On Tuesday 14th November, film fanatics from around campus and beyond gathered in Take 2 Cinema to enjoy the premiere of six short films produced by the members of Lancaster University Filmmaking Society.
The event kicked off with the stars and filmmakers strutting down the red carpet, showcasing their snazzy fits. Being the society’s nominated photographer, I spent this portion of the night snapping away photos of this beautiful bunch.
Memorable outfits include Joseph Simpkins, who turned up in flared jeans and a broken cigarette as a “porn director”, and Yu Wen, who arrived in the most stunning silver dress I’ve ever seen.
Before the films were shown, the wonderful LA1TV, your local student TV society, interviewed the filmmakers and cast. Sky Fong, co-director of Pop!, told us a little about this experience:
“It was an honour to present our films on the big screen, and it’s also gratifying to reflect on our work in the interviews. It really felt like it’s the full red carpet experience being interviewed!”
Then, it was time. You could hear the anticipation as everyone took their seats to listen to the President, Freya Stoodley, and Vice President, Jess Broad, reflected on the Filmmaking Society’s humble beginnings, which formed over drinks in Grizedale Bar.
Starting by filming short films on their phones with no access to any proper filmmaking equipment, the society is now nearing its third year since its conception. As the speech wrapped up and the lights turned off, it was time showcase how far we all had come, not only in terms of quality and production, but also as emerging artists telling our stories through the medium of film.
There’s little more frustrating than picking up a ringing phone to have someone on the other end saying you’re entitled to insurance for something that didn’t happen. Cold Calling, written and directed by Naomi Onakunle has transformed this frustration into a suspense-filled and comedic film.
The short film follows the narrative of a young woman, played by Evelyn Ivison, who gets so many cold calls, they soon also lay claim to her non-digital life.
A young woman knocks on your door. It’s raining, her car has broken down, and her phone has run out of charge. She asks you to use your phone. You let her inside. But she isn’t what she seems. Victim is a thrilling short film directed by Scarlett Gill that explores relationships and the deception of appearances to manipulate and get revenge.
I’m a sucker for immoral, murdering women, and Victim did not disappoint.
The Farmer’s Wife is a psychological horror film where a woman befriends a horrifying scarecrow which can be interpreted as representing her internal conflict and guilt. The slow pace and tense dialogue created a chilling effect which had the audience anticipating the movements of the scarecrow.
This film made the audience gasp with horror as the makeup and production design absolutely transformed actress Hannah Moore into a thing of nightmares.
Cantering around an ex-alcoholic as they navigate a university with their partner, Smoke & Stars is a gentle and loving film, with the beautiful connection between the couple reflected in stunning visuals.
The film perfectly cuts between a high-quality 4k film camera and an old camcorder, creating nostalgia and a sense of realism. It also amplifies our sympathy for the characters as they navigate friendships, love, and drug addiction.
Another film featuring actress Yu Wen, Gaslighter, presents the audience with the moral question: what would you do if you witnessed a couple fighting where no one else could see them, and only you could help?
This film featured some great acting, notably from Joseph Simpkins, who brought a reliving layer of comedy to balance out the intensity, and Aison Clark, who won an award after the film screening for his ability to play a drunk man.
I was lucky enough to see the early edits of Pop! and was impressed even then, so experiencing the final edit on the big screen was, unsurprisingly, a great experience.
Pop! is an extremely ambitious student short film that executes its creative vision perfectly: when Abbie decides to try and break up with her boyfriend Damian, who has the ability to POP! in and out of locations, things go pear-shaped.
An emotional argument peruses across a range of different locations, all edited together to perfection. The ending left me tense, and the acting by Maddy Meredith and Joseph Gaillet was stellar.
Shut the Fridge Up
Shut the Fridge Up comes from the creative minds of Joseph Simpkins and Leoni Launder. It’s a short B-movie accompanying Gaslighter which was all improvised on the day.
It’s a strange kung-fu movie following an argument over who stole what from the other’s fridge and it left the audience in absolute stitches. Another kung-fu film, The Pope and The Punch, is currently being produced a part of the society, once again from the mind of Joseph Simpkins, so I’d definitely keep an eye out for that.
After all the films were shown, the night was wrapped up with a range of awards which went out to the deserving cast and crew members of the Filmmaking Society. Some of my favourite awards were ‘Most Wholesome Person on Set’, which went to the lovely Thomas Coleing, and ‘The Crew Member who was Constantly Snacking’ award went to the elegant Leoni Launder.
The night ended in a similar fashion to how the society started, with drinks at Grizedale. Over drinks, there were discussions of future films by the Lancaster University Filmmaking Society which will be produced this term. Check out the website they’ve made for the showcase at https://filmmakinglu.wixsite.com/showcase and follow them on Instagram @filmmakinglu for updates on their upcoming films.