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.

LampBlowerA scene from one of the club's KO competition entries: "Silent Vigil"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.

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

Crossover SingerCFMC’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: