By midlandsmovies, Jul 15 2018 08:06AM
Movie makers shine bright at Leicester charity film gala
Saturday 14th July saw a fantastic evening of films, fun and fundraising as Rajnish Sharma Films and Whatsername Productions presented a collection of some of the newest short films and local filmmakers at the Leicester Short Film Gala.
With red carpet glamour, all proceeds from the night would be donated to Leicester’s YMCA charity. The gala was hosted at their Y theatre which is the oldest and only surviving Victorian theatre in the city and the evening began with a reminder of the great work they do to help with homelessness in the area.
As well as the money raised tonight, they are currently running a Challenge 135 campaign where they are asking 135 local businesses to donate £135 in honour of their 135 year-old anniversary. (Find out more about this great cause on their site by clicking here).
However, the full film showcase quickly began and was hosted by Dean Presto. He stirringly introduced a night of five separate films which was followed by question and answer sessions after the screenings to discuss the productions with each of the films’ directors.
First up was Fabletown that was a black and white drama with a hint of fairy tale lore about it. With a Sin City-esque monochrome palette populated by flashes of bright colour, it mixed a dark film noir aesthetic with fantasy influences. With hints to the big bad wolf and Little Red Riding Hood via Dorothy’s adventures in Oz, the mix of light and dark was a great tonal choice and set the mood for the rest of the night.
Up next was Rajnish Sharma’s Ascension which we have covered on Midlands Movies in the past. This post-apocalyptic thriller shows a barricaded man who is haunted by past demons as he tries to save himself from a dangerous world outside.
Covering themes of selfishness, regret and survival the director explained the difficulties of filming with a low budget during his interview segment. But he also highly praised the hard work and passion of local film crews to get such fantastic projects finished at all.
This story about the joys of taking your child to the park twisted a simple tale into something much darker and the audience responded to its short 2-minute runtime with howls of laughter. With a great atmosphere and appreciative crowd we headed into the interval on an entertaining high with people anxious for the final two films coming up.
At the break, the filmmakers and fans were encouraged to network and fellow organisers Kelly McCormack and Charlotte Roper showed no signs of nervousness given the strong audience reactions to the show’s first half.
After buying tickets to the event’s charity raffle and wetting our whistles, we returned to the auditorium and took our seats ready for the second half which started with dramatic mood-piece Thursday.
The longest of the evening, Thursday is from Leicester’s GM Finney Productions who won Best Special Effects for their film The Rockman at this year’s Midlands Movies Awards. Switching from their sci-fi success to a more sombre drama, the film told the story of a young woman who, after suffering a personal loss, finds herself in a life or death situation in order to keep her family legacy alive.
With an orchestral score, flashes of violence and some terrific performances, Thursday’s director Glenn McAllen-Finney described how the shooting was surprisingly easy. This was despite the frustrations of difficult weather and the ‘less-than-regular’ route to gain a suitable location for the film’s hostage sequences.
Last but certainly not least was Eve from Rajnish Sharma Films, a dark psychological horror showing a young woman getting ready for a night out to meet friends. Starring the talented Leicester actress Eve Harding, her character finds herself excitedly preparing for her evening, only to be caught in a metaphorical loop that is frustrating and frightening in equal measure.
With huge rounds of applause the screenings ended with all the filmmakers given credit for their hard work and the night properly concluded with the draw of the charity raffle. With exciting prizes to be won including tickets to Leicester’s well known The Short Cinema event coming up in August – and our very own Midlands Movies Mystery Box (!) – the night was a fantastic success for all those involved.
An evening of laughs and thought-provoking shorts, the night showcased not only some tremendously creative films but proudly demonstrated the strong film community prevalent in my home town. With strong support from cast and crews across all the productions, Leicester’s low-budget filmmakers showed a great level of cooperation and it was encouraging to witness an audience with an appetite for independent shorts.
Finally, with a good cause at its heart and a whole host of shared enthusiasm between the organisers and attendees, the adoring film fans meant that the Short Film Gala was a huge success from start to finish.
Midlands Movies Mike
Please check out more about the films on the links in the article