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.

WWW2TragedyA tragic WW2 incident that has gone untold for more than 70 years won film maker Paul Desmond the Chairman’s Cup competition at CFMC. (23 March)

Entitled “Tragic Flight of 44-8198”, the film tells the poignant story of a Flying Fortress crash at Bocking two days after VE Day, killing all 11 young US servicemen on board, and one man’s mission to honour them with a memorial service.

Paul’s second entry in the annual competition featured club member Grahame Page recalling his father’s adventures with a 16mm cine camera in the 1930s, which took second place; while Brian Salmons’ “Spirit of Thailand 2” came third.

Paul Desmond writes:

Local historian Tony Lynch had heard that CFMC had filmed a memorial service to the crew of a Lancaster bomber that crashed at Colchester in WW2. He approached me to enquire whether I would be interested of doing something similar for a memorial he was planning.

Tony merely wanted “a video record” of the day’s event so that DVDs could be sent to the descendants of the servicemen in the States and various voluntary groups in Essex, who were generously giving their time.

Happy to agree, I also felt that there was a more poignant human interest story, which merited a separate film, especially as the tragedy had gone unrecorded for so long.

There was no problem recruiting additional cameramen to help out on the day and so, on the 70th anniversary of the crash last year, club chairman Barrie Gibbard, John Simpson and Geoff Earnshaw joined me at Bocking.

Firstly, Barrie and I filmed a private wreath laying ceremony at the actual crash site, a former convent grounds and now a private garden. Then we join John and Geoff nearby to cover the memorial ceremony itself. Later we attended Braintree town hall to record interviews with an eyewitness and the brother of the navigator and the brother’s wife.

Priority was given to producing the “record” DVDs and distributing then, via Tony. It was only then that I could begin working on a script. My goal was to focus on Tony’s one-man journey to contact descendants and organise the service, and the impact it had on one family in particular.

Later, I interviewed Tony on camera to obtain the narrative for the documentary and permissions of the principals featured.

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!

AirplaneTwoHenryk directs "Captain" John Simpson in a scene from his new film, Airplane Two, with cameraman Paul Desmond and extra.