Directed by Amanda Bluglass, Ray: A Life Underwater has been named the winner of the Shoot Short Film Festival 2011.
The festival aims to promote the best in short filmmaking, and as part of this year’s line-up, the audience was taken on an eclectic journey through a variety of genres. We watched in anticipation as a group of women scaled Mt Everest for the purposes of charity in documentary Unity in Diversity; witnessed a teenager attempting to flee an undisclosed crisis in Platform One; and were riveted as a journalist meets up with an ex-IRA terrorist in Dave Salas’ Mort-Gage. However, these were but some of the delights on display during the evening.
I caught up with Colin Orr, the event organiser, after the screening, and he discussed the aims and background of the festival:
SW: So Colin, how did the festival get started and what were the aims in getting started?
CO: This is our sixth year now and it was always the aim, within our programme, to encourage young filmmakers. The year before we started SHOOT, we’d worked with KEVICC to stage their end of year film festival, and a lot of films came up that I thought deserved to be seen by a wider audience. So we took the idea of that festival and extended it, made it open to all comers.
We limited it to Devon and Cornwall but with very loose criteria: either the films had to have been shot in Devon or Cornwall or the filmmakers had to reside in Devon or Cornwall. So for instance, tonight, we had films about Japan, China and Nepal, and also Plymouth and Totnes, so it’s a very varied mix.
SW: In order to determine the winner, the films are rated by the audience but who selects the final batch of films in the first place?
CO: The films are generally whittled down by myself. We’ve been working with The Barrel House for the last four years and, usually, there’s a committee of three people who get together to discuss the entries. This year, it’s slightly different in that it’s just been me whittling them down. And it varies: some years it’s very hard to choose from a long list of entries.
SW: And The Barn is committed to showcasing a wide variety of films across a wide variety of platforms, would you agree?
CO: Absolutely. I mean, we’re committed to many different types of filmmaking; we’re also committed to showcasing films and young talent from all over the world, in every genre, and we’re always trying to find new and interesting work.
We are the only cinema west of Bristol that will show this sort of stuff. Of course, we show a whole range of things, so we may have big audiences for some films and audiences of 10 to 15 people for other films. But those 10 to 15 people will have not had the chance to see those films anywhere else, and the appreciation we get from audiences for giving them the opportunity -that is just as worthy, just as rewarding as having packed houses every night.
The Final Films Shortlisted in the SHOOT 2011 Festival
Unity in Diversity (dir: Russ Pariseau)
Xi’An: Ancient Capital of China (Walter King)
Cigar Box Revolution (Lesley Ross)
The Last Man Standing (Ben Boyd-Taylor)
Double Take (Luke Tomlinson)
Platform One (Ben Leggett)
Market Town (Lesley Ross)
Mort-Gage (David Salas)
Ray: A Life Underwater (Amanda Bluglass)
*Drew Tate’s Ellen was shortlisted but due to a technical fault, was unable to be screened*