The winners’ screening this afternoon opened with Foxes in the Underground (4 nominations, 1 win). Starring Jonathan Hyde, (Titanic, The Tailor of Panama) the story takes place on 29th July, 1981, in a small news broadcasting studio. Every other station in the country is covering the royal wedding. A violent bank robbery has taken place, and the network gives the studio the chance for an exclusive. The only problem is… they have 40 minutes, and no witness to interview. The producers come up with a creative solution. A well written and entertaining film.
The winner for Best Animation followed, Heartstrings, which judging by the adoring sighs and smiles of the audience, was tugging on our heartstrings too. Next with the grand total of 7 nominations and 3 wins to recommend it including Best Documentary, Best Sound, and Best Film, was Reaching Albion. This documentary, which is less than 20 minutes in length, manages to capture the hope of the migrants in Calais for a better life, and instils that same hope in the viewer that they will find it. The audience becomes attached to the subjects, as it is clear the director was during filming. Director Jon Scorer is definitely one to watch. The film was followed by the winner for Best Music Video, Poughkeepsie Bound.
Next was the very popular Who’s Afraid of the Water Sprite?, with 4 nominations and 3 wins for Best Cinematography, Best Technical Achievement, and Best Horror/Thriller (nominated for Best Film). A young girl is told by a water sprite (a mischievous spirit) that her mother is being chained up every night by the blacksmith and that she must do something to help her. As it happens, the blacksmith is the one helping her mother. Beautifully shot and very well executed production design. One of this year’s best.
Still from Foxes in the Underground
Last was Smog which, while not appealing to everyone’s tastes, made an impression with 4 nominations including Best Film, and a win for Best Acting. A woman befriends a man in her building who tells her about the woman he is seeing. In the end, we realize that they are the same woman. Disorienting and unclear, not one of my favorites. Despite being nominated in 5 categories, Partir, a french foreign language picture (produced by an English student) didn’t take home any awards.
After a very close vote, Franzi Florack was reelected Chairperson of the NSFA. All other positions were uncontested, with the exception of Treasurer, for which nominations are to reopen in the near future. Next year’s Screentest will take place at London South Bank University. It was a great festival, and I’ve had a great time! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!
– Taylor Lockhart-Lang