Thinking of applying to STOP PLAY RECORD, our filmmaking programme for young Londoners? Get inspired by these five very different examples of short films. These films were made as part of Random Acts, a short form arts strand on Channel 4, which seeks to present television as art rather than television about art. It enables both established artists and emerging talent to create their own work. Films made as part of STOP PLAY RECORD have the chance to be included as part of Random Acts. Apply for STOP PLAY RECORD before midnight on 28 March.
From a surreal animation to a documentary-poem on a fading holiday resort, these five videos reveal the diversity and creativity of Random Acts films. Definitions of artists’ film are hard to pin down; as these films show, there are many different ways in which it might be realised.
If these films have anything in common, it is perhaps their playful and imaginative probing of the boundaries and conventions of film as a medium. The filmmakers have enjoyed the freedom to experiment visually and find new forms of expression to tell their stories.
Sam Blair and Edward Edwards’ Waltz: The Story of a Fading Seaside Town was filmed in the Northern Welsh town of Towyn, a holiday resort that has seen better days. With its poetic narration and ghostly, slow-motion monochrome images of the sea, spinning fairground rides and silent inhabitants, it offers an evocative portrait of a dying place, extending the possibilities for documentary filmmaking in the process.
The Misfortunes of Spatula Head is a stop-motion film which tells the tale of a boy who irons his head into the shape of a spatula with inevitably unhappy consequences. Through a humorously deadpan narration and imaginative animation, the film conjures up a surreal world of spatulas and social ostracization.
Steven Claydon’s Grid & Spike takes a far more abstract approach. Playing with ideas of display and replication, the film’s subject is a portrait bust, passing mysteriously through a window in a black and white grid which flickers in and out of form like a television test card.
Produced by Dazed Digital and directed by Ninian Doff, Cool Unicorn Bruv initially seems to be a traditional drama, set in the familiar environment of a London street. And then the unicorn appears. With it, our expectations about the film’s form are quickly destroyed, as is one character's attempt to sell his bike. Who'd choose a bike when you could have a unicorn?
Taking another form, Inertia experiments with dance to explore internal emotional states. Produced by Ballet Boyz, this intense film is the result of a collaboration between artists, performers, choreographers and filmmakers, demonstrating how bringing together these art forms can create an engaging and expressive work.
STOP PLAY RECORD is a new opportunity for creative young people and film-makers aged 16-24 living in London. It's open to anyone interested in making experimental short films and being introduced to a range of professionals from different creative sectors who work with the moving image.
The deadline for 2016 applications is midnight, 28 March. Apply now.
Text by Maya Caspari