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11.03.03
Premiere of four new short films made in Cornwall

The Digital Shorts scheme is run by the New Cinema Fund of the Film Council, in partnership with a number of key partners across England. South West Screen, the regional media agency for the South West, is one of these partners and has produced eight Digital Shorts films, four co-produced with the Objective One funded Cornwall Film Fund and four with HTV-West. The aim of the scheme is to enable talented film-makers to make innovative short films using digital technology.

Film Council, South West Screen and Cornwall Film ran an open competition to choose the four projects to go into production. A weekend training workshop for all eight film-makers from the South West was held in Truro, led by US producer and publisher Michael Wiese (who lives in West Cornwall).

Production of all four Cornish films was undertaken by Aurora Digital Films Cornwall Ltd, a company created for the purpose by producer Beatrix A Milburn, whose company Aurora Films Ltd is an established and successful Cornish-based enterprise.

Film Council representative was Caroline Cooper Charles (Short Film Consultant to the New Cinema Fund). The Executive Producers were Sarah-Jane Meredith for South West Screen and Colin Rogers for Cornwall Film Fund.

Caroline Norbury (Chief Executive, South West Screen) says: "These four digital short films illustrate the exciting new work being made by the filmmaking community in Cornwall."

Sarah Jane Meredith (Executive Producer for South West Screen) adds: "The Cornish films will form part of the national package and will be offered for distribution world-wide. We also hope to see them screened at festivals in the UK and abroad. So the scheme will deliver a range of benefits – as well as the chance for 4 talented film-makers to make their films, we have also given around a hundred other people the chance to work on a production and the resulting films will carry the message about the quality of Cornwall's film-making to a national and international audience."

Colin Rogers (Director, Cornwall Film Fund) says: "This is the first scheme that the Cornwall Film Fund has run jointly with the Film Council (South West Screen is one of our main funding partners). Its been a great opportunity to make short films in a way that allows the film-maker almost complete control over the technology of film-making because digital equipment is far cheaper and the processes more user-friendly than conventional celluloid film demands. This is the way that film is heading and it means that people in Cornwall who want to make films will no longer be at a disadvantage. In fact, they are leading the way."

Producer Beatrix A Milburn says: "The Digital Shorts are the first films I have produced in Britain for many years. It was a great opportunity to work with some bright individuals who have been brave to experiment with digital production and make some unusual films. It has been a real bonus to find people with integrity, talent and humour to collaborate with here in Cornwall."

The four films, in alphabetical order of the film-makers, are:

Birt Dynely by Paul Farmer
Paul Farmer says: "Although BIRT DYNELY is set in the real town of Falmouth, Cornwall, it is comedy fiction - a strange tale of loss, ambition and endeavour ending with a tragic retreat into fantasy. It is the allegory of both a mythical beach and a life suffocated in the choking folds of political apathy and the pursuit of profit."

Jubilee Pool by Nick Harpley
We asked the director, Nick Harpley, for a few words: "Well, the original idea was to make a film purely on the architecure of Penzance's fabulous Jubilee Pool, but as we were filming this chap kept on getting in shot. He'd just appear. So I went to talk to him, get him to stop spoiling the shoot, and he told me this story of how he was this famous concert pianist and how at a concert one night, back in the forties, he had just finished playing the particularly strenous Scriabin 5th sonata when suddenly he found himself here, where he has been ever since. I didn't really believe him, but his story demanded to be told and, since he'd ruined most of our shots anyway, this is what we ended up doing. Oddly enough, since we stopped shooting, he seems to have disappeared."

Questioned further, Nick agreed that this was not a strictly accurate account. He offered this instead:

"Jubilee Pool is an exploration both of the emotional phenomenologies of place, and of the exhibitionistic anxieties of performance. In the hiatus between the gift of performance (libidinal expenditure) and the receipt of compensatory appreciation (re-integration of ego), the film imagines the performer's unconscious process during this moment. Using the enclosed and reflective architecture of an Art Deco lido as a 'theatre of the mind', it traces the movements of an archetypal unfolding, which explores underlying anxieties and, finally, resolves inherent discontinuities."

The Way Things Work by Will Jackson
"The main character, Nick, is obsessed with the way things work", says Will Jackson. "His wife Zoë wrestles with Nick's obsession. Nick is trying to catalogue all the world's technology in a single comprehensive work, his publisher has grown tired of the project but the results of his efforts have a more profound effect on Zoë.

"He has been systematically dismantling the world in alphabetical order – where will it end?"

Will's film was made from a script written by Gary Alexander. The story required a number of different sets but Will chose not to build these but to create them as 'virtual sets'. We asked Will to tell us more about how the film was made:

"All the live action in The Way Things Work was shot against green screen and this was composited with 3D/ 2D backgrounds during post production.
The backgrounds were built up from photographic stills and hand painted elements, (walls, doors, furniture etc). Filming with actors took 2 days and was shot on digibeta. The postproduction period took 2 months and many hours of rendering time. Finally we added the soundtrack - composed and recorded by Max Gilkes."

Fish Film by Richard Stewart

The FISH film - how and why?

"The story for the film came to me along time before I realised what it actually meant. It is a film about a man who sings to fish to catch them. His voice is so terrible that he is forced to live alone away from the other fishermen, but the fish love it and he is content. One day he falls in love and becomes happy but his voice now sweetened by love catches no fish. The woman he loves starts to go hungry and in the end leaves him for a man who can't sing. His broken heart makes his voice sour and harsh again and the fish return. I guess it's a sort of musical romantic comedy tragedy.

"I realised or rather the crew pointed out to me while we were shooting that the film is about a man who can't reconcile his work with his love and therefore a kind of self portrait (of me) in some respects."
 

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Editor's notes:

 

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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