Simple cinema is often the most effective. Films like Tangerine and Moonlight have recently caused ripples in mainstream cinema yet on the surface they are simple. Minimal locations, minimal cast and in the case of Tangerine filmed on an iPhone. Yet these films often come with an intimacy and an emotional honesty that films with the bigger budgets, sets and casts often don’t.

This is what we are provided with here. This short film deals with an in dibley emotionally frought topic that needs that honesty in order for it to be portrayed eloquently and to do it justice. This films succeeds admirably in that quest.

The single setting and minimal cast means that it’s easy for the audience to invest quickly in the story and characters as they learn about them almost instantly. The drama that is already unfolding as we enter the film draws us in and keeps us there as we discover what has drawn these characters to the situation they are in.

Despite the films simplistic origins the production quality is excellent and there is nothing within it that distracts from the action. The script is well written without using cliches or tropes to get its point across and keeps enough mystery to one side so the audience stays involved.

The lead actors portray the emotion of the film well and with honesty. Both characters are easy to relate to and to empathise with, which is part of the charm of the film. Nothing about the performances feels fake or contrite.

Overall a well produced and executed short film that uses simple techniques to deliver a powerful short film.

A Crystal Carol

There is only one word to describe this festive film and it is stunning. Right from the opening the retro animation brings to mind the Raymond Briggs adaptations which immediately transports viewers to that festive nostalgia that works so well in this film.

What makes this so original is not only its fresh take on a classic story, but the mix of animation and live action. They juxtapose each other and compliment each other perfectly, especially as the live action has the same voice over as the animation. This ties it all in together and means the live action doesn’t jar with the animation.

There is a distinctly ominous and sometimes quite disturbing atmosphere to the film which aids in that nightmare/subconscious feel to the film, and is almost a homage to the original text.

The script is well written without overuse of exposition in unnecessary dialogue. The acting, both live action and voice over is well executed and well directed and the overall production quality is of a high standard. Sets and locations are used well and costume and make up are outstanding. It all comes together to provide a wonderfully somber piece of film that is affecting and intriguing.

The film is well made from a team who obviously understood each other and the overall piece they wanted to create. Well put together and well executed, the film is a testament to the skill of all involved.

Every Nation Worships the Practical God | Musical Drama

This religious film has the feeling of something you would watch at school as a child during assembly, and that is meant as a compliment. The film is uplifting and upbeat from the opening, from the music, the dancing and the bright colours used.

It makes perfect sense to have a legions film take the form of a musical, when we consider how much music is used in religion from hymns to gospel singers, music has played a part in belief and worship for centuries. Here we see it utilised perfectly.

Colours are used splendidly within this film, promoting the bright and uplifting message of the film. A wide variety of bright colours are used both as part of the set and the costume, promoting diversity and happiness throughout the piece. These compliment the music and the dance numbers well.

The film paces itself well moving from fast dance numbers, quick beat songs to dramatic pieces and slower songs. This mix up helps the film to flow but also stops any boredom or monotonous tropes.

The large ensemble cast are directed well and produce strong performances, this is no small feat in a cast of this size. Emotions are portrayed well as well as providing accomplished dance and song pieces. A strong all round cast that compliments each other well.

A mood lifting, enlightening film that provides a variety of elisions entertainment suitable for a wide audience.

Waste Dreams

Climate change and waste disposal are hot topics right now, especially given the presidents unique viewpoint on them. Recycling is a huge part of that and what this film brings forward is the fact that this is not just a Western issue. Rcycling is a global issue and something everyone should be made aware of, and actually, do none Western countries do more about it?

In South America we see that small communities are doing their bit to help recycle and protect our planet by reusing waste as building materials. This is a truly unique and inspirational way of dealing with excess waste. By using it to build things for the community they are providing safe spaces but also providing community projects to bring people together.

Plastic bottle are used to house waste wrappers which are then used essentially as bricks to build a variety of buildings. The documentary brings forward a topic that many would have no idea about, and one that many more communities could and should embrace the world over.

The creator and presenter is obviously passionate about this topic and that comes across well in the film, but not only is she passionate, she is also unbiased and she gains perspectives from a variety of people, not just those that are pro the project. This provides the audience with a well rounded and informed documentary.

The use of children works well as it highlights them portable of starting education very young and shows that children will embrace these ideas if shown them.

The documentary is well paced using a variety of sourcing but not staying on any one of them so long it becomes tedious. Using a variety of shots also helps mix up the pace of the film to reduce boredom. A well executed documentary that offers an interesting insight into a project many of us should have more knowledge of.

Inland Freaks

It takes a brave film maker to tackle subjects that are by and large taboo. Child abuse and paedophilia may not be taboo per se, in that they are depicted in a number of films and other media, but rarely is it tackled from the perspective of the perpetrator and especially not in a soft, almost sympathetic way.

This film does this in a way that isn’t disrespectful to victims but highlights the humanity within those that offend. It looks at repentance, mental anguish, guilt, denial and suffering but it never portrays itself as feeling sorry for the offenders.

The film is powerful and atmospheric whilst remaining simple in structure and narrative. A prison setting is always going to bring a dramatic flair, but here, couple with the music and the melancholic ambience it provides a very somber atmosphere that suits the story and its characters perfectly.

The script is emotionally charged yet completely controlled, with well delivered and thought provoking dialogue that feels natural and thought through. Despite never really getting to know any of the characters they feel developed and well written. The narrative, although seemingly simple on the surface, provides a lot of well developed story that runs deeper than it initially appears.

The cinematography and production is outstanding. Excellent use of music and photography emphasise the films atmosphere and melancholia. Visually the dull, almost depressing colours mirror the offenders moods and mentality as does the music.

The film takes a risk in its topic but it pays off in its execution.

Kill The Engine

It takes a very clever writer and director to take a topic that is so negative and so emotional such as suicide, group suicide no less, and turn it into a comedy sketch that still has heart and meaning. Fortunately in this case, that’s exactly what happened.

The film begins with three guys trying to start a car and through the conversation and sub textual inferences we make, it becomes clear they are trying to gas themselves. From the off the three main characters have a great rapour which helps the audience connect with them. They aren’t your typical suicidal characters which makes them more human, they have identity.

The fact that they can’t get the car to start is what brings in the humour but it is subtle and done well. The overlaying joke is the fact they are trying to breath life into a car (literally at one point) that is eventually meant to kill them. It’s that sort of ironic dark humour that works really well here.

The script is clever, both in its subtle use of dialogue which isn’t over used or too exposition all, and in the structure of the narrative. It’s simple yet clever and effective. The audience are given just enough to get in on the jokes, and just enough physical comedy that it doesn’t turn slapstick.

The ending works particularly well. This suicide attempt has actually brought these guys together and the fact that they accomplish their goal leaves them elated, until they realise what it ultimately means. The end. But we never see what they choose to do. The hose pipe in the care window offers a suggestion but it isn’t conclusive, and it’s that that leaves the audience questioning and talking. That is what effective film does, it stays with the audience.

An excellently constructed short film that utilises it’s dark comedy perfectly. With strong performances and a well written script, this is definitely one to watch.

God Came ‘Round

‘I required love’ is, and always will be a popular topic to explore within film, and all media as it is one that resonates with most audiences and one that is fraught with emotion but also often a ridiculousness that in hindsight is hilarious.

This is what we see in this film. A look at unrequited affection and how it manifests itself. The loneliness and the sadness that you often feel when life is happening, ridiculous things that you need to share, but have no one to share them with because they won’t pick up the phone.

This film deals with this topic in a satire, almost slapstick style which gives it an ‘easy’ air and makes it an enjoyable watch, yet at its core is still this unrelenting truth and sadness.

The body of the film is structured around a song, which adds to the juxtaposing uplifting feeling of the film, despite the content. The over riding musical element means that the cast have no dialogue, yet the emotion is still evident throughout which is a testament to both the acting talent and the direction. Being able portray a character effectively with no words is no mean feat, but it is one that is achieved in this short film.

The FX in the film are obviously cheap and cheerful, but this is the whole point and it adds to the B movie farce like elements of the film which off set the trauma well. The camera work is well executed shooting POV shots from the height of the lead. It results in the rest of the cast looking down on him which is often how unrequited affections feel.

Overall a well executed film that makes light of an emotional issue without losing respect for it.