28 January, 2014

Competition Culture

We are pleased to announce that we have published a new page relating to Competitions on our web site. A competition culture is firmly established within the IAC and within Southport MovieMakers.  We compete at a local, regional, national and international level – and within our own Club. As most people appreciate, competition is a good way of raising standards and of benchmarking oneself against the competition, resulting, for us, in higher quality films. We are firmly committed to this culture and have enjoyed great success over the years.

Mersey Ten Competition 2011
The Hypnotist- Winner

Bolton Movie Challenge 2011
Final Justice - First Prize

27 January, 2014

Nigel Barton

The Club has just lost a dear and valued member in Nigel Barton who passed away on 16 January.

Nigel started to attend our Club meetings at the age of 13, being at that time a pupil at Ormskirk Grammar School.  His cousin Miles Tarplee from Hertfordshire used to stay with the family.  Together they made Super 8 cine films, often based on animation.

Nigel later attended Southport School of Arts & Crafts, followed by a TV production course in the north-east. There he directed a film made with his fellow students, involving acting as a stunt double, when he plunged from a hatch in the ceiling on to a mattress on the floor, dressed as a girl.  The film had a scene where a pedestrian is knocked down by a car.  The effect was produced by the actor vaulting over the bonnet of a stationary car.  The actor would not do this until Nigel had done it.  Nigel demonstrated the action and the actor then repeated it.  Unfortunately, the actor’s arm caught the windscreen, which shattered. Nobody was hurt, but the cost of replacing the windscreen was £100, which was the budget for the whole film.

Nigel later went to Goldsmith’s College in London, where he graduated.  The final part of his training was at the National Film & Television School at Beaconsfield, where he specialised in directing.

After working for some years in the film industry in London, mainly in editing, he moved back to Southport, where he found time to be involved in the writing and directing of a number of amateur films for the Club.

For three consecutive years these films won the Denham Gold Cup at the British International Amateur Film Festival. This is awarded for the best film made by an associated club of The Film & Video Institute.

The crowning glory came when one film, ‘Rent-A-Mate’ was selected by the Institute for entry into UNICA, the world-wide amateur film competition.  It was awarded a Gold Medal, and was declared to be ‘The Film of the Festival’.

As we look back at the filming over the years, it brings back reminiscences.  When shooting ‘The Reaper’, we had filmed a cellar sequence at another location, and it was late when we moved to an office car park to enact a sequence where a man is attacked by a cloaked figure wielding a scythe.  As we filmed in the early hours, there was a power surge, and the bulbs in our lights failed one by one.  We had to work quickly to complete the shoot by the time dawn came. Apparently somebody phoned the police to say they had seen a man with a severe back injury.  That was a tribute to the skills of our make-up girl.

For ‘Mummy’s Boys’, we arranged permission from the landlord of the Bold Arms pub at Churchtown to film there on a Sunday morning, before opening hours.  When we arrived, the landlord was not present, and the staff knew nothing about it.  It took them an hour to locate him and verify that the arrangement was genuine, before we were allowed to set up for the shoot.

Some MovieMakers’ members were often critical of the number of takes which Nigel requested when directing a film.  He had been taught the professional method of trying to obtain the most perfect take possible of each shot.  On one film, an elderly actor was not feeling well, and had to be replaced by a stand-in until the actual takes.  However, Nigel always ended up with a wide variety of material to select from in the editing process, ensuring excellent quality in the finished film.

It was only just before Christmas 2013, that Nigel completed his last film, 'Ransom'. His skills will be sorely missed in the Club.

Nigel Barton receiving one of his many awards.

Report in Southport Visiter:
Tributes paid to talented and respected film maker who was an inspiration to others

21 January, 2014

Chairman's Choice

Earlier this month, our Chairman, Peter Ravenscroft, presented a selection of his films. Here he writes about that selection:

I have been a member of Southport Moviemakers for 13 years, on and off (mostly off), and in that time I have produced a variety of film projects and been involved in many others.

The Chairman's Choice evening will feature a range of my work from over the past ten years and will include:

  • 'Who's There?' (2001): Only my second film, based on a nightmare and shot on my then state of the art Canon XL1
  • 'Thanks, Uncle Mike' (2002): A birthday party takes a turn for the worst when the guests arrive.  Featuring our very own Paul Bagshaw in a supporting role.
  • 'Tuesday Morning, 5.17' (2003): Arguably the film I am most proud of, this is the 2003 remake of my very first short film.  The reclusive Arthur is troubled by a visitation from two unwelcome guests and is forced to face up to things he would rather forget.
  • Examples of work I have completed in my academic career and a few tasters of my recent YouTube animations based on Doctor Who.

Revised Picture Gallery

We are pleased to announce that our Gallery now presents our films by genre: Comedy-Drama, Animation and Drama. As more films are supplied by our film-makers, they will be added to the Gallery.

19 January, 2014

Southport MovieMakers Launches NEW Film Catalogue

For 2014, Southport MovieMakers is pleased to announce the launch of a BRAND NEW Film Catalogue. We have been producing films for sixty five years and with the Film Catalogue have begun the significant task of putting this significant body of work online. In this first batch of films, we present films covering the genres of comedy, comedy-drama, drama, experimental, horror and sci-fi:

  • A retired Jedi spends his days tending to his garden when he is interrupted by a young douche bag.
  • 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!
  • Clarence Leek is a very lonely man. His only friend is his Goldfish, Bob. He is about to reach age thirty, but who is he going to celebrate his birthday with?
  • John Turner is agoraphobic. He hasn't been out of the house in years but when his daughter is kidnapped he must find the courage to face the world.
  • How does a 16-year-old cope with transferring from a bicycle to a wheelchair, and how does it affect his state of mind and the action he takes?

And more…….

Each catalogue entry includes:

  1. Title of Film
  2. Director(s)
  3. Producer(s)
  4. Script
  5. Editor
  6. Cinematography
  7. Music
  8. Storyline/background information
  9. Source of the idea for the film
  10. Genre(s)
  11. Awards
  12. Link to Film Published on the Internet (if available)
  13. Production still photographs (if available)

                                                                 And more…….

The first ten films are just the beginning.