IMDb Awards 2015

Every year Bath Film Festival celebrates and facilities new emerging talent in film in the form of the IMDb Awards. New film makers are invited to submit their shorts with the hope of winning the prestigious accolade. The prize being £1000 cash (to go towards making their next film) as well as the coveted IMDb New Filmmaker Award itself. On top of that winners receive an extremely rare IMDb enamel badge and a page for their film on IMDb, plus over £2000 worth of hire kit from Visual Impact (for UK based filmmakers only).

This year short film fans and makers gathered in Bath’s Komedia, around red clothed tables for a decidedly ramped up awards. Not only were we treated to nibbles and drinks on our candlelit tables, but our master of ceremonies was none other than Laura Rawlings from the BBC.

After a brief interview with each of our esteemed judges; Col Needham, Wendy Mitchell, Lizzie Francke, Otto Bathurst and Katie Swindon – we dived straight into the films.

Une Passion D’or et de Feu

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An incredibly filmic short for such a career early production. Une Passion D’or et de Feu is a mesmerising and humble story about a bee keeper who worries for the future of his apiary. Incredibly close up shots place us right there in the hive, the melodic buzz of the bees a constant background murmur, tying the film together.

The recent plight of honeybees and subsequent awareness regarding their conservation, also makes this film incredibly topical. In general, we’re now much more informed about the importance of bee’s in our ecosystem and yet Une Passion D’or et de Feu serves to illustrate just how important it is. The tears of the bee keeper illustrating his passion and fear of what will happen to his own bee’s, and by extension – what will happen to the world’s bees.

Big Bird

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Bold, brash and containing full frontal male nudity! An Irishman living in Belgium tries his luck at online dating and arranges to meet a woman who’s alias is ‘Big Bird’. With his friends and colleagues hedging their bets that his blind date is a lady of a somewhat chunky build, he tentatively heads out to meet her.

This short is loud, fast paced and full of various story lines and characters. It has fight scenes, flash backs, multiple locations, intricate dialog, costume changes and I could go on! Whilst this makes for an entertaining watch; it’s at times somewhat dizzying.

Big Bird is an original and funny idea with the potential to be a really comedic and touching story if it stuck to the golden rule of short film making; keep it simple.

Chinese Treachery

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Two six formers act out the bumbling awkwardness that is a language exam. With their Chinese teacher and a judgmental goldfish invigilating the affair, the two boys umm and arr their way through the test until it becomes clear that one lad is on more than familiar terms with the other lad’s sister. Cursing of livestock and hilarity ensue.

This is a brilliantly simple and clever little film reminiscent of Monty Python, The Two Ronnies and co. Judges commented that it felt more like a sketch, than a film – which is true. But that doesn’t make it any less impressive. The director Balfour-Lynn clearly knows his stuff; The camera style and editing is a clear homage to Martial Art films- with drastic zooms and choppy cuts. The twist ending is a classic cinematic feature and the dialog is spot on.

Chinese Treachery could benefit from a slight upscale in production values in order to catapult this sketch into an hilarious short film.

Ps. That goldfish. HA!

Testimony 

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Again, another incredibly cinematic piece from a director so early in their career. Production values are sky high in this emotional short from director Kamila Dydyna, who after the screening confirmed my suspicions that this short based on a true story was in fact her own real life experience.

November 1991 and a young girl is being interviewed by a judge who is asking her questions regarding the potentially violent relationship between her mother and father – while both are in the room with her.

Superbly acted, your heart bleeds for the young girl – visibly squirming in her chair as three sets of eyes burrow into her as she’s asked personal questions about her parents. Testimony seeks to highlight a practise that was very much standard until recently in our history; where children are now interviewed in seperate rooms from their parents.

Is It Dead Yet? 

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Is it dead yet is a mockumentary that’s reminiscent of the dark comedy of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, with the murky brown mise-en-scene of The Royle Family. Norm first met Pat when she was outside doing the gardening. He knew she was the girl for him when she picked the laod he was struggling to carry and effortlessly swung it over her back.

This deliciously dark short is a laugh a second. Norm’s love is only outmatched by his naiveness and stupidity as quite clearly, Pat is trying to kill him.  Either that or drinking vinegar and eating raw onions really DOES sooth a stomach ulcer?

Is It Dead Yet? doesn’t have the professional feel and aesthetic that many of the other films did – but I won’t lie – it got my vote.

Despite a brilliant array of films, there can only be one winner and after much deliberation the judges chose Une Passion D’or et de Feu. Director Sebastien Pins is certainly a worthy winner and I look forward to watching his career progress.

The Audience Choice Award went to Chinese Treachery.

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