By Robyn Davies
23rd, 24th & 25th November 2012
Nottingham became a film enthusiast’s dream last weekend as the Bang! Short Film Festival exploded onto the screens at the Broadway Cinema. Now in its 13th year, Bang! showcases the best of the best in the short film industry – from independent comedies to BAFTA-winning dramas, documentaries to music videos. And this year, with 130 films from 27 countries shown across the 3-day spectacular, it proved to be a roaring success once again.
The festival offered 9 different film sections, each one featuring works of a particular genre. ‘Middle East’ kicked things off on Friday evening: a series of films from and about that side of the globe, and Saturday was abuzz with ‘Crash, Bang!, Wallop’: fun films made for and by young people, many of whom were having a blast in the café afterwards, having clearly enjoyed the show.
Also on Saturday was the ‘Mus-ic Vid-e-o’ section, which took place in the luxuriously laid back Lounge screen (think comfy sofas, bean bags and even a piano). Here, the audience was able to witness some of the freshest talent from music promo directors near and far. There was a great diversity to the selection, which featured both animated and live action films, all varied in theme. One of the stand-outs was Jack Curtis’ The Cardinal, a depiction of a night in the life of a local taxi driver, following him on his rounds as he picks up an eclectic mix of passengers. Starring an array of familiar faces such as Joe Dempsie and Chanel Cresswell, the film was increasingly relatable, and its surprise ending caused eruptions of laugher. Another video that went down incredibly well was Aaron Bradbury’s Twinklebox, a charming glimpse into the life a music box set against beautiful music. A few of the filmmakers were present at the screening, making for a lovely communal atmosphere in which to get stuck into an art form that goes largely uncelebrated.
Later on in the day was ‘Community’. The short-listed films here highlighted important issues being faced in modern communities across the world, as well as offering an inside look into the lives of members of such communities. Comprising largely of documentaries, this section not only had a real sense of relevance to it but also one of intimacy. In Sleight of Hand we are introduced to Walter Sleight, a 90-year-old magician from Lincoln. In the touching film by Corey Marsh we are invited into Walter’s world – the heyday of his career, his continued enjoyment and capability of magic and how it is helping him overcome the death of his wife. Tim Smith’s Trust Me was another highlight, a drama that tackled teenage sexual experience with expert performances, camera work and scripting.
Sunday evening played host to the human rights strand of the festival, ‘Rights in Motion’, showcasing some hard-hitting films in association with the Human Rights Law Centre at the University of Nottingham. These tackled a number of issues such as poverty, domestic abuse and crime punishment, all addressed with poignancy and consideration. For this section two awards were presented: ‘The Rights in Motion Best British Film’ and ‘The Rights in Motion Best International Film’, which were won by Karen Watson’s Daddy’s Little Bit of Dresden China and Francisco Glez’s The Norm respectively.
What everyone had been eagerly anticipating graced the screens on Sunday night. ‘The Main Event’ featured the best contemporary short films from across the industry, and it didn’t disappoint (and not just because of the vast amounts of free popcorn!) Shown in the beautiful main screen – not dissimilar to a 1920’s theatre – the audience was treated to an array of truly impressive films. There was comedy from the likes of Chomp, a simultaneously stunning and gory film set in post-apocalyptic England where two zombies meet over a dead body, and Big Society, a controversial film about methods of tackling anti-social behaviour. Nor was the section short of drama, with The Strange Ones, which questioned the identities of a mysterious man and boy, and All Men Are Called Robert, a film in which a bruised and naked man is seen running through the woods, both proving to be thought-provoking and quite chilling. The event culminated with the BAFTA award-winning Pitch Black Heist starring Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham, which tells the story of a couple of professional safe-crackers.
The 2012 Bang! Short Film Festival was a fantastic showcase of the talent that’s present not only locally but from around the world. Broadway was the perfect location for it, allowing for a really friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere, and the buzz that could be felt before and after every film was an indicator of the festival’s success. Bring on 2013.