A wide range of top quality films competed in the first round of the North Thames KO competition, hosted by South Essex Film Makers in Rayleigh, on March 20, writes Mike Saucede.
Taking part were South Essex, Wanstead & Woodford C&VC and Colchester with submissions covering traditional drama formats to experimental GoPro self-stick style, documentary and animation.
The GoPro category included an action packed ski run and a separate para-glider flight. The action continued with a drama involving a staged fight scene wrapped in a story line of debt collection with a twist. Another drama was set around a photographer and his commission where the camera revealed more than the viewfinder, terminating with a surprising twist.
One of the documentaries involved a historic look at water distribution, culminating in beautiful shots of renovated pumping engines at the Museum of Power in Langford, near Maldon. The film was developed over a two year period of research and actual filming; the engine restorations took even longer.
Another documentary began with green screen typical of a television news reader’s setup and continued with a competent guided tour of the historic Monument in Pudding Lane, in the City.
By contrast, the animation submission focused on paintings of famous royal figures from history and notable explorers, who then came to life with animated face voicing humorous dialogue.
The judges had an unenviable task to unravel the criteria of the winning programme that informed, educated and entertained from a well presented basket of fruit.
The chief judge commented on the high standard of entries and declared that the scores were separated by only a whisker. But there could only be one winner and the honour went to the host club, South Essex Film Makers.
Please go here on CFMC’s website to view our entry and listen to the judges’ feedback of our films. Then come to the competition final, which CFMC is hosting on May 14 and see the winning films from the first round.
CFMC Patron David Cleveland, the founder of the East Anglian Film Archive, entertained members with anecdotes about his many years collecting old films, including the day a producer of Radio 4’s Today programme asked him to “show” a film on the radio.
David willingly obliged but felt that for the benefit of listeners he should also describe what they were missing!
The main focus of his presentation was his newly published book, “How Films Were Made and Shown”, which he had written in collaboration with Brian Pritchard. Their book traces the development of motion picture film technology from 1895 to 2015.
CFMC’s annual editing competition, The Ray Jennings Challenge Trophy, has been won by John Jones with “Don’t Stop Believin’”, performed by the popular Colchester band, Crossover.
Second was John Howden with “This is Crossover”, and in third place – making his debut in club competitions – was new member John Groslin with “Crossover”.
Members were given identical footage of four “live” numbers by the band, shot at a local nightclub, and asked to solve the editing challenges presented.
Click out their submissions and listen to fellow members’ comments and tips for making better music films:
Majorca has proved a fertile source of inspiration for film maker John Jones, enabling him to produce three successful shorts. The latest – “Pine Walks, Piety and Pandora” – came first in the club’s Holiday competition (19 January). John also scooped a first with another of his entertaining Majorcan films a few years ago.
Second in the popular competition was “Cotswold Magic” by John Howden, and third “Molveno” by Bryan Littlewood.
John Jones says: “When I first went to Mallorca four years ago, looking at a map for inspiration as to where to explore, it occurred to me that there were enough different locations to make three interesting films of sensible length.
“Seven to ten minutes duration gives enough time to develop a feel for the place and the people involved but not so long as to put the audience completely to sleep!
“Shot completely with a hand held Kodak HD camera (about the size of a mobile phone), which gave good footage in daylight and passable footage in interior or low light situations.
“The audio recorded remarkably well. There are various software options to smooth out the hand held ‘shakes’ so when edited it didn’t make the viewer feel seasick!
“While only a holiday film(s) - incorporating the main character, my wife, Christine – it allows viewers to feel a part of the experience while allowing me to blend culture - that’s the piety bit - with lazing around - pine walks – and adding some humour into the mix - the Pandora/bar day out.
“So, this is the last of the trilogy - like “Lord of the Rings” but without the Hobbits! - although you never know, there may be yet another visit…… “