REVIEW: Exclusive Screenings Cineworld Didsbury

Normally when I go to the cinema it’s to tuck into some sugary snacks and let my eyes feast on a entertaining, suspense-filled Hollywood blockbuster. But on Tuesday 17th March I went to Cineworld Didsbury to see something more unique…

 

 

Students from the University of Salford and Futureworks University (part of University of Central Lancashire), along with more established indie filmmakers from the North West, debuted an array of trailers and short films of all genres in an Exclusive Screening event.

 

Trailers included Blue, directed by Jason Wingard, which showed promising signs of mystery and quality cinematography with a slick finish. The film, revolving around a loner art student who’s life changes forever when she meets the bold and alluring Blue, was made to raise investment for Glass Bottle films in London.

 

The trailer for Cinderella Nights, the brain child of Natalie Kennedy, also strook me as intriguing, with gritty dark scenes implying a plot centred on the dangers of prostitution.

 

Cinderella Nights, Natalie Kennedy

Edgy: The trailer for indie film Cinderella Nights looked promising.

 

The short films screened ranged from a spectrum of thought provoking filmic genius to amateur attempts. The grainy shots and low quality shooting of Aidan Rawnsley’s The Birds, The Bees and the Bullets, starring Velton Lishke and Ryan Horner was saved by easy comedy and an entertaining script, whilst Kenneth James’ Beg, based on the two sentence horror story by Jon Person, held the audience transfixed for a lengthy part of it’s one minute duration with brilliant special effects of a gory human heart ripped from it’s owner, complimented with the eerie sound effects of a heartbeat.

 

Maybe, directed by John Grey was an interesting one. With a powerful monologue from the main character, played by Richard Carter, giving voice to the familiar trail of thoughts and self-doubt articulating any of the infinite possibilities that could occur when we meet someone new, as Carter’s character does when he meets an attractive girl (Zoe Weldon)  at a bus stop, Maybe highlighted just how important and pivotal  narration can be in a short film. The possibility that the man could fall into an epic love affair with this stranger or simply let her board the bus without speaking to her and let her pass him by are played out in carefully placed scenes that serve to be truly thought provoking for viewers.

 

Maybe, John Grey, Richard Carter, Zoe Weldon

Powerful: John Grey’s Maybe was thought-provoking.

 

 

Till Death, which had Richard Addlesee at the helm, offered a similarly stirring narration from a girl, played by Gabi Herrett, explaining the ambiguous subject of what love is, in relation to her lover portrayed by Andrew Cullimore, whilst being juxtaposed with a deadly zombie apocalypse. While the make-up and special effects were well done and the message was clear, to make the most of what we have whiles we’ve got it, something about the film just seemed a little too random and cliched for me.

 

‘Til Death from Richard Addlesee on Vimeo.

 

The audience weren’t just treated to short films, but a music video starring Donald-D and Lenell Brown for their rap song Let’s Get It On. Directed by Lee Bolton, the video was shot in black and white chrome making for an edgy effect, whilst the multiple split screens breathed life and character into the video.

 

Headlining the event though was The Icehouse Project and The Martyr. Directed by Darren Langlands, The Martyr depicts MI5 Agent Laura Kent’s (Mia Vore) tale of how she dealt with a suspected terrorist (Aatif Ati Zafar) as she recounts it to an internal inquiry. With a brilliant twist in the plot, the narrative kept viewers hooked from start to finish, turning stereotypes on their head and making for a thought-provoking film, relevant in today’s society.

 

 

The Icehouse Project was also another success. Also co-directed by Darren Langlands alongside Mark Callum, it cleverly told the story of four suspects being questioned for a brutal murder, using unusual tactics in a bid to capture the real culprit. With brilliant acting and filming, really giving the sense of claustrophobia and helplessness the angry suspects are experiencing, this film also had a brilliant twist embedded in the plot.

 

My main criticism of the night would have been that, unlike Kino Shorts nights, there was no Q&A with the actors or directors of each film between each screening, preventing the audience getting that special “sneak peak” feeling or the buzz of going behind the scenes of a film to get under it’s skin. This also meant the series of films and trailers felt a bit rushed, with people still clapping for one film as the next one was seemingly shoved on the screen in an apparent impatient manner. This just meant viewers didn’t have time to digest, absorb to reflect on the film they had just watched.

 

It was nice, though, to be part of the film maker’s, actors’ and film crews’ shared euphoria of having their work on the big screen, their passion for film infectionate. So if you get the chance to go to a screening of student/indie/low budget films, is well worth a go!