Screentest 2007

Screentest 2007
Bristol Students Union
2nd, 3rd, 4th of March 2007

Screentest had another excellent year in 2007, growing in numbers of attendees and delegates. In all 63 films were submitted, slightly down on 2006 although we received longer films on average so the amount of footage on display at the festival was about the same.

Whereas previous years had the Lock-In Screening in the Odeon Cinema, this year’s event all took place within Bristol Students Union, allowing a more open, free-flowing event where attendees could easily move from event to event. Submitted films were shown regularly throughout the weekend, with showreels in Action, Comedy, Drama, Documentary and Family, as well as the Lock-in on Friday night and the Best Of Reel after the awards ceremony on Saturday.

In addition to the films we had some excellent guests. The festival was opened by a speech from Stewart Till, Chairman of the UK Film Council. On Saturday a fascinating talk from documentary film director Michael Chanan got the attention, whilst on Sunday screenwriter and novelist David Nicholls talked about his book and screenplay, ‘Starter For Ten’.

The award winners

There were some excellent films this year but the Grand Jury prize as well as the Documentary prize went to Danny Dewsbury’s superb documentary ‘Slave Labour’, which detailed his time on a work experience placement with the Labour party in a revealing and controversial way. Zak Klein also won two awards for the comedy/drama ‘Beat Black Mornings’, which won the Drama and Script awards for its clever depiction of a shy poet. There were superb contributions in music video and animation as well as campaigning and action. The full list of award-winners is below. Congratulations to all of you and we hope you will return in 2008. And to those that didn’t win or didn’t submit – maybe this is your year!

2007 Awards

Grand Jury
Slave Labour by Daniel Dewsbury, Lancaster
Danny Dewsbury, director of 'Slave Labour'
Danny Dewsbury’s documentary deservedly won our Grand Jury best of the festival award for its intelligent insight into the labour government and the mistreatment of young people on work experience in the media industry. Danny’s film follows him through his time working to shoot a film for the Labour party’s National Conference, where he did professional quality work yet received litle recompense for his time and never saw the final version of his film. Interspersed with interviews with Labour politicians highlighting the hypocritical nature of media work experience, ‘Slave Labour’ is a satirical and intelligent documentary.

Beat Black Mornings by Zak Klein, East Anglia
Black Beat Mornings
This darkly comedic story of a shy poet trying to overcome his fears lingered in both the comedy and drama shortlists for a long while before we decided the subtle tone was more suitable in the drama category. The film directed by Zak Klein follows a young poet who spends his days at a seaside coffee shop, smitten by the waitress and desperately wanting yet afraid to read his work at the regular poetry slams. We were very impressed with the feel of this short, which Zak and his team gave a very independent-cinema feel. An understated script really made the film feel real and earned the Best Script award, whilst the air of teenage confusion and lonely melancholy made it a worthy winner of the Best Drama award.

Vegetise Me by Jay Foreman, York
We received some great comedy entries in 2007 and there were a couple of films that could have won – ‘Otherwise Engaged’ was a strong contender. Jay Foreman’s short, one of several high quality entries from the York Filmmaking society, won out through its large amounts of belly-laughs. A spoof of ‘Supersize Me’, the pseudo documentary follows host Sebastian Prague through a week eating nothing but carrots in an attempt to prove the orange vegetable’s evil nature. ‘Vegetise Me’ did a great job in telling a funny story and wrapping it up in a short time. In a year where we received a lot of long entries, the York team used admirably concise editing and this helped them win the Comedy Award.

Action, Horror or Suspense
Ocean Hill by Piers Royce, Southampton
Piers Royce, director of 'Ocean Hill'
Southampton are one of our strongest supporters and always bring plenty of fun people to the festival. In 2007 they also sent us a few entries and it was with great pleasure that we awarded Piers Royce’s ‘Ocean Hill’ the Action, Horror and Suspense award. One of the longer entries, ‘Ocean Hill’ uses three different viewpoints of the same events with great cinematography. A tramp, an asian student and a rough youth meet in a series of events that lead to a terrible end for one of them – and a fantastic looking car crash set piece! The overlapping perspectives add extra dimensions to each plotline. Piers is a director with a flair for interesting shots and has a bright future.

Waiting For The One by Miri Katz, Bristol
Miri Katz, director of 'Waiting for the one'
It was nice to get a homegrown Bristol student winning an award and Drama student Miri Katz deserved it with this heartbreaking documentary about a young girl with a terrible disease that requires an urgent bone marrow transplant to save her life. Miri Katz interspersed torn-paper stop motion animations with real camera footage of the family and this surreal juxtaposition added to the emotional impact of the message.

Music Video
Cabbages and Queens by Christian Aldridge, Bournemouth
Cabbages And Queens
Bournemouth University’s music video was nailed on to win this award as soon as we started to watch it. Very well directed by Christian Aldridge and with great acting, this bizarre tale of a girl being chased by two gay men was catchy, great to look at and absolutely hysterical. The use of subtitles was particularly clever and the song was specially made for the video – a great way to get round copyright – do a song yourself. You can watch Cabbages and Queens on Youtube Here.

Do The Brane by Max Alexander, Camberwell
Do The Brane
There were a number of interesting animation entries this year but Max Alexander’s music video ‘Do The Brane’ won because it was the most fun! Animating a band of knitted woolen puppets called ‘the Knitties’ using stop motion, Max produced a quirky short film that raised a smile on a lot of people’s faces. The song ‘Do The Brane’ by The Stabilisers was constantly in our head over the course of the weeks leading up to the festival! You can see Max’s Animation winning short on Youtube:

Technical Achievement
In Memory by Andy Marsh
Andy Marsh’s haunting ‘In Memory’ unfolds a Lynchian story of a woman whose traumatic experience has caused her to lose her memory. As a creepy hypnotist delves into her brain and past, we are treated to a number of excellent dream sequences and clever cinematography as the truth unravels. Whilst the story was well done it was the superb mixing of both Super-8 and Digital cameras and the various filter techniques that gave this short a really memorable and distinct look and feel. The editing and direction were excellent and the imaginative use of different film techniques justifiably earned Andy the Technical Achievement award. The film was also picked from our best of DVD to be shown in the experimental category at the Workhouse 2007 festival.

Leave a Reply