Last night, I attended the 5th Annual 60-Hr Film Blitz Screening and Awards Gala at the Byre. Twenty-four different student-led film crews had sixty hours to film and edit three-minute short films. The prompt? Follow the music. A different song of the director’s choice inspired each short. As far as I could tell, the guests of the event were mostly the contestants, friends of the contestants, and interested film faculty and students. This wasn’t a small group though. We managed to fill up the whole theatre. Tom Rice as the MC brought me back to my days in first year, we appreciated the crack he made about his own lectures. The Organising Committee did a wonderful job orchestrating the event, although I suggest a small break between each film to let the audience absorb what they just watched. Other than that, the event went off without a hitch, thanks to the lovely Byre and its bar.
There was a wide variety in terms of production values, and directors shot with equipment ranging from smartphones to high quality digital cameras.
A surprising majority of the films were dark and contained themes such as rape, death, and murder. A few fellow guests theorized that it is the nature of young artists to stray toward such heavy themes. Watching them, I was still impressed by the ingenuity of the directors to pull together these films in less than three days. Editing by itself is a cross between a puzzle and a needle in a haystack.
The award for cinematography went to ‘Nocturne’ (The Lonely Cricket), which played with color schemes in different lighting as a hopeful pianist fantasizes about a performance, and gets hit by a car. The award for editing went to ‘Empathy’ (TJ), which featured West Sands and created a rhythm from the waves to the music. The second runner up, ‘Transparency’ (M&B Arts) told a story of a flat party and a drinking problem through a glass. The first runner up was ‘The Walk’ (Laura Wadah & Team) a moving tale about an old man who faces his fear of leaving the house to take his dog for a walk. The short ‘Just Being’ (Aperture Biotechnics) took first place, and I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was about (a robot person?) but its editing was phenomenal and it was really enjoyable, in my humble opinion.
None of these won Audience Award, which instead was shared by ‘Aletheia’ (Marcin and Emma) and ‘Little Things’ (Emily Tucker Prescott & Team,) both of which were far less sad than many of the other entries. ‘Aletheia’ was a short horror shot from multiple perspectives about a surprise party, but the pacing about the girl’s obsession with the boy at the end was humorous and the audience enjoyed it. ‘Little Things’ was a sweet, clay-mation production about a small robot drinking tea with a friend.
It is exciting to see so much talent and enthusiasm from students in St Andrews, especially with the biggest number of entries since the Blitz began. I should expect these films to go up online sometime soon, but don’t quote me on that. Even though I won’t be here next year, I’m still excited to see what comes out of the next Film Blitz – and I’ll be sure to watch them on YouTube.
Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/60HourFilmBlitz2015 and Fidan Kasimova