The third Greenhorn Short Film Festival took place from 6th – 7th of October at the New Diorama Theatre, situated just off Regent’s Park in a sparkling marble block plaza. Started by Flora Bradwell and Alix Taylor back in 2011, Greenhorn is dedicated to shedding light on the work of new creative talents.
As filmmakers themselves, Bradwell and Taylor understand the importance of not only providing a platform for the finished product, but also the very process which goes into making a film, giving the teams behind the shorts a chance to partake in a Q and A session after their piece has been screened. As much as Greenhorn is an opportunity for new filmmakers to showcase their work then, it is also a hub for them to network, trade insights, and learn about their craft. Indeed, the festival’s programme was geared towards educating attendees, beginning with a workshop in Final Cut Pro X and a panel discussion focusing on the link between film and art.
The shorts on offer were varied in style, tone and subject matter, but were all of a generally high standard. Notable entries included Duncan Cowles’ documentary The Lady with the Lamp, a one-shot-wonder in which we watch a well meaning but relentless mother bombard her apathetic son with suggestions about how he could improve the lighting in his bedroom; Top Hat, a short and sweet tale of surprising magic at a launderette; and Cathy MacDonald’s documentary Roger the Real Life Superhero, which tells the true story of ‘Knight Warrior’, a 19 year old boy who takes to the streets of Salford, feeding the homeless, and whose superpower is an abundance of sincerity and kindness.
The shorts were not the only films screened over the two day festival, however. In collaboration with The Cabinet of Living Cinema and Ear Cinema, the second day of the Greenhorn was dedicated to its screening of The Weird and Wonderful, a two-part event exploring the nature of cinema by mixing film with live performance. Ear Cinema’s piece, Late Noon Sun situated audiences in the middle of four screens, immersing them in a mysterious story which unravels all around them, whilst The Cabinet of Living Cinema provided live and original soundtracks for a number of films from new filmmakers.
The variety of the events on offer showed that Greenhorn is much more than just a shorts festival – it is an experience and a part of a wider movement designed to get audience members and young filmmakers alike exploring every corner of the silver screen. As such, this festival should be praised not just because it creates a platform to expose new talent, but also because it facilitates filmmakers in their progression towards their next project. As much as Greenhorn is about celebrating current achievements then, it is also about looking towards the future in eager and optimistic anticipation. Indeed, Greenhorn’s patron, Mike Leigh, espoused this attitude when he eagerly asked Samuel de Ceccatty (the writer and director behind the festival’s winning short, Dave’s Wild Life), ‘So what’s next?’. And with Greenhorn being a relatively young festival itself, I end my review with a query similar to Leigh’s (albeit a question directed towards the festival, not the filmmakers): ‘Great work, Greenhorn – how are you going to top it next year?’. I hope you will join me in 2014 to find out how they answer my question.
There were many shorts on offer at Greenhorn festival, but I’ve chosen of to review a few of them in a little more detail. You can read my thoughts on them here: