Designed to cover “fictional, live action work by new filmmakers in the UK, under 12 minutes” the Rushes Soho Shorts Newcomer category is probably the section which is most likely to allow you to view the shorts solely on their own merits, with no associated badgage (good or bad) due to a director’s previous performance. For me, this year’s finalists provided collective food for thought, a topdown view of greatness and a near miss.
Director Calum Macdiarmi’s film Worship heavily bears the fingerprints of his background in both art and advertising, which is no bad thing when it results in images this richly charged. As Macdiarmi states on his website, he’s a director “concerned with the aesthetics of beauty, light, and liquid,” experimenting with “new techniques to create new effects.”. That isn’t to say that Worship is a structureless, free form Jazz session of a film, based on psychotherapist Dr Derry Macdiarmid’s book A Century of Insight, the short explores the concepts of God, dreams and the the collective unconscious. The dreamlike flow of images makes Worship ripe for personal interpretation and identification which may have been a factor in it’s win of the Newcomer award.
If the still wasn’t enough of a warning here’s a heads up that the clip below is NSFW:
I personally found, Billy Lumby’s God View to be my favourite of the not just the Newcomers but possibly of the entire festival. Following estranged father Philip as he makes his way through the streets of Hackney, East London to his daughter’s birthday party, what initially appeared to be an effective framing of our protagonist and the couple below his balcony, is soon revealed to be the predominant ‘God view’ shooting style of the film.
Unlike the floaty, out of body observation of a film such as Enter the Void, Lumby and Director of Photography Brett Turnbull’s actor linked camera rig from Tony Hill, enables the action to remain a tactile presence onscreen despite our unusual vantage point – not dissimilar to Requiem for a Dream’s SnorriCam. Rig removal was performed by students at CG academy Escape Studios, but for the eagled eyed of you out there (sorry pun intended), Lumby includes an ‘Easter Egg’ shot in the final film (and trailer below) which briefly shows the rig in action.
It feels like a strange compliment to pay an actor whose performance is largely silent and witnessed from the top of his head, but Cornell S John nails Philip’s progression from silently scary to deranged. If you only manage to track down a single film from Rushes Soho Shorts this year (which frankly would be pitiful), God View should be it.
Originally created by London directors Dan Blacker, John Addis and Matt Bowron under the moniker Tactful Cactus for the Reed.co.uk Love Mondays Film competition, Starcrossed is the story of a lonely scientist’s quest to discover the correct equation to allow him to meet the girl of his dreams.
The team shot Starcrossed over two weekends in and around London, then went to ground for a month to create the film’s many animated elements. As a purely visual piece the effects are well integrated, although the story comes off as more than a little muddled. Initially, I thought the girl was metaphoric for a meteor the scientist was attempting to plot and observe, but then the film’s tagline; Romeo and Juliet for the Twitter generation, Starcrossed tells the story of one couple’s quest to see one another, would seem to suggest otherwise, which leaves the overall film feeling a little too whimsical for me.