‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ It’s an old adage which in Bristol could translate to, ‘Give a filmmaker an idea, a camera, and free use of locations, and they will create a three-minute gem that can be shown to their peers and assorted dignitaries in a darkened and rather too hot room at the M Shed.’
The occasion was this year’s 0117 Hour Film Challenge, presented by Bristol City Council, Bristol Film Office, Bristol Encounters International Film Festival and M Shed; in partnership with the Watershed and their Relays project.
Once again, filmmakers were challenged to make a film of less than three minutes in length, in less than 117 hours. This being 2012, the competition celebrated the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Bristol by challenging filmmakers and animators to create a film inspired by sport, games and play in the M Shed, and in Bristol.
Some teams took this literally. Others, more laterally, like David Taylor (best known as Pip’s Jukebox from Carny Ville) who was filmed on the harbourside and on a boat on the Floating Harbour, singing an apologetic and very funny song about how he has never visited M Shed. Sample lyric: “There is a crane outside / This much I know / I must make the time to go.” Listen to it here.
A fascinating use of the Floating Harbour was Number 21 by Goldjumpsuit, a delightfully drawn animation that took us back to the days when power boats used to race up and down, unthinkable now. Watch Number 21 here.
Other personal favourites of mine were Folders by Folders, featuring furtive transfers of secret contents across Bristol, and included a wonderfully random old-fashioned computer game fight on Observatory Hill; You Can Be My Wingman Anytime by The Flying Aces, two mates at work in Attix on Park Street homing in on their female targets.
There was also 6am by Anyone, the story of a keen runner culminating in him carrying the Olympic Torch; My Other Half by Laura Lucy Film, a mockumentary about a split between a pair of friends; and Monster Playground by Tribe Collective, animation mixed with live action which saw colourful squidgy monsters running around the city at dawn.
Winner of a well-deserved special prize went to young filmmakers Sim of EAC for Ballet of Bristol, which mixed traditional ballet with street dance from Queen Square to the Suspension Bridge.
The overall winner was Wind by Bearded Gnomes, directed by Joanna Beard and Phil Thompson, a wonderfully quirky film with a centrepiece of a race between wind-up plastic toys.
Dave Sproxton of Aardman said that he and his fellow jury members, IMDb founder Col Needham and Bristol Roller Derby queen Tuisku Saralla, aka The Blizzard, chose Wind “for its fun, its brilliant casting, its colourful cast of characters”.
He added: “There is tension, tragedy, a great use of Bristol locations, all gelled together with a wonderful absurdity and siliness.”
As soon as Wind appears on YouTube, it will appear here.