Our featured project this week is Blueprint: Film Foundation’s Autumn Term of filmmaking courses at Hoxton Hall. We provide free filmmaking courses to disadvantaged young people, giving them the opportunity to gain new skills and explore creative ideas. In the past we’ve helped them to create a variety of films including a ghost story and a music video. This term, we gave more of an overview, creating three shorter films that explored the breadth of film possibilities.
The first film we made used documentary techniques and monologues to create a narrative based on multiple true stories. Our participants took it in turns to tell stories to camera; this could be anything, but had to be true. One student recalled his first day at school, another related the soap opera-like drama of his friend’s relationship, while another described getting lost in a supermarket as a small child. We found that although these events really happened, in telling them they became dramatic, with a narrative structure and a natural dramatic arc. Each young person was given the opportunity to work with the tech, rotating form using the camera, operating the boom and calling the shots.
For our second film, participants decided to use social media to tell a story of mystery and intrigue. This was tricky to film, as timing the messages is a lot harder than it looks!
Our third and final film was the one that participants chose to screen at the end of term event. This is the chicken cult film we’ve been talking about on this blog for the last few weeks!
First of all, we examined experimental cinema and the unusual techniques that can be used. We discussed how experimental film, similar to cabaret, subverts narrative expectations in order to reflect the subversion of societal expectations that often forms the topic. Experimental film also provides the freedom to think outside the box without the restraints of conventional narrative form. In this way, it is an excellent genre for young filmmakers as it allows them to literally experiment without the fear of “not making sense”.
For this film, we opened up our age limit and welcomed some younger participants to the project. They came up with some great ideas for the film and although shooting took a few weeks, they all worked with efficiency and enthusiasm.
At the screening, we were slightly nervous, as the film had turned out both comedic and weird. We didn’t know how the audience would react. However it seems the young people had pitched it just right! Our audience of their peers loved it and were extremely enthusiastic about the film.
If you missed it last week, here is the final film, “Free Range”: