Payload (2011) is a character-driven short genre film set in a future Australia, written and directed by young film-maker Stuart Willis as his masters thesis project at Melbourne’s VCA School of Film and Television. A family struggle to survive in a dystopian world, scavenging a living from day-to-day in the shadow of a space elevator that rises skywards, tempting them with freedom from their bleak existence. The story centres on how circumstance drives a boy to sacrifice everything in order to save what’s left of his family. The film features a score from Australian composer David Barber who, as well as being a composer for film and television in his own right, has also helped prepare the score for the animated feature Happy Feet Two and has worked with fellow Australian composer Christopher Gordon.
The Trench is a short film made in 2014 by a group of final year students studying Film Production at the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and TV. The film, an adaptation of a theatre production based very loosely upon the story of William Hackett, the only Tunneller in the First World War to win the Victoria Cross. In the Alex Campbell-directed fantasy film, Herbert digs tunnels under no-man’s land to lay explosive charges. When an enemy mine collapses the tunnel he is separated from his fellow tunneller and sets off on a journey (both physical and emotional) where the lines between reality and fantasy blur. He’s accompanied by The Guide, a disfigured, unearthly creature who sets him three challenges where success or failure with decide his fate. [Read more…]
So-called “red rain”( or “blood rain”) has been recorded for hundreds of years and explanations for this phenomenon have recently included red dust being suspended in rain water or due to the presence of micro-organisms such as algae. The region of Kerala, India experienced a red rain event in 2001 but it was not until 2006 that this phenomenon received widespread media coverage when scientists suggested that the coloured particles could be cells of extra-terrestrial origin. Indian director Rahul Sadasivan’s 2013 debut film Red Rain contemplates this more sensational explanation, having a young researcher (who has personal issues to sort out – don’t they all!) and friends traipsing around a dark forest trying to establish the cause of a more recent red rain event (but this time with eye-witness accounts white lights in the sky and strange creatures). [Read more…]
An independent film-maker is hired to shoot a promotional video in an abandoned mansion. But what he actually wants to do is to use the eerie location in a key scene for his no-budget, English language slasher-horror movie. To get the best performances from his actors he puts them in realistic situations but the line between fact and fiction begins to blur for everyone when we realise that there’s a serial killer loose within the house. This is the story to Italian director Federico Greco’s horror-comedy short film, Nuit Americhèn. Veteran Italian composer Angelo Talocci (whose music for thriller Report 51 featured in a release from MovieScore Media earlier this year) provides appropriately eclectic music for a score that turn out to be quite a little gem. [Read more…]
I am of a certain age that I remember as a child avidly watching at TV show called “Screen Test”, a children’s quiz show about films. Part of the format was a young film-makers’ competition where viewers were invited to submit their homemade movies to be judged by a panel of experts (apparently Jan Pinkava, credited as a co-director on the Oscar-winning Pixar films Geri’s Game and Ratatouille, won the competition in 1980). What I remember most about these animations was that the film-makers would sometimes use music clips from some of my favourite movie soundtracks. Today, technology availability is such that amateur animators can call upon budding composers to write original music rather than “adopt” previously-written music. Watching Polish directors Sebastian Kwidziński and Marcin Roszczyniała’s stop-motion animated short film, The Factory (Fabryka), reminds me somewhat of these Screen Test films, made by numerous passionately enthusiastic animators. [Read more…]
Red Krokodil is a film telling the story of the deteriorating existence of a drug addict living in a post-nuclear city. The addict (Brock Madson) is addicted to the morphine-derivative Krokodil and the film follows his hallucinatory decline and physical deterioration. Krokodil, a street name for the morphine derivative desomorphine, is a relatively easy drug to manufacture but is severely toxic because little is done to remove the byproducts and leftover chemicals used for its synthesis (e.g., phosphorus, hydrochloric acid, paint thinners, etc.). The presence of these toxic chemicals means that users can suffer severe tissue damage and breakdown and Italian director Domiziano Cristopharo has used this physical disintegration as a metaphor for Madson and society’s descent into ruin. [Read more…]
Chine: République Populaire de la Corruption is a one-hour French investigative documentary made by Anne Loussouarn that examines the continuing spectre of state-wide corruption that’s hidden within the country’s recent and significant economic rise. Despite the launch of a high-profile anti-corruption campaign by China’s new leaders – illustrated most by the spectacular downfall of Chinese politician Bo Xilai – Loussouarn’s film uncovers persistent governmental corruption and follows the efforts of local activists to fight against the abuses experienced by the ordinary citizen. Chine: République Populaire de la Corruption (Chine) is typical of many investigative documentaries: plenty of sequences of clandestine filming of dubious meetings, footage of car journeys through city streets and face-to-face interviews with various interested parties. Much of the details of the film were lost on me – my understanding of French is too limited for me to follow much of what was said in the original copy of the film I viewed for this review – but one facet of the documentary I could follow was the score, written by prolific French composer Maximilien Mathevon. [Read more…]