21 September, 2012

Tony Glynn Introduces Dark Films of the 1940s

At our next meeting on 27 September, Tony Glynn presents excerpts from three British dramas in the noir tradition from a productive period. He explains why they are among his personal favourites.
Created by talented specialists in both the dramatic and technical fields, these films were full of noted performers and many who would become famous in later years.

They represent a time when British cinema shook off its 'quota quickie' image and came of age and the final offering is a chiller that made a lasting impression on all who saw it.

If you want to find out what films Tony is talking about and more about the films themselves, then come along to our next meeting.

Day: Thursday 27 September
Time: 8 pm – 10.00 pm
Location: St James' Church Hall,
Lulworth Road, Southport, PR8 2BQ.

06 September, 2012

Knights to Remember

This blog post has been contributed by Club member Tony Glynn. Tony writes below about one of the group productions of 2011/12, King Arthur’s Nutty Knights.

The saga of King Arthur and his gallant band of knights has often been brought to the screen but it has probably never before been presented in the way chosen by three members of Southport MovieMakers. David Wareing, Geoff Williams and Tony Glynn portrayed the noble company in cartoon fashion. They do not claim any historical accuracy for the finished product but they learned much in creating King Arthur’s Nutty Knights – and had a lot of fun in the process.

Some of the stalwarts depicted were cowardly Sir Endor; boozy Sir Osis, the mad surgeon; Sir Lancelot and doggy-loving Sir Winalot.

It was chiefly a series of still cartoons with a tiny modicum of drawn animation. David, as director and chief technical expert, used his wide knowledge of the secrets of computing to bring perfect images to the screen.

Geoff’s well known acting skills were utilised to provide the voice-over, describing the characteristics of each knight in gradely Lancashire fashion, for the team’s research has revealed the hitherto unknown fact that all were reet gradely Lancashire lads.

Tony drew the cartoons, devised the limited animation and was left with a desire to develop more ambitious animation in a feature of wider scope. 

All three had a hand in the script and felt their joint efforts were rewarded when they witnessed the audiences’ appreciation of the offering.

Like many another Southport MovieMakers’ production, King Arthur’s Nutty Knights showed the value of teamwork, bringing various talents and skills together. Anyone joining the Club will find enjoyment in creating films, an opportunity to spread the wings of the talents they bring and, quite likely, to discover talents that they didn’t know they had.

If you have an interest or ability in drawing, painting or animation or in any other aspect of film-making and would like to find out more about the Club, please contact us.  

03 September, 2012

New Year Starting

The new programme for 2012/13 has now been posted on the Southport MovieMakers web site. A full year of activity  has been planned.

Starting this Thursday 6 September:

Musical trailer of the 2012-13 Programme

Followed by:
  • 1-minute extracts from Club Productions 2005-2011
  • Short extract from the new Artworks production, Malcolm
  • Trailer for Nigel Moran's feature film

Day: Thursday 6 September
Time: 8 pm – 10.00 pm
Location: St James' Church Hall,
Lulworth Road, Southport, PR8 2BQ.

22 August, 2012

Full Year of Activity Planned 2012/13

The new activity schedule for 2012/13 has just been posted on Southport MovieMaker's web site:

As each event gets closer, more information will be posted.

23 July, 2012

LATEST TALK: Special Effects and Visual Effects

On Thursday 26 July, Southport MovieMakers Club member Nigel Moran, will be speaking about the history and making of special effects and visual effects in films.

Nigel, who has been involved in film-making since he was eight years old, has directed, starred and helped in over sixty short films as well as directing his debut feature film called “Mayhem Behind Movies” which has just received an “Honourable Mention” at the Toronto International Film and Video Awards.

Starring Carl Wharton “Zombie Massacre”, Kayla Keatley and Phil Perez “Sleep”, “Mayhem Behind Movies” is a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary following Kevin Knight, a struggling low-budget filmmaker, on his mission to complete his first big-break movie “Valentine” before the opening premiere. Kevin soon finds himself in turmoil as he races against the clock in a make-or-break scenario packed with side-splitting and nail-biting moments. Will Kevin finish in enough time with all the odds stacked up against him?

Nigel is currently planning a zombie short for YouTube while writing his next feature project and is close to finishing a book on making movies.

Day: Thursday 26 July
Time: 8 pm – 10.00 pm
Location: St James' Church Hall,
Lulworth Road, Southport, PR8 2BQ.

06 July, 2012

LATEST TALK: Directing

Next Thursday, Club member Nigel Barton, who trained as a professional film director, will be speaking about the job of film directing.

Nigel Barton has over 25 year’s experience in film and video. After graduating in Direction at London's National Film School, he directed films for television including commercials, documentary and drama.

Nigel has directed a number of films with Southport MovieMakers, including the comedy Mummy’s Boys (2006). Two young brothers (who are not very efficient) rob a local shop to get some money. They drive back home, bickering as they do so. Mother is a bit of a dragon so they decide to go out again to the local pub - still planning further 'scams' ... But mother has the last word!

So, come along and hear the insightful talk that Nigel will be delivering:

Day: Thursday 12 July
Time: 8 pm – 10.00 pm
Location: St James' Church Hall,
Lulworth Road, Southport, PR8 2BQ.

03 July, 2012

Membership Application Form

A new download facility has been added to the Southport MovieMakers web site. Today, a new Membership Application Form has been added to this facility. If you're interested in joining the Club, please download and print the form. Then, complete and sign and date it and bring the form to a Club meeting.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Download Membership Application Form 

02 July, 2012

Night Vision

This blog post has been contributed by Club member Les Thomas who led the recently-completed group production, Night Vision.

Included in each year’s Club Programme, is a ‘Project’ in which members form small working groups to try to bring an idea to fruition. The Project set for the past 2012 programme was ‘Filming in the Dark’. We knew that we had two locations available at which we could try out the possibilities of eventually creating a film. We had been given permission by Natural England to film in the Formby Pine Woods at night and a large cellar was available.

The first meeting of the group was a kind of brainstorming at which ideas, however bizarre or unreal, were thrown around. I made some notes, and drew up a rough script trying to reflect the comments and suggestions that were made at our first meeting. When I brought this back to the group next week, we again expanded the possibilities and deleted those things that seemed too implausible. It was three o’clock in the morning when I woke up, reached across for pen and paper, and completed the script, which with a tweak or three would eventually become our completed project – ‘Night Vision’.

Casting for the film was relatively easy as we were to seek the cast from our own Club’s membership (Normally, we would look to the local amateur dramatic societies to provide good, but free, acting ability). Along with the crew, who would film the story, we made location visits, including in darkness, to gauge the most effective use of these spots. The woods in darkness presented some challenges, particularly in terms of the uneven ground, but more especially the right level of lighting. We wanted to maintain a moderate sense of fear and suspense, and so to flood the scene with light would be counter-productive. This, after all, was the purpose of the project, although some adjustment could and would be made at the editing stage.

Filming at Night

We needed to push on with the filming outside, for although we had had our discussions at the Club on dark winter nights, Spring was round the corner and the evenings were becoming lighter longer. When we finally gathered in the woods, it was mid-April. ‘Night Vision’ is the story of a film within a film, which took some of us time to adjust to. As the filming progressed it came together and we all enjoyed the experience. Filming in the cellar offered all kinds of possibilities, and more freedom, for example, as the small windows could be easily covered and blacked out. Experiments in lighting the cellar made us conclude that candle light would be more effective in terms of the setting. We used a moderate amount of LED lighting. The props and costumes were few, and proved easy to acquire. A Club member was able to provide costumes used some time before for a fancy dress party. Falling dust proved pleasant as it came from a talcum powder container, always taking care to keep it away from the sensitive cameras. Extensive use was made of chroma key for the police station and Television News studio, I believe to good effect.

Night Vision - Title

The final production of ‘Night Vision’ is a good example of what is possible when a group of keen amateur movie makers is set the challenge to do something a bit different. We hope that the film might be entered into the inter-club competitions in the coming year 2012-13.

Les Thomas

03 June, 2012

Tapping into In-house Talent

During June and July, we are tapping into the skills and experience we have at Southport MovieMakers. Members of the Club will be talking about some of the core skills of the film-maker:

  • Short Films
  • Film Directors
  • Directing
  • Lighting
  • Visual Effects

27 May, 2012

Southport MovieMaker’s Success

For the third time in five years Southport MovieMakers has won the Bolton Movie Challenge, a competition between member clubs of the IAC from around the North West. The winning film in 2012 is 'Behind the Wire', a dramatised documentary of the recall of memories from Auschwitz during World War II.  

The film was produced by Paul Bagshaw, and the local actors performing the roles of Auschwitz survivors are Eryl Lloyd Parry, Robin Hirsch, Ray Mann, Thelma Falls-Hand, David Charters, Betty Hayden and the late Benny Darrah.

The Film and Video Institute

23 May, 2012

Fresh Blood in Southport

There is fresh blood in this Diamond Jubilee year, courtesy of Southport MovieMakers.

Sixty years ago, Southport MovieMakers made a film about blood. In 1951, having impressed the then Regional Donor Organiser for the National Blood Service (Liverpool Region), Mr George Monro, Southport MovieMakers was invited to make a film for the NBS, the aim of which was to recruit people to donate their blood.

In the post-war period in which the film was shot, it was thought that a colour film, shot on Merseyside, would have more impact than black and white – which would have perhaps been rather draining! The shooting of scenes for the film at factories and workplaces added an extra dynamism.

The film was judged to be one of the Ten Best Amateur Films of 1951, in the competition run by Amateur Cine World Magazine.  A young 19-year-old man directed the film, Trevor Livesey. Such was the success of the film that soon afterwards the Blood Transfusion Service asked Southport MovieMakers to make another film.

The 30-minute film produced by Southport MovieMakers was entitled “Calling to You” and indeed the film is expected to be calling out to potential blood donors again – sixty years on.   The National Blood Service is actively promoting this film around the region with a view to arranging screenings to coincide with the Royal Diamond Jubilee. There has been a great deal of interest shown in the film:

  • University of Liverpool – History of Medicine lecturer to use it in her lectures
  • University of Manchester – Urban History lecturer to use it in her lectures
  • Chorley Little Theatre – Planning to show it as part of an old film event
  • Parbold Picture House – Planning to show it in October before another film
  • Stockport Plaza – Planning to use it as an information short before another film

Dates for screenings have yet to be confirmed. Given the interest shown and the range of venues, the National Blood Service is hopeful that the new screenings of this old film will help them recruit new donors.

04 May, 2012

Inter-club Competition 2012

On an annual basis, six film/video clubs from around the North West compete in an Inter-club Competition, usually hosted by Southport MovieMakers. An experienced film-maker from each club acts as a judge and awards points for the other clubs’ Competition entries.

Congratulations go to Bolton MovieMakers on winning this year’s Inter-club Competition for their film Rocky and Me about an apprentice stable boy and his passion for horses.

Here is a list of all of the entries:

Swan Movie Makers Wirral
Saronie, Master Showman (Documentary)
Documentary about James Roberts Saronie who, having established himself as a well-respected Victorian photographer, later became a pioneer cinema owner in Birkenhead.

Southport MovieMakers
King Arthur’s Nutty Knights (Animation)
So you thought King Arthur’s chums where gang of galant geezers. We dig the real dirt on those not-so-noble knights!

Warrington Cine and Video Society
Nowt but Scenery (Documentary)
A trip on the Settle to Carlisle Railway and the places and landscape it passes through.

Preston MovieMakers
Lake Garda (Documentary)
A visit to Lake Garda and surrounding towns on the lakeside.

Bolton MovieMakers
Rocky and Me (Documentary)
An apprentice stable boy and his passion for horses.

Morecambe Bay Movie Makers
Steam, Steel, Motor Power and Big Bang.....All in a Shade of Blue (Documentary)
A look at the history of the Furness Railway and its importance to the area.

Congratulations, again, to Bolton MovieMakers on winning the 2012 Inter-club Competition for their film Rocky and Me.

Links to the Club Web Sites:

Next year's competition takes place on 18 April 2013.

28 April, 2012

British International Amateur Film Festival 2012 – Southport MovieMakers Recognised

Ashby Ball, the founder of Southport MovieMakers, was recently in Weymouth on the Dorset coast for the IAC British International Amateur Film Festival (BIAFF), 13 – 15 April 2012.

On the Saturday, to give delegates an overview, selections from the films entered were shown in four mini-cinemas in the Hotel Rembrandt, the festival venue.

Southport MovieMakers had entered “MidVillage Bloomers”, which won a 4-star award, and I went forward for the certificate on behalf of the Club after the film was shown. Paul Bagshaw of our Club also gained a 4-star award for his film “When No-one Hears You Scream”, and I received the certificate on his behalf. Paul also earned a 3-star award for “The Wall”.

On the Sunday, a selection of the top award-winning films was shown. The Daily Mail Trophy for the overall winner in the competition was won by “Angels on the Rail”, a 54 minute film by Moving Pictures, of the Czech Republic.

There was time for an outing to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where we were the last party to visit before a security clampdown for the yachting classes in the Olympic Games. We also visited Athelhampton House, a stately home, where after a wine reception we viewed a feature film, “From Time to Time”, shot there by Ealing Studios.

Poster - BIAFF 2012 - Weymouth
Full Programme of Events

Cinema at Athelhampton House

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy

Each year in Spring, the IAC organises the British International Amateur Film Festival. 
BIAFF 2013 will be held in Chesterfield, April 2013

More information about BIAFF

31 January, 2012

NEW Members' Page

Southport MovieMakers is pleased to announce that there is a new Members' Page on the Club web site.

Your views of the Club are very much welcomed by the Committee. It's your Club, so tell the Committee what you think.

Survey - Members' Profiles

Southport MovieMakers is considering creating a new feature on the Club web site for members to create a profile of their film-making experience. Members and potential members are invited to respond to the following survey to establish their views:

25 January, 2012

Chairman’s Choice

An evening with our chairman Joshua Gwynne. Joshua takes into consideration the current project of 'Shooting at Night' and selects shorts and a series of clips from films over the years to give an example to the members of what is possible with simple 'get up and go' motivation. Joshua will analyse previous films that use scenes shot at night and will provide a running commentary, considering what such a technique accomplishes for the film and the affect it has on the audience. 

Look forward to seeing all members and any new members at St James' Church, Birkdale - Thursday 26 January at 8 p.m.

23 January, 2012

NEW Group Video Project in Development

A NEW group video project is in development. It will involve shooting in Formby Pine Woods at night.

More information will be posted as the project evolves.