Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sutton Film Festival 2004

Sunday last (which was also Halloween) I spent a very pleasant evening at the annual Sutton Film Festival, organised by Marq English. Marq had invited me along as he was showing DAEMOS RISING (the Doctor Who/Daemons spin off film I scripted for Reeltime Pictures). The venue was the UCI Cinema in Sutton - one of the big multiplexes and we had Screen 3 for the duration. The films on show ranged from the short (3 minutes was the shortest) to the long (at 52 minutes, DAEMOS RISING was the longest) and everything in between. What impressed me the most was the sheer quality of the films. The direction, lighting, camerawork, editing and acting in practically all of them was top notch, and the ideas were also inspiring. Among my favourites was HOLLY BOLLY - hard to explain, but it's sort of the story of two filmmakers who want to make a film, but the only finance they can get is from some porn film distributor who wants a sort of Hollywood/Bollywood blockbuster but has no idea how to go about it. The laugh out loud scenes included hard-men dancing Bangra style, and the realisation that songs were needed! THE OTHER SHOE is one of those deceptively simple ideas: a woman at a bus stop has just one shoe on, and so the other people at the bus stop imagine how this might be (including a theory from a dog!). The actual reason is inspired. F.I.S.T. was a trailer for a full length science fiction action blockbuster which looks very impressive indeed - apparently it's nearly complete now. THE DAY BIFFO WOULDN'T WAKE UP is an achingly funny cartoon about a boy and his dog, who dies one day and comes back as a zombie. Done in the style of the old 'Charlie Says' road safety adverts of the 70s, this was inspired lunacy. I also loved GOODBYE, a tale of a man trying to move on to date other women, all the time egged on by his girlfriend who he really loves ... it's a poignant film and certainly brought a lump to my throat. Finally of mention is THE CAVENDISH PRINCIPLE, a clever, clever little drama about police investigating child abduction with a wicked twist. Extremely professionally put together, this one featured top actor Julian Glover in a cameo. There were some spoofs, some Doctor Who related tomfoolery, some films which were unsettling (one about an evil landlord certainly had some moments of effective terror) some which were just plain strange (one about a woman made of cheese and officious MIB-like officials who clamp your feet together in a forest!). There was even a sex comedy about a man who is subjected to a sex ray and becomes instantly attractive to all sexes. Overall, there were 21 films on show, and the cinema was packed out for most of them. If this is the quality of film making we can expect from the next generation, then it's in safe hands indeed. For more information on the festival, check out the website at

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