Well, we must admit, we were a little worried for a while. As of Friday, we had maybe 4 films confirmed, and a couple of possible who had postponed screening until next time around. But of course we reckoned without our loyal filmmakers, and the lure of an open mic.
So it was, that once again, by Sunday, we found ourselves with a packed programme of films, from old friends and Filmonik Newbies alike. 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 rest of the Filmonik posse sat around drinking and biting their nails, wondering what was coming up next.
The show went something like this:
First up, we had a filmonik forfeit from Meshach Brencher, who made his debut at the last screening, and this month returned to unleash Simon Cowell the Gangster - a harrowing concept if ever there was one. This was followed by a Filmonik debut for Paul Blackburn, with “Speedhead”, a slice of comic urban realist performance poetry set to a dub beat exploring the thrills, spills, and of certain illicit mood enhancers.
Next up, Paul McDonahue explored Salford Superheroics and a legacy of abuse in “Kid Dangerous”, which seemed a little familiar - pretty certain this wasn’t the film’s premiere, but we’ll let you off, because you remembered to include the Filmonik Logo at the end.
After a break for serious drinking, Tim Limon gave a demonstration of what happens when he’s entrusted to shoot a wedding video for friends, in “Perfect Day”. He also earned himself a forfeit for omitting the logo - next time around, we want a video to accompany a Limahl song.
Next, McDave “Do You Want Music For That?” Abbott turned his hand away from composing to filmmaking, with his debut piece “Clark Without The E” which illustrated the kind of stress an incessantly chattering co-worker can cause to even the most mild-mannered of men.
Another Filmonik debut, next, for Angel Delgado, from Spain, who offered a Paul Verhoeven style take on the old “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” joke. Don’t say that too loud, or they’ll all want one. Never get tired of that .
Next up, “The Pass”: something of a departure for Filmonik’s resident graphics maestro and web designer Gareth Crook. A wry live action horror movie, with shades of “The Wicker Man”. Anyone who has ever driven along the road featured in the film will be all too ready to believe what happens.
More drinks, and then the return of another old friend, Mark Harris, who screened two experimental films made with his bearded sidekick Steve - the abstract and pyrotechnic “The Garden”, and "Hulme", an exploration of the old Hulme, before the developers showed up to gentrify everything and remove all the character along with the decaying concrete. Steve particularly asked to be given a forfeit, and so he was - we want a follow-up film about Didsbury. Be interesting to see what he comes up with for that.
Next up a break in the proceedings, as a mysterious horse-headed figure stormed the stage to object to his / its depiction in “The Pass”, and to offer as evidence some footage of the filmmakers at work. The equine agitator clearly had a point - for shame, Gareth, exploiting good natured rural weirdos like that!
To close, our second European film of the night - a classic from the last Kabaret, Marie Loos’ enigmatic “The Stranger”, in a brand-new cut.
In the end, the worry was for nothing, but it’s all part of the fun. This was another white-knuckle evening of unpredictable cinematic treats at the region’s only true “open mic” for filmmakers.
We’ll be back on October 4th, same time, same place. You’ve got two months, filmmakers. This is not the time to rest on your laurels. Get filming. The screen awaits you.