The hardest thing about any creative venture can often be getting the thing done. Which is why deadlines can be a ‘good thing’. The 72 Hour Film Challenge at Plymouth College of Art – the screening of which was hosted by Plymouth Arts Cinema – set out barriers, limitations, stipulations and a deadline. The films had to be completed within 72 hours, ready for the screening and the prize giving.
What’s in the box?
Not since Katherine Hepburn caused mayhem with an intercostal clavicle has ‘what’s in the box?’ been uttered with such consequences. The phrase was stipulated to be included in all the films.
The variety of imagination it sparked ranged from the artful, through comedic to ominous and back again.
This film challenge was aimed at young people aged 15-19, who were tempted into flexing their creative filmmaking muscles. Other more widely focused challenges are planned in the future. And if this screening of visual flair, storytelling know-how and stylistic flourish is anything to go by it will be a rollicking event.
One of the joys of the time-limited challenge is they actually foster an element of joy and camaraderie in the audience as well as those who take part.
A bonus for the filmmakers who entered will be written feedback on their submission from Plymouth College of Art Senior Lecturer in Film & Screen Arts Chris Bailey, who organised, introduced the films and presented the prizes.
All finished films submitted to the 72-Hour Film Challenge will be hosted online by British Cinematographer, where they can be viewed by industry partners of the magazine which include the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC), the Guild of British Camera Technicians (GBCT), and the International Federation of Cinematographers (IMAGO).
Winners will receive a one-to-one assessment of their film. This is along with tickets to Plymouth Arts Cinema and a Go-Pro for the school.
The assessment of the films was intricate with five judges looking at five categories: technical quality; editing; storytelling; inventiveness, and overall quality of the film.
Picking up the top prize was The Cure by Neve James.
The winning film, The Cure, was created by students Crystal Fraser, Joe Hall, Sam Mcleod, Tommy Damiral, Rhiann Gillman, Ryan Baker and Ryan May Miller from Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke. Featuring a bored radio presenter and a mysterious set of phone calls, the radio DJ’s game of ‘Guess what’s in the box’ takes a sinister turn. The students from Queen Mary’s College have won a GoPro 10 kit for their college, as well as a production consultation with one of the filmmakers who teach on the BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts degree at Plymouth College of Art and a voucher towards submitting their film to other film festivals.
The judges said it “had a great use of set design and was well acted. It had an interesting premise a well-developed story that worked rhythmically and kept the audience intrigued. It had really nice and crisp audio.”
Lucy Leake, Assistant Head of School of Arts + Media and member of the Challenge’s judging panel said, “‘The Cure’ had an excellent concept and great acting. It was wonderful to see such a well developed story that worked rhythmically and kept the viewer intrigued.”
Chris Bailey, Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts and member of the judging panel said, “There was great use of set design in ‘The Cure’. The acting was well done and the film was well shot. It had such an interesting premise and the sinister delivery was excellent. For students to be able to create this quality of film in such a short space of time is a really incredible achievement.”
The 72 Hour Film Challenge from Plymouth College of Art revealed the adept inventiveness and ability of a generation of filmmakers. And promises more.
Top image: still from The Cure by Neve James
Work created by BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts students and alumni from Plymouth College of Art is available on the course Instagram and Vimeo accounts, as well as by visiting Plymouth College of Art’s 2021 Graduate Showcase. Plymouth College of Art is the Guardian University Guide 2022’s highest ranking university in Devon and Cornwall for Film Production & Photography courses.
For anybody interested in studying film, screen or sound arts, the next on-campus Open Day at https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/ takes place on 15 January, featuring opportunities to speak to academics, students, the college’s award-winning Students’ Union, and support staff about what’s on offer. Anybody who can’t wait until then can contact Plymouth College of Art directly to arrange a personalised tour of the college’s campus and facilities by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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