Last week I was invited to attend the 17th annual Raindance Film Festival by a pretty special company called Ctrl+Alt+Shift. I say special and mean it in the most unique fashion. The collection of short films they had on show for people to watch was mesmerising.
As part of a competition in 2008, Ctrl+Alt+Shift had five places up for grabs whereby upcoming filmmakers had the opportunity to learn from some very talented stars and create their own pieces of work alongside them. The aspiring filmmakers were to write a treatment based around one of three global issues — war & peace, gender & power and HIV & stigma.
The evening did very well to raise a lot of awareness towards issues and lifestyles that we in the comfortable Western world take for granted. It brought attention to the plight of those in war-torn countries needing medical help, those who think HIV is a joke, how the world at war does nothing for future generations and how we simply abuse everything around us. A great evening to open your eyes a little to things going on around you…
The five winners are listed below and you can watch all five videos on the Ctrl+Alt+Shift website.
HIV — The Musical
Written and Directed by: Joe Patrick and Tim Woodall
Mentor: Paul Andrew Williams
The main aim of Patrick and Woodall’s film is to expose the ridiculous attitudes towards HIV. A series of video blogs posted by a young playwright, James McKenzie (played by Martin Freeman from The Office), whose artistic integrity is being challenged by the ignorance of a film company determined to hijack his script, represented by a producer played by Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh).
Writer and Director: Tim Travers Hawkins
Mentor: Chris Harding (Shynola)
Music: Jesca Hoop
Voice of Bureaucrat: Adam Buxton
A verbose and politically correct bureaucrat gives a lecture to a group of teenagers on the merits of the UK’s efficient and humane asylum system, whilst meanwhile, in the same building, detainees, imprisoned indefinitely in different ‘Removal Centres’ across the UK, leave messages in vain on an abandoned telephone answering machine in the ministry basement. Their messages detail the horror of the life that they have escaped due to conflict.
Writer and Director: Fern Berresford
Mentor: Kinga Burza
Music: The Young Knives
This two-minute short, based around gender + power, tackles the treatment of women as property and the lack of self worth and identity women feel due to the gender inequalities prevalent in many societies.
No Way Through
Written and Directed by: Alexandra Monro + Sheila Menon
Mentor: Jim Threapleton
Music: The Thirst
No Way Through highlights mobility restrictions imposed in the West Bank, that are limiting its habitants’ access to health care, thus violating a fundamental human right.
Writer and Director: Ben Newman
Mentor: Aoife McArdle
Music: Shy Child and Chipmunk
Opting for a short based around war + peace, Ben Newman came up with one of the most popular entries, gaining praise across the board by re-creating a military training camp for child soldiers in a British school. It was described by Riz Ahmed as a great idea, simple, communicating a direct message.