Movie fans were treated to the results of the University of Northampton’s 72 Hour Film Challenge at a special screening ceremony.
The contest, which was open to students, graduates and the general public, challenged entrants to write, shoot and edit an entire short film within just 72 hours.
Scroll down to watch the films
Films by the six crews that entered were shown at the ceremony, which was held at The Platform, Northampton town centre, on Friday 10 May.
The big winners on the night were Omar Ait Ali, Vlad Todea and Sebastian Gabor – pictured above, from left, with awards compere Mike Starr, right, and competition organiser Aaron Freeman, second from right – who picked up three awards for their film, Sign Here.
A panel of judges selected it for the Best Film, Best Script and Best Cinematography awards.
Omar said: “When you are sitting there in the moment all you can hope for is that your title will show up on the big screen announced as best film. I was really surprised to find out we’d won three awards this year as the competition was so strong, but damn did it feel good to have those three plaques to take home.
“Being recognised for your effort is what makes it all worthwhile. I already look forward to next year’s turnout.”
The other winners on the night were:
Best Sound – Yours sincerely, Webster
Best Editing – Focus
You can watch each of the films, below, and read the thoughts of film critic, Jason Day – the Reel Reviewer.
Sign Here -Winner of Best Film, Best Script and Best Cinematography awards
Synopsis: Aspiring filmmaker Vlad arrives for a meeting with a producer, but they haven’t turned up and ‘phone in’. They make Vlad an offer he should refuse…will he walk away?
For me, this was the best film submitted – the old, trusty story of a Faustian pact makes it the most well-developed and psychologically nuanced.
But as young Vlad lingers on whether he should sign the tasty but dangerous contract with a disembodied voice on a speaker, the film also doubles as a cinematic Charlie’s Angels!
Focus – Winner of the Best Editing award
Synopsis: Two housemates reconnect but come to blows when one looks after the other’s ‘baby’ when ‘Mum’ takes a shower.
An ambitious offering – the characters’ faces are not fully visible – a dehumanising effect that matches the grey look of the film and the grey people.
The women in the film grope toward reconciliation but their re-established trust is an illusion – the ‘mother’s friend’ throttles her ‘child’ – rather obviously a doll – and is then dealt with in an equally unreal way.
The use of split-screen and ‘grainy’ footage gives this the edge in terms of editing.
Red Hot Crime
Synopsis: A police officer arrives at the scene of a murder, but is everything as it seems?
This cheekily scripted film within a film features the most impressive sound editing, the squealing siren of the police car and as the criminal runs away, his coins jangle as clear as a bell in his pockets.
The team also had a great props man/woman as they make innovative, crime-busting use of a fake, severed arm and tomato ketchup for blood.
Utah Steve 2: It’s a Western…Deal With It!
Synopsis: The short story of a man who is long in the saddle – Utah Steve and the crazy varmints he meets whilst horsing around in the Wild West…of Northamptonshire.
The great delight in student film is that, if you don’t take the craft too seriously, you can record for posterity the bants you have with your mates, irrespective of whether anyone else finds them funny.
I didn’t get the provenance behind any of the in-jokes for this free-wheeling absurdist film (maybe Utah Steve #1 should be made available) but that’s not the point. I didn’t need to, but Utah Steve 2 still had me giggling throughout…so deal with it!
Yours Sincerely, Webster – Winner of the Best Sound award
Synopsis: Webster is in prison and makes his final meal demands to his jail, a bizarre collection of disparate food stuffs that hint at his crimes.
On the flip-side to Utah Steve is young Webster, on the wrong end of the ball and chain in a prison. His weird, perverse culinary tastes turn out to be less of a crime against established gastronomy and make perfect sense when you realise the sort of contemptible person he is, played by Harry Sanders with plenty of ham and relish.
Again, the filmmakers have a good ear for sound editing, with the drip-drip of a leaky pipe constantly noticeable.
Mind Your Head
Synopsis: Of all the gin joints in all the towns. It’s just another day in the office for the Private Detective. That is, until she has a stand-off, with someone who looks eerily similar.
I’m a bit of a silent film nut, so I’m always drawn to experimental or first-start movies that get rid of the spoken and word and concentrate on the visuals. Why make your debut production more difficult with the encumbrance of dialogue?
Mind Your Head is not entirely silent as it features the best score of all the films – a peppy, percussion-heavy jazz flits in the background – but this is the most esoteric and the plot could have done with being just that bit clearer.