Filmonik Open Screening #43 - Review

Well, clearly not everyone in Manchester and Salford went to see Oasis on June 7th… Filmonik’s host venue, Odder, was rammed to the very doors by filmonikers old and new in search of the latest in independent short film from the region. The packed venue had an equally packed programme, as Filmonik #42 saw the return of some old friends and a whole lot of new faces. As ever, motor-mouth Maria Ruban rocked the mic as our hostess with the mostest, the unsinkable Mark Haig was our tech maestro, and the cinematic roll-call will soon enter into local legend…

First up, Filmonik newbie Roger Barker provided a darkly funny study of an uncomfortable reunion between a babysitter and his former charges in A QUIET NIGHT IN. Sometimes the past isn’t somewhere you’d want to revisit!

Next up, our old friend Tant Lay returned to the Filmonik Fold with SHELDON’S STORIES, a mischievous and unpredictable exploration of cinematic storytelling technique through the eyes of a psychopathically unreliable narrator.

Another long-time Filmonik Associate, Andy Birtwell, offered an object lesson in high-risk, seat of the pants, white-knuckle guerrilla filmmaking with TYRED, actually shot on his mobile phone while he was driving on a motorway. Hope there are no traffic cops reading this…

After a short break, spent mostly at the bar, it was time to MEET CHLOE AND DAVE, interviewees who reveal rather more than they realise, in a Mike Leigh style character comedy directed written and performed by Filmonik first-timers Anna Denise Whelan & David Tynan.

After his striking debut last month, Jason Vaughan returned with MAN OF SORROWS, a droll line animation based on his own sketches of European Renaissance religious paintings. A moment for contemplation, perhaps?

Next up was another debut, the punchy music video VOICES by Meshach Ricardo Brencher, another new name to the Filmonik roster, but one we expect to hear more from. But first he has a forfeit film to make: Simon Cowell the Gangster. So let’s just hope the strange-trousered king of lowest-common-denominator pop music isn’t of a litigious nature, eh?

Finally in the second segment of the show was Gary White’s MINDLOCK’D which, in a world where actors are increasingly cast for their resemblance to software, offers True Love in the style of classic computer game Space Invaders. Some sticks and glitches on this one, but we let him off a forfeit because he remembered the Filmonik logo.

More drinks and then Round Three, featuring four more filmmakers making their Filmonik debut…

Nobody likes to be conned, but everybody loves films about con artists, so no wonder Liam Shanagher’s deft and devious THE MANY DEATHS OF ANNIE MOORE proved a real audience favourite. Like all the best films of its kind, it exposed how the con worked - so that’s another one we won’t get fooled by in the future.

In 3 WISHES Jemshaid Ashraf showed how regret for actions done and undone can follow you beyond the grave. And that the chance to put things right may be no real chance at all. Alas, Jemshaid has something he needs to put right himself before he can screen again - no Filmonik logo means we want a forfeit film from him: Bollywood Horror. Hopefully, it’ll have some dancing in it, too…

David Schofield’s jaw-dropping LAST TRAIN was a visceral mood piece, focusing on face and gesture and oppressive ambient sound to depict the escalating sense of threat in a scenario we have all faced – waiting for late night public transport. This really should have got a forfeit for not including the Filmonik logo, but we were all so blown away by the film we let him off with a warning.

Finally, last, but by no means least, in a quirk of happenstance that makes it look like we programme this event in advance, James Waring & Rory Couper offered a broadly comic solution to precisely this kind of threat in their spoof commercial for the CHAVKICKER protection suit. But even so, we saddled them with a forfeit: Pirates on the Rochdale Canal. We really don’t know where our audience gets this stuff from, but by this stage in the evening, hopefully it was the beer talking.

All in all, a hell of an evening out, even if we do say so ourselves. We love it when a plan comes together, and even more so when everything comes together without a plan, but makes us all look like film programming masterminds even so.

We’ll be back in two months time, on August 2nd.

So start shooting those films now!
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