GivernyStill from "Monet's Giverny" by John GroslinThe race to become CFMC’s Film Maker of the Year continues to gather pace as the second half of the season gets firmly underway, writes Paul Desmond.

With one name very much in the frame, we will have to wait, however, until the End of Season Showcase on May 16 to discover the actual winner.

The club’s 57th season got off to a flying start for Andy Merz. He entered three films in the Open – Crying Children: Rubbish Clown; Married Bliss; and Saint – to give him a commanding lead of 18 points.

The actual winner of the competition was, however, Carols A & M by John Howden (10 points). Second was John Jones with Christmas in a Flash; and third John Groslin Summer Swarm ll.

Andy retained his impressive lead in the Five Minute competition coming second with TBPiS. But again the winning entry was from John Howden, Cathedrals, Castles and a Desert. Third was Mike Saucede with Suffolk.

The documentary competition saw neither Andy nor John competing. John Groslin took first place with Monet’s Giverny; second was Geoff Ingham with Robben Island and third Maurice Newbolt with Neuengamme Concentration Camp.

Later this month, the club holds the Holiday competition, followed by the Ray Jennings Challenge Trophy on February 28 and the Chairman’s Cup on March 28.

John Howden kicked off the club’s new season with a rather unseasonal but impressive offering, entitled Carols Ancient & Modern, which won the Open competition. (27.09.16)

Although filmed on a warm July morning at Winchester School, it captured the essence of a traditional Christmas carol service. 

John, last season’s Film Maker of the Year winner, was commissioned to make the promotional film by the publishers of ancient and modern hymns for their website. 

Assisted by John Jones, he trained five cameras on eight professional singers in the school’s chapel, which was decked out in festive decorations.  To add to the authenticity of the occasion, the film maker had asked his performers to wear warm winter clothing, including scarfs.

Commented one club member in the audience: “I was hugely impressed by the clear, rich sound: the film captured the mood beautifully and deserved to win.”

Another festive offering came from John Jones who focused his GoPro camera on recording the domestic routine of Christmas Day, which gained him second place.  Third place went to John Groslin, making his debut in club competitions.  John’s submission was a short film about the making of the club’s summer film, Swarm.

SchoolVisitHeathlands School, West BergholtFollowing an approach from Heathlands School, via the club's web site, members Lionel Bloomfield and Peter Noakes visited the school in West Bergholt to provide film making advice to Year 5 and Year 6 pupils.

In each of the four classes pupils had organised themselves into small production teams to plan two minute films.  The theme could be a documentary, a news report of a natural disaster or an historical drama. The deadline is the end of November.

Lionel and Peter discussed the importance of planning, including scripting and storyboarding, before discussing and demonstrating production techniques, including the use of a green screen. 

The duo provided a list of top tips which they hoped will help the young film makers with their projects and used club films -  Neighbourhood Witch and Silent Vigil - to illustrate their talk. 

Lionel and Peter have been invited back to the school to help judge the resulting 25 films so that "Oscars" can be awarded in front of parents on November 30.  Other club members are welcome to join them.  PN

RussellSir Bob Russell, former MP for Colchester, also dropped in to watch Luke perform and make notes for an article he is writing about CFMC. Pictured with them is CFMC Chairman Barrie Gibbard.Singer-songwriter Luke Fisher took part in a “live” video recording of some of his material at a pop-up CFMC studio at the Hythe Community Centre recently. Here, in conversation with Paul Desmond, Luke explains how he came to music and how he felt about the video session.

Paul: What was the starting point in music for you?

Luke: I have been playing guitar and writing my own material for around 12 years now. Having been in and out of bands for so long, three years ago I thought I would go solo and write music on acoustic guitar. I love playing as a solo performer as I can chop and change the set accordingly to the audience; there's no pressure to do/not do gigs and it still scares me on stage. I suppose I like that butterfly feeling when you are on stage with people watching. I generally perform in the Essex area but I love playing outside of the county because I get to meet new people, new venues and see the country a bit. Last summer, I took my guitar on an airplane and ended up playing in Austria, which was unbelievable and the overseas response was fantastic.

Paul: What was it like being filmed by CFMC?

Luke: It certainly was the most cameras I've ever had pointed at me at one time! I loved it. The cameras kept me on my toes while performing so I had to be the best I could be. I don't video my shows nearly enough as I should do and it's always nice to look back and see what you could of done better and have that piece of footage to keep.

Paul: Did you perform all your own material?Luke

Luke: Yes, all of the material I performed was my own.

Paul: In musical terms, what would you say was your best experience gigging? 

: I think my best experience gigging is when the audience start singing back my own lyrics. I've also had people I don't know come up to me and say they listen to my music and have it in their driving, working or relaxing playlist which is crazy! I've played alongside some amazing and talented bands over the years but if I had to choose one gig that was my best, it would be supporting my uncles band “Dog Salad” in our hometown. I used to listen to their albums and want to be part of the band so much when I was younger so to be able to jam and play on stage with them was incredible.

Paul: Where are you based and are you a uni student and part-time musician?

Luke: I'm based in the Colchester area and I'm currently studying for a BA Hons in Popular Music at Colchester Institute. I'm hoping to go on and complete a Masters degree or a PGCE in the future as I'm looking to move into teaching music, so I don't get a lot of time not doing something that doesn't involve music, which is fine by me!