The South West Filmathon was born online under lockdown, but it lives in a creative environment and speaks a visual language that transcends restrictions. Which is our way of saying it burst out of the virtual and into the real world of shared experience and big screen wonder in the form of The South West Filmathon, The Sequel. A bit like Tron… if the little computer people escaped into the South West and put on a film festival, swapping their neon weapons and pugilistic tendancies for bright smiles and open hearts.
Reasons To Create
Thanks to the Exeter Phoenix and their Reasons To Create Festival, the South West Filmathon films were shown at the solar-powered cinema Studio 74. It was preceded by a networking event, which was a chance for filmmakers to come together and chat about what they do. These sorts of things were important before lockdown, spawning friendships collaborations and building confidence, and they can only be more worthwhile in a creative world that has been dislocated by current events.
Filmmaker Bo Wilson captured the essence of the day and spoke to some of the filmmakers.
The call for films went throughout the South West, and the variety and freshness of animation, drama, comedy and documentary on show was wonderfully eye-opening.
Whereas the original South West Filmathon had been open for films made over the past five years as a chance to re-show, share and inspire, The Sequel required films made in 2021 and encouraged something new. Plus the films were required to be no longer than seven minutes.
Despite those restrictions, the judges had a wealth of short films to behold.
The film that came on top from their point of view was Public Enemy, directed by Lydia Jenkins. Here’s the synopsis: ‘When the local corner shop’s “NO UNATTENDED SCHOOL CHILDREN” policy prevents gangster-wannabe Robyn from buying sweets, she looks to her mobster idols as inspiration for something else sweet: revenge.’
The audience choice award went to Pork Chopped by Suzie Topolska. Made during the Exeter Phoenix’s 48 Hour Film Challenge, it tells how ‘a pig’s ordinary day is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of an ex-lover.’
Will the South West Filmathon be back…? Only time can tell. But what is certain is the breadth and depth of filmmaking talent in the South West and a thriving, welcoming community of creatives ready to share, support, strive and enjoy.
Now it’s thanks time. First to filmmaker and SWFilmMail editor Dom Lee for his clear, calm vision and skills. Thanks to the Exeter Phoenix digital media team who are imaginative, supportive and solid, and the Exeter Phoenix staff. Thanks to CineSister SW, who co-hosted the networking and provide some judges. Thank you Bo Wilson for taking the time to chat to the filmmakers and create such an evocative film of the day. Thanks to the judges who offered their insights into the films. And thanks most to everyone who submitted a film for their creative energy and bravery to put something out and to share it with us and the world!
BTW, the judges were: Lee Morgan – editor D&CFilm; Dan Bullock – Critical Popcorn; Minna Gibbs-Nicholls – Production Designer/Art Director; Angela Piccini – Associate Professor in Fine Art (University of Plymouth); Tommy Gillard – filmmaker.
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