Filmonik Open Screening #46 - Review

Never let it be said that we make it easy for ourselves.

It's a freezing cold Sunday night, two weeks before Xmas and we have decided that this is an ideal time to launch Filmonik 2.1. Last screening of the year, and we're in a new venue, on a different Sunday in the month. We're competing with festive parties, seasonal get-togethers, miserable weather, and Sports Personality of the Year and the X-Factor Final on the TV. And to cover costs we've even had to put the price up.

As of 4.30 that afternoon, we had only 4 films confirmed, with a total running time of 25 minutes. So you could say that we were a little... twitchy beforehand.

But as ever, the lure of that open screen proved too strong for the region's filmmakers to resist, and our first screening at the Deaf Institute was something of a corker. There's a bigger screen, banked seating, a mezzanine - and our motor-mouthed mic queen Maria Ruban now has her very own stage to patronise the audience from. With the unflappable Mark Haig as ever on tech, ably assisted by the Deaf Institute sound man, Sean, we had ourselves another damn fine show.

It went a little like this:

First up, Filmonik Newcomer Kate Mellor, with a stunning, mixed-media experimental animation, PAYBACK TIME, first of two specially-edited sections from a longer piece, I WILL SETTLE IN MY STOMACH, I WILL SETTLE IN MY MOUTH. Then Mat Johns bombarded our delicate sensibilities with a re-cut of his recent Kabaret Klassic KISS, a sensitive romantic movie for psychos. Next up, Ben Edmundson, with the just-completed STRANGEWAYS, featuring a breathless chase through the streets of Manchester, superpowers of some kind and a naked lady. Finally, in the first section, another Filmonik Newbie, Giles Gough, who may not receive much of a welcome in the valleys after the scabrous "Welsh" comedy LLANDANIELFARCE.

Break for drinks, then more from Mat Johns, in the form of a heartfelt musical Birthday tribute to Filmonik lighting Maestro Tim Limon. Aw! How sweet. We'd a forfeit Film (and Xmas wishes) from Steve Homocult and partner in crime Mike, with DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY - featuring scary machete-wielding potty-mouthed hoodies - and what could be more festive than that? Next up, a truly bizarre moment of synchronicity, as Maria's boasting about her new dress, bought on a recent trip to Paris, was followed by a film from an authentic bone fide Frenchman, Jeremy Richard, whose stunning stop-motion animation DOLEUR managed to tell a heart-rending tale of alienation and suicidal despair using LEGO! Maria thought he was putting the accent on at first! Finally in section two, Kate Mellor returned, with a second, very different excerpt from her work in progress, the esoteric, unnervingly voyeuristic CHOKE.

Not a dry eye in the house, as Epic McDave Abbott screened what may well be his last ever Filmonik film, before he relocates to Hamburg in the New Year. Having spent much of the year providing music for others, he bid farewell with a music-based film of his own, GERIEZT, our second film of the evening exploring the geography of the city. McDave has been a Filmonik stalwart since the March Kabaret, and he and his hat fixation will be sorely missed. He will however be back, he promises, with his hat, for the next Kabaret. Next up, MYSTERIES, a silent line animation from Jason Vaughan who sadly had to leave before the screening. It was, he says, inspired by his dreams. Which appear to be considerably weirder and more interesting than most peoples’ by the looks of it. Then we’d WASTED STORY, a revealing glimpse into what director Jenny Hughes described as a long held fantasy - to dance through Manchester city centre to Elmer Bernstein’s score for West Side Story. Apparently it‘s Maria‘s fantasy as well, which explains a lot. A second Kaberet film revisited next, and our second film from Ben Edmundson, a director’s cut of the gritty, but punningly titled RUSKY BUSINESS. That looked like being that, but Col Warhurst suddenly produced a trailer for the forthcoming lavatory-based short BOG STANDARD, which he is promising for the next screening in February. There’s reason enough right there to write the date in your diaries:

FILMONIK #47: SUNDAY FEBRUARY 14 th 2009, the Deaf Institute.

What do you mean "that's Valentine's Day"???

We're not asking for hearts and flowers people. We don't want chocolates and sentimental cards. We just want your films! Join us for what may turn out to be a specially themed "Romance and Relationships" screening. Or maybe it won't - the onus is on you the filmmakers!

For now, though, have a happy Festive Season, and we'll see you in the New Year!he Filmonik Team
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