Review: Filmmakers' Society Showcase
Review by Tessa Lillis
Recently I had the pleasure of being one of the first students to be exposed to the talent and inventiveness of one of St. Andrews newest societies: The Filmmakers’ Society. Since St. Andrews has such a rich film scene, from the 60 Hour Film Blitz to the films showcased at the On the Rocks Festival, it is so refreshing and exhilarating to have a new outlet for all student filmmakers, be it first years or postgraduates! This particular showcase exhibited several short films which were produced throughout the first semester by members of the society, as they created their own art within what is the society calls their ‘platform for self-expression’. From comedy to drama, the subjective to the contemplative, these short films definitively demonstrated the creative capabilities of St. Andrews students.
It is well known that a critical foundation of filmmaking revolves around constructing a narrative around what the creator knows, and it is clear that several of the filmmakers took this to heart with their representations of student life. ‘Displaced’ and ‘Sleepwalker’ both did this wonderfully, as the audience was exposed to struggles plaguing both new and veteran students alike. ‘Displaced’ in particular resonated with me and I believe any viewer as it follows one student’s introduction into the world of St. Andrews, a world full of strangers and new classes, where we all initially found ourselves displaced. ‘Sleepwalker’, on the other hand, exposed the life of an older student who has been incapable of getting what he wants. When this student falls asleep he sleepwalks and becomes an intelligent and brave individual, transforming into what he wishes he could be when awake. ‘Retrace Steps’ revolved around a student as well, as she is locked out of her room in halls and must retrace her steps in the hopes of finding her key. This is an extremely relatable problem, as I’m sure we have all been locked out at least once, thus offering a promising story. I was slightly disappointed, however, when the words along the lines of ‘sorry this film was shit’ flashed across the screen at the end. This implied a lack of respect for their own work and professionalism in general, both of which should have been emphasised at the society's first showcase.
In addition to the student-focused narrative, there were several stimulating films with their own unique stories. ‘A Meeting’ was one of these, as a man sits on a bench in St. Andrews the space becomes semi-transformed into the silent film era. I loved how this film payed homage to the beginnings of filmmaking and its presence in our contemporary world, showing a man speaking with another from the 1920s while himself remaining in modern times. ‘The Perfect Story’ surprised both me and the audience with the simply exquisite filming, editing, and images. There were certain shots of West Sands used in the film that were absolutely breathtaking. That being said, the story itself left something to be desired, since the audience was shown a cliche storybook fantasy. It is clear, though, that the story was not the focus, but the producers instead focused on the impressive editing and remarkable landscape. ‘A Pretty Good Time’ brought to the audience another enjoyable story that integrated films themselves, showing a number of infinite realities a man is living through as he attempts to ask out a girl. Some horribly fail, but when films are finally brought into the conversation in a single reality, the pair hit it off.
I left the showcase feeling quite impressed with the films, especially when appreciating the inspirations behind them: the student experience or the films themselves. Though there were some technical difficulties littered throughout the showcase that slightly impeded one’s appreciation of the event, all in all the filmmakers’ society’s showcase has offered us a promising glimpse of their future. If you are at all interested in making films, I highly recommend joining this group of highly committed and imaginative students.