shortfilmsBridport Arts Centre 11 April 2015
BR Rating N/A

By Sam Barker

There’s something ignoble about coruscating criticism of films made by students. Fledgling filmmakers need nurturing, not annihilation. Gloves off, not gloves on. Gentle encouragement, not ungentlemanly smackdowns.

In this spirit, the short films made by local students and showcased at the Bridport Film Festival on Saturday were more than outstanding. In a selection of five two-minute shorts, the audience was treated to an odyssey of social commentary with localism as the unifying theme. The cinematography may not have been brilliant, the camerawork was often shaky, the editing erratic, the dialogue indistinct, but this was Dorset seen through the lens of a generation brought up with smartphones. And it was refreshingly different.

In the first of the films, a fisherman reeled in relentless Morrisons’ ready meals in the wake of the storm which spewed mountains of rubbish onto the beaches last year. In the second, the inhabitants of a seaside town were subject to a curfew which saw them confined to their homes between May and September. In the third, a mysterious vat of rubbish rose strangely from the ground alongside the A35 at Broomhills farm. For the fourth, one of Bridport’s last surviving rope-makers reminisced about the town in the 1940s while averring his current support for UKIP. And finally, we were treated to an ethereal ghost story set on a desolate Eggardon Hill after the September kite festival.

Interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking.
Except… none of this actually happened. There weren’t any short films at this year’s festival. No one submitted one. This was a shame: anything is better than nothing. And we would have been gentle and encouraging. Honestly.
Maybe next year.