one, the group enters what seems to be other realities connected to famous fairy tales and old children’s stories. We come across Snow White, Red Riding Hood and others but interpreted in a new way that responds to the environment the group finds themselves in.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

RealNutter Real Nutter (2008)

Genre: Spoof Horror
By: Ben Jones
Running Time: 17 mins
Screened on Sunday at 18:15 (session 3)

It’s a nice day in the countryside for the residents of Brunswick Mental Institution but when events take an unexpected turn, it becomes a nightmare journey that you will never forget!

Warning: Contains horror imagery that some viewers may find upsetting, Recommended for an adult audience.

(review)
(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Feature Films

Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire - 2008 (15)

Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla
Running Time: mins
Screened on Friday at 18:30

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Waltz with Bashir Waltz with Bashir - 2008 (18)

Language: Israeli with Subtitles
Genre: Drama / Animation
Director: Ari Folman
Running Time: 87 mins
Screened on Saturday at 20:30

An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict, particularly his part of the massacre in a Palestinian camp in 1982.

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Secret Life of Bees The Secret Life of Bees - 2008 (12)

Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Paul Bettany
Running Time: 105 mins
Screened on Saturday at 18:45

Bring Your Girlfriends, Sisters, Mothers and Daughters!
Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hunger Hunger - 2008 (15)

Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Steve McQueen
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Ray Lohan Screened on Friday at 20:30

The last six weeks of the life of the Irish republican hunger striker Bobby Sands.
Winner of the First Time Director award at Cannes says "What I want to convey is something you can't find in books or archive, the ordinariness and extraordinariness of life in this prison. Yet also the film is an abstraction in a certain way, a meditation on what it is like to die for a cause"

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Two Days In Paris Two Days In Paris - 2007 (15)

Language: English / French
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Julie Delpy
Running Time: 96 mins
Starring: Adam Goldberg and Julie Delpy. Screened on Sunday at 19:45

Described by Film 4 as "a risqué post-romantic comedy set in the City of Love", This film follows two days in the relationship of a New York based couple; Marion, a French photographer and Jack an American interior designer. They attempt to re-infuse their relationship with romance by taking a vacation in Europe. Their trip to Venice didn't really work out, they both got gastroenteritis. They have higher hopes for Paris. But ...

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Documentaries


The Himalayas"Walking in Circles"

Screened on Saturday at 16:45

A film which looks at the changes over 50 years of Zanskar, a remote Tibetan Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas. Featuring film taken in the 50's by an expedition of 3 British women one of which is Buxton's very own Eve Sims!

In the summer of 1958 three English housewives drove 8,000 miles to India. All married to mountaineers they decided to have an adventure of their own.

Eve Sims (a Buxton woman), Anne Davies and Antonia Deacock set their sites on Zanskar; a remote Tibetan Buddhist Kingdom in the North West Himalaya, the highest inhabited valley on earth and one of the last unexplored regions on the map.

After six weeks of driving the women arrived in India to discover that it would be impossible to visit Zanskar without special permits and these had not been granted to any Europeans for many years. Zanskar lay beyond the infamous inner-line, beyond which no-one was allowed to travel for reasons of personal safety and Indian border security.
The three young women were then, surprisingly invited to an informal afternoon tea with Prime Minister Nheru himself. Charmed by their determination, he immediately arranged the permits they needed to travel where they wanted to go!

The women carried with them a cine camera given to them by one of their sponsors, Ovaltine. Despite their stills cameras being badly damaged during river crossings during the 5 week trek through the valley, the cine film survived and has remained unseen for many years.

It wasn't until the film was recently uncovered it became apparent that the women's film was very rare and it was established that it was the first ever colour moving footage shot in the Zanskar valley. The film has been re-cut and the story of the women uncovered thanks to the involvement of Ovaltine with photographer and film maker Martin Salter.

The Himalayas

Q & A

The film maker, Eve Sims and Tanzin Norbo (a young Zanskari man who lives in the UK and who featuers in the film) will be at the screening and there will be opportunity to talk with them after the film.

The Film Maker - Martin Salter

After spending 6 months living in Zanskar in the mid 1980’s, photographer and film maker Martin Salter decided to return but was looking for an interesting subject for the theme for a documentary. On discovering the existence of the Women’s film he set to re-editing the films with interviews from the three women. In the spring of 2007 he returned to Zanskar with a small video player and showed the film widely – gauging people’s response and shooting a film on changes in the region over the past 50 years. www.himalayadoc.com

(review)

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

'sunken treasure'
The Crescent

Screened on Saturday at 16:00 and again on Sunday at 16:00

An audio-visual exploration of the Crescent, Buxton by Andrew Robinson

In ‘sunken treasure’ Andrew Robinson explores the Buxton Crescent taking the viewer behind the exterior façade to reveal the unseen interior spaces of the building.

His roving video camera explores the fabric of the building with a forensic attention to the detail of the deserted and decaying interior.

This atmospheric floating imagery is accompanied by audio descriptions and memories suggesting aspects of the building’s past.

Eschewing formal narrative structure the audio and visual elements combine to create a poetic evocation of the building’s former grandeur and multi-faceted history.

Andrew Robinson is a photographer whose practice combines still and moving imagery, sound, projection and installation to explore issues relating to identity, community and place.

Between 2000 and 2005 Andrew Robinson undertook a number of art installations exploring different aspects of the Crescent culminating in a ‘Son et Lumier’ performance in December 2005. It was whilst working on these projects that he collected the imagery and audio that forms the basis of this film.

Andrew Robinson
Email: andrew@anthology.co.uk
Telephone: 07791 464 302

(review)

(back to top)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Documentary - Reviews

Walking in Circles

Written and Directed by Martin Salter

This inspirational documentary film provides an account of three visits to Zanskar, a remote part of northwest Buddhist Tibet. The first visit was undertaken in 1958 by three young women (Anne Davies, Antonia Deacock and Eve Sims), all with mountaineering husbands, intent on having their own adventures. The second by a young photographer, Martin Salter, who first went in the mid-1980's and then returned in 2008. For the last visit he went armed with a copy of the film made of the women's trip as well as his own photographs from his first trip. The idea was to reflect, with the now much more accessible community, on changes to their world over 50 years. Although we are not privy to an examination of all aspects of the changes, some have clearly not been for the better.

These adventurous young women drove by landrover from London to Delhi where they had to petition Nehru to allow them to pass through the adjacent region of India, isolated by 'sensitive borders and long winters', to get to the Tibetan valley of Zanskar. It seems that permission to travel to these parts was rarely given to outsiders but the women must have charmed India's first premier. A major concern apparently was that 'should anything go wrong, it would be hard to send help'. Not the least bit daunted the women spent many weeks trekking in high mountains, fording fast running and icy rivers in the outer part of the larger Himalayan massif. They seemed to have been welcomed into this remote community where the economy was mostly subsistence farming and where many families sent their children to the monastries to be fed, educated and cared for. These Tibetans had never seen 'white women' before and they found Anne Davies with her yellow hair especially fascinating. Nor had they ever seen themselves; they found mirrors especially disconcerting. The zip too also received special attention.

Shown the film of the earliest trip, the current community found much to laugh at in the clothing, especially the hats, and for some reason that was not obvious, the teeth of their forebears. There was also a lot of warmth in their responses to earlier pictures of themselves or of ancestors. Many had memories of those times that were a mixture of nostalgia but also gratitude that things had in some regards changed for the better. Asked whether any of them wanted to be farmers the children, now all in their school uniforms, replied in unison that they did not; a remarkable change from the 1950's when the choices for the boys were farming or the monastery with, presumably, most of the girls staying at home.

In the 1970's a new road was constructed to make the valley much more accessible. A few years later a much better one replaced it so that the nearest towns at the head of the valley could be reached in hours, a journey that took days before and sometimes was not possible at all because of endless winters. The community reported that there was now much less snow and that there were fewer glaciers too. More alarmingly in recent years the valley had been invaded by locusts from 'over the mountains' which had in some parts razed whole crops. Large numbers of birds were also found to be dying. The monks in the monasteries diagnosed a problem with karma and that this reflected some past sins of the community. I suspect that the sins were not theirs but maybe the inclination to look inwards for explanations is an admirable aspect of their culture.

People are now leaving the valley, some never to return. One man, Tanzin Norbu, went to university and eventually made his way to England to visit Anne Davies in Cumbria (Anne sadly died last year). For Martin Salter this completes the circle that is the title of this film. The man from the formerly remote community observed by outsiders comes to look at the land of the observers. In relation to his own community Tanzin Norbu thinks that innocence has been lost, that people no longer have time, are no longer inviting visitors into their homes and that many are leaving. He thinks a new kind of wisdom is needed.

Sponsored by the Ovaltine company, these two lovely films explore some really difficult themes in a gently challenging way. The film begins with some Tibetan wisdom - 'If a valley is reached by high passes, only the best of friends and the worst of enemies are its visitors'. It seems as if this community had both.

Martin Thomas

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

sunken treasure

by Andrew Robinson

Since its closure over 15 years ago, very few people have had access to the interior of Buxton Crescent. The filmmaker and photographer Andrew Robinson is one of these people. This fascinating film made over a period of eight years therefore provides the viewer with a unique experience.

This film is beautifully shot: Light is shed on the dark decaying interior, all is not still, and there is a sense of the progressing decomposition. The footage is atmospheric combining both still and moving images, the latter containing only small elements of movement, dust particles swirling, a curtain moving in the breeze. The camera zooms slowly from wide-angle shots to detailed close ups. Often the screen is split and we see a juxtaposition of interacting shots that encourage an altered observation.

The audio like the video is layered. The narrative voices ebb and flow both complimenting and contrasting with the more sombre visuals. With both we are able to respond to two or more viewpoints simultaneously. This stratagem might sound confusing but works beautifully well in this film, making it thought provoking and always hooking the viewers attention.

The narrative and the images provide a history of the Crescent, but this is not a dry linear history - we are given tantalising glimpses of past eras. There are humorous moments: Learn about canoodling in the “hot bricks”. Imagine the organist Esme Hand, her slippers, bottle of Guinness and her commode. Find out the cause of spotty scrambled eggs. Marvel at the incongruity of the 1960’s wallpaper.

The film is a gem. Do not miss it.

Ruth Marsden

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Open Shorts - Reviews

September

Written and Directed by Esther May Campbell
Produced by Stewart le Maréchal

September, written and directed by Esther May Campbell, has won the BAFTA award for short film. It has also won the UK Film Council Award for Best Film at the London Short Film Festival in January 2009, and Best British Film at the Encounters Festival in Bristol, in November 2008.

This short film tells the story of Marvin who works at a roadside fast food restaurant but dreams of something more. Marvin is going nowhere and this feeling is aggravated by a co worker set to leave for university and by his friend Roland who demands his loyalty. He feels that everything and everyone is moving on – the traffic rushes through and the people around him leave for better things – but Marvin is stuck there, without the confidence to go.

However this all changes one evening while Marvin is watching the sun setting. Laying in an abandoned, overgrown field Marvin catches sight of an extraordinary young girl and his life changes forever. Inspired by the unusual circus performer Marvin makes the decision to move on and follow his dreams. He recognises the need to free himself from his routine life and the overbearing influence of Roland. He has found something new in himself and now has the courage to escape.

September was described at the Atlantic Film Festival as being ‘beautifully shot in an enigmatic and poetic style- subtle and magical.’

The film uses some stunning close up shots and a cleverly chosen international soundtrack. These combined with the mysterious storyline make exquisite viewing.

Jess Savage

______________________________________________________

Our Hidden Heritage

by Students of Anthony Gell School, Wirksworth
and The While Hall Centre

This is a very charming short film about the history of lead mining in Derbyshire by students of Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth. It follows their research as they interviewed local people, visited museums and even took a trip down a mine. These different sections provide a very interesting and educational look at the industrial past of the Peak District. Talking to numerous people in the community showed how important lead mining was to the locals and how it has shaped their lives today. Although many memories have disappeared with the mining itself it is interesting to hear what knowledge has been passed down through the years.
The film includes some stunning shots of the landscape showing that although largely forgotten, traces of mining can still be seen in the countryside. However the majority of lead mining evidence lies, unsurprisingly, underground. The students took a guided tour of a mine looking at various shafts, learning how the mines worked and the miners lived.

The project was funded by Young Roots, Heritage lottery. Three partnership organisations were involved, White Hall Outdoor Education Centre, Anthony Gell Secondary School and Sports College, and Matlock Bath Mining Museum. The film was intended to be an educational video on the lead mining of the Derbyshire Dales and High Peak areas and it has been very successful in this respect as there is a lot to be learned from the film.

The project engaged young people with a mix of outdoor adventure and media skills. Not only did the students manage to produce an interesting documentary but the camera work is impressive with some spectacular underground shots.

Jess Savage

______________________________________________________

The Undertakers
By Students of ‘The Together Trust School’, Cheadle

Two prisoners share a cell. One is about to escape having created a hole in the floor with his toothbrush. His cellmate discloses that he is inside for killing people. He reveals that back to the 1960's the undertaking business was under threat because people weren't dying. To prevent the business from crashing he and his partner decided to generate a little business themselves. The money taken from the corpses is buried nearby and the cellmate is told where it is to be found. Does he have a cunning plan?

Thus begins an everyday story of Burke and Hare, acted out with great gusto. The narrative unfolds at a good pace with the escapee meeting up with friends, pursued by the prison warder and his gaffer as well as a menacing duo who have got to hear about the swag. The money is found but events take a sinister turn down in the woods.

The camera work is lively, moving us quickly through fading techniques from graveyard to cell, to flashbacks from the1960's and then to the countryside and woods. The accompanying music uses leitmotifs for the action with solo piano, rock and strings for the suspenseful bits.

It looks as if the young people who put this one together had great fun. Farce it is and, moreover, the bad man gets away with it. A sign of the times?

Martin Thomas

______________________________________________________

Regret

Filmed and Narrated by John Cant

This is a faithful filming of a short story by Guy de Maupassant - one that, unusually for him, tells of the missing of an amorous connection.

Originally filmed in Super 8 in 1981 the film has recently been re-edited and re-narrated.

The filming is as poignant and evocative as the story and I’m sorry that I saw it first with the narration. I’ve tried watching it since without the sound but I can’t be sure that it would work without having already heard the story. I think it would be an interesting experiment to show it in the Film Weekend without the sound first and then with sound after.

The storyboard and the acting are excellent and I’d like to see it succeed without narration, maybe with just a gentle music soundtrack.

John Cant is approaching his nineties now so it’s bit unfair to ask him but he’d be the man to do it, with, perhaps, just a few extra shots.

John Wilson

______________________________________________________

Real Nutter

Directed by Ben Jones
Cinematography by Jim Lampard
Music/sound by Emlyn Vaughn

Buxton’s very own mock, schlock horror movie with wigs and a guest appearance from Robert de Niro.
Think Deliverance with humour and without the happy ending.

The notes warn that this film contains scenes of horror and recommends and adult audience. I presume this refers to the wigs which are truly and knowingly awful. There is plenty of comic horror of the axe wielding variety but I’m assuming the film intends it to be funny. The story, an entirely credible one, set as it is in Buxton, follows a picnic outing of “nutters” and their encounter with the “Real Nutter” of the title. The result is bloody comical.

I expect some people will make the effort to be offended by this film. I wasn’t, but I’m a big fan of Mel Brooks and think the campfire bean supper scene in Blazing Saddles and the Nazi dance sequences from The Producers are among the funniest scenes ever filmed. That may be all you need to know about this reviewer and you may wish to read no further. But, I defend the freedom to offend. The freedom to be bland is not worth having.

It is clear that everyone involved in the making of this film had a very good time indeed. Good for them. Viewing all the short film entries this year it was clear that this is one pointer to the making of an enjoyable film.

I thought the Real Nutter was Mark Flett but it wasn’t. Of course, if it had been Mark there’d have been no need for the mask.

John Wilson

______________________________________________________

Lost and Found

Glassball Art Projects

Fairy stories and traditional tales are, according to some psychologists, ways in which we can process subconscious worries and anxieties. Concerns about coping with growing up or being separated from loved ones are, for example, common themes. This film – made by young people and supported by the Midlands-based Glassball Art Projects – uses some of the visual language of traditional stories to explore precisely those themes.

Lost and Found, as the title suggests, deals with the world through opposites and contrasts: indoors and outdoors; colour and black and white; formality and informality; silence and noise; community and isolation.

Filmed around Chatsworth in Derbyshire Lost and Found shows young people picnicking, talking about what they might do, throwing Frisbees. Nothing could be more ordinary or playful. The actors are relaxed and chatty; the images are soaked in green and red.

There are also scenes filmed inside – using corridors, tunnels, arches (Freud would have a field day here!) Colour is leached leaving a shadowy, echoing space. There is a sense of uncertainty, fear, loneliness. Ordinary things – a pair of shoes – become threatening.

The film does not try to resolve these contrasts but reminds us that not far from the ordinary and everyday there are places and events that are bound to trouble us.

Quite a large team were involved in the making of this short film and it may be that this accounts for the fragmentary nature of it. Between them they clearly have plenty of ideas and it would interesting to see what they produced working in groups of 3 or 4 rather than 7 or 8.
www.glassball.org.uk

Keith Savage

______________________________________________________

Goodbye Margaret

Directed and Narrated by John Cant

This short film is a lament for the narrator's wife who died suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago in 2005 aged 78. Told in a straightforward manner we learn that Margaret Cant (nee Fisher) had a happy childhood. An only child she was fortunate to go to university shortly after the second world war; still relatively uncommon for a woman at this time. Margaret consented to marry about a year after the proposal was first put and a year further on still, they were married. Two children came later and the couple had a spell living in Plymouth and then later in Guildford. Both ended up lecturing. The couple were lucky to share a love of music. We learn that Margaret was kind, generous of spirit and unselfish. A full and largely happy life met with one major tragedy with the death of a grandchild.

The film begins with a shot from the couple's front room; a view they shared for 46 years of their 56 year marriage. Thereafter in a simple format we have background moving film of various locations enjoyed by the couple with superimposed stills of happy times from Margaret's early life, college, on the beach and musical evenings. We learn that at college the couple went on a youth hosteling trip to Stratford.

The general style is restrained and respectful; the music sombre. It is clear from the narrative that the feelings of loss are still very raw. Showing a film about a loved one is now increasingly common at wakes. People manage their sorrow in many ways and it may be that showing the film to strangers continues to help a man still in the throes of grieving.

Martin Thomas

______________________________________________________

Friends

Directed and Narrated by David Littler
Music composed and performed by David Littler

When I was a young man, I thought nostalgia was something sweet and savoury that old people enjoyed. As I have progressed into my fifties it has become something that is supposed to be negative, unfulfilling and leads to dissatisfaction. Before writing this review I needed to look up its definition out of fear that I had misunderstood its meaning.

“wistful or sentimental longing for things, persons, or situations that are past and irrevocable”

‘Friends’ is an expression of this dilemma.

It is a collage of music, stills and film which express the feelings or reliving the memories of the author in his youth. The narration tells us about each of the people in the photograph which sparked off the reflection. But he warns us of his father’s rule about nostalgia.

Although from a different era, watching this film evoked my own memories of sitting on the floor in the back room in John C’s house where we listened to Santana and could smell the grass of the fields of Woodstock.

At the close of the film, the younger of our reviewers declared ‘I don’t want to grow old!’ and maybe this exclamation echoes the definition of nostalgia. The difference between being there and then looking back and knowing that being there again is folly.

This film should appeal to anyone who has left behind the stomping ground of their youth, its joys and the people with whom you shared it. This is a simple film which says a lot.
Martin Wood

______________________________________________________

Reflection 9/11

Music by Kevin Allsop

This short film comprises a piece of music set against a series of stills of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001.

Using his guitar with an instrumental composed on the evening of September 11th, Kevin wants to express and share his feelings and reaction to this event.

Apart from the political stills towards the end, this few minutes of music allows us to focus on and remember the tragedy of that day and to consider the people who suffered and who still struggle today.

Martin Wood

______________________________________________________

Walk This Way

Glassball Art Projects

Walk This Way is described as a “mockumentary” and makes gentle fun of two things that may be close to our hearts – the Attenborough wildlife film and rambling.

Rambling, of course, has a history and for those of us living near to Kinder Scout the freedom to roam and access to the countryside are matters that we are keenly aware of. For younger people this historical perspective may not be a concern. Walk This Way is a film made by young people and gently mocks ramblers and rambling as though this is simply a quaint and occasional pastime.

The ramblers who are the film’s subject are not the dedicated lot who are out at least once a week all year long, regardless of the weather. These are bank holiday ramblers and as such they don’t really know why they are walking. It is walk as ritual and it is aspects of the ritual – the clothing, the food – that are made fun of.

Since these ramblers are described as “walking aimlessly” it is reasonable enough that visually much of what we have is almost two-dimensional. There is no real sense of engagement with the world – it is a matter of passing through. Aspects of rambling dress, equipment, demeanour and gait are scrutinised and found amusing. All of us will recognise ourselves, or rambling colleagues, in these caricatures.

For me the most gripping and attractive part of the film was the soundtrack – made up mostly of a repeated banjo tune and a tape-loop of bleating sheep. The clashes and spaces in the soundscape were frequently absorbing.

Walk This Way was made by the Glassball Arts Projects, based in the Midlands.
www.glassball.org.uk
Keith Savage

______________________________________________________