This year’s Liverpool Film Night at FACT demonstrated once again the remarkable and prolific talent than spans the North West. The audience bared witness to seven incredibly well made short-films, that were shortlisted from 57 submissions, a new record for the competition. Head judge and host of the evening Nick Moss, actor and filmmaker, had chosen the final films, and introduced them to the crowd, which consisted of the filmmakers themselves, and film appreciators alike. Within the hour, every film garnered attention and praise, and as the collection was varied, there was something for everyone to enjoy.
After the screening, Nick was joined by a panel of guests from various areas of filmmaking. It included Lynn Saunders who is the manager of the Liverpool Film Office. She has worked on Brookside and the latest in the Harry Potter franchise Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Other panellists were Clare Binns, the Director of Programming and Acquisitions at Picturehouse Cinemas, and Martin Wallace, award winning filmmaker and director. Following the showcase of the films was a Q&A session with the panellists, and as experts in their fields, they gave tremendous advice and guidance to those wanting to get involved in film.
With an array of styles and narrative choices, all seven films succeeded in portraying their intended stories, with some slightly more experimental than others. The night kicked off with Hazuan Hashim and Phil Maxwell’s Save Our NHS, which gave us a glimpse of those who are campaigning to ensure the continuation of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Bringing in historical footage which shows the inception of the NHS and its original values to give a sense of nostalgia for British audiences, the film stated that we mustn’t forget why it was introduced. Clare Binns described the films as a ‘real-life issue’ with a ‘powerful message’.
Second out was Hilbre Island, a documentary-like film made by Andrew Chonfelder was a firm favourite, with its gorgeous scenic shots tied with a narration of the island’s history and unique inhabitants. It was a treat for all the senses, and an education for those unfamiliar with the island. It’s safe to say that the island will receive greater recognition from the making and showcasing of this film.
The animated film BATTEY by Laura O’Neill, was a brilliant example of how film can make its audience lose itself in its matrix. It’s a film that unearths countless layers and elements, particularly for using features as a video-game. Its images and messages were strong and provocative throughout.
Jack Peace by Harry Sherriff, was one of two comedies we were presented with, and it didn’t disappoint in keeping the audience chuckling. It features a parodic police officer, resembling tropes of a typical Hollywood cop, and we can’t help pitying him and his attempts to be a reputable hero.
A film that combined aspects of comedy, animation and the surreal was Pandrix, made by Sara Procter and Oliver Bradley-Baker. It was a delightful watch, with every detail cleverly chosen to present what it would be like to anthropomorphise a panda, right down to him drinking ‘Panda Pop’ drinks. The panda played a game resembling Super Mario, but instead he is playing as a Panda, and some members of the audience (including myself, which I loved) may’ve noticed a version of Desiigner’s song ‘Panda’ arranged as an old school video-game score.
Knobbly Bobbly was another successful comedy of the night, made by Laurence McSherry. Audiences were treated to an extraordinary narrative, that of a man who operates both as an ice-cream man, but who also sells some more sinister items on board his van, as he tries to do justice for his daughter on careers day. Safe to say he makes many awkward encounters.
Holes in their Souls by Andy Smith was one of the more dark, complex films of the night. The audience’s perception of what is real or fictional is manipulated with this piece, and this is achieved splendidly. It details the lives of two sadistic men trying to scavenge for the socks of the public, and their eventual downfall. When asked by the panellists how the film’s subject matter was discovered, the filmmakers replied that it was through personal experience of a man asking him for his socks, to which the audience and panellists were delighted with.
The Q&A and discussions between the audience and the panellists was the perfect time for ideas and suggestions to be voiced. The panellists urged audience members interested in film to work hard and gain as much experience as possible to achieve in filmmaking.
One of the closing statements made by Nick is what I’ll end on, in that film watching is a ‘beautiful communion’ which was exemplified when watching all seven films on that evening; I was truly inspired by these filmmakers.
Watch this space for more filmmaking opportunities at FACT!