Pick of the bunch by Filmoria

5 June, 2013 5:14pm

We are very pleased to introduce our lovely friend and guest writer Richard Lennox. Richard has been busy beavering away, watching the array of brilliant films that have been entered in to Shorts so far this year. He's picked out 10 films which have caught his eye, so have a read to find out why...

Pick of the bunch by Filmoria

Just over a few weeks into this year’s Virgin Media Shorts competition and three things are already very clear. First of all, there is staggering amount of entries this year (over 180 by my count so far) and the quality is reassuringly very high. Secondly, not satisfied with conquering the world of music and cheese, Blur bassist and cheese aficionado, Alex James, has also proved he is a deft hand when it comes to filmmaking. His directorial debut, A Slice of Life is skilfully assembled to one of his own original songs, Superordinator. It’s also very funny piece; a recurring style in many entries this year. Finally, I must say that I think the Virgin Media Short judges really have a tough task choosing a winner from the high calibre of entries from this year’s competition. I, for one, don’t envy that mammoth task. Here are a selection of my own personal favourites from this year's entries so far. 

Grace’s Epiphany and Blast off are two entries with very similar themes, not just to each other but also to last year’s winning film by Jennifer Sheridan: RocketBoth films feature a young girl with big aspirations. Blast Off ultimately wins you over through its charming narration and its playful camera work, capturing a wide eyed child with big hopes of reaching the stars. Grace’s Epiphany is equally charming with its narration, but here the director captures the playfulness of the pursuit rather than wide wonderment. The film makes use of stunning cinematography and skilful editing to create a sequence of vocation possibilities for the four year old.









There’s also something very playful about my next choice, Letting You Go. The film pitches itself as a music video, but I’ve chosen it because of its quirky narrative structure, nostalgic tone and sixties inspired music. A boy and a girl prepare to ascend to the clouds on their light-bulb powered bicycles when one of the bikes breaks down. A girl goes on a quest to find the missing parts, a journey which leads her to the woods, the ocean, the dessert and the clouds.

Frank, humorously portrays the morning of a white collar worker. Set in a nightmarish wood, Frank makes a ritualistic rite of passageacross a barky terrain, reflecting on thepre-determination of his routine with an air of philosophical eloquence and hope. The film has a haunting style, achieved through a combination of skilful cinematography, sharp editing and an eerie soundtrack.









Beach Potato, reflects on man’s obsession with TV. Marooned on a beach a man sits idly until he decides to build a makeshift TV to pass the time. Happily he sits, fake remote control in hand, staring at a scene with little changes. However, luck comes in the form of a crab that provides some desperately sought after relief. But will the media distraction ultimately prove to be his undoing? 

Pickle Back is an interesting film that relies on a range of special effects and prosthetics to showcase a range of extraordinary facial expressions for its humour. A young man chats up a young woman but superficially ignores her interest because of her looks. A bartender whips up a cocktail called a Pickle Back that sends the drinkers into a facially gurning frenzy.









Homey is the first of two dramatic films in my list. The film, by keepittidy, uses a clever combination of framing, editing that steadily increases in pace, and manipulated school ground sounds to create a tense and menacing atmosphere on the playground, depicting a traditional game of British Bulldog. There is a wonderfully evocative shot mid-film when the child breaks free of his would-be captors.

The Paintbrush, by penrake, is the second dramatic film I like and definitely the most sentimental in my list. The film focuses on a young boy whose attempts to get in touch with his estranged father prove fruitless. That’s until he finds an old paintbrush in the garden and decides to make another attempt to get in touch with dad. The Paintbrush is filmed in black and white using flecks of colour to represent the magical nature of the child’s idea.









Material is a surreal animated film by Jing that has more than a touch of the bizarre about it, but an interesting watch, nonetheless. Imprisoned Claymationhumans are harvested for food for two dining foxes in a restaurant; at the table the foxes happily much away on human ears and breasts. An explanatory flash scene shows that the lady fox’s handbag is created from human women who are fed down a conveyer belt to a machine that both flattens them and turns them into a fashion accessory. 

Promises To Keep, is a period clothed comedy about a soldier torn between duty and the love he has left behind. The film uses a pleasant mixture of sun-kissed cinematography, a plethora of focus pulls and shallow focus to set up an over-dramatic acting scene between two soldiers. The comedy works as a result of how competently Promises to Keep is put together.










About Filmoria: 

Richard Lennox is the Editor of Filmoria.co.uk, a UK-based entertainment site specialising in film news and reviews. An English and Film graduate, Richard cites his love of films as a gargantuan passion, liking everything from independent art films and shorts, to foreign language titles and full blown blockbusters, "For me, film is the ideal form of escapism. There's nothing better than delving into the world of a well constructed film, whether it's thought provoking or simply for pure entertainment.

*Opinions expressed in this article and the highlighting of certain short film competition entries, reflect the opinions of the author and they are not necessarily those of Virgin Media Limited nor those of the Virgin Media Short Film Competition judging panel.  The opinions and choices are those of film blogger Richard Lennox who is appearing here as a guest writer.

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