In the end, all comes down to…

..money.

Tis a sad fact, but it’s true – you can’t run a film scheme without it. Money for equipment, money to hire venues, money to pay professionals to host masterclasses/workshops, money to cover the cost of flights and accommodation for aforementioned professionals – hell, I’ve not even mentioned the most important expense yet – you gotta have cash for coffee & biscuits!

Until yesterday, the funding we’d been expecting for the past year had yet to materialise. The Isle of Man Arts Council has been continually supportive (we love them lots :)) but the truth is that we were STILL running the scheme from our own limited resources. Yesterday, we finally received a generous sponsorship grant from the scheme-saving folk at Poker Stars Isle of Man, and this will pay for future workshops, (hussah! bring on the training!!) but this money is not to fund the short films themselves.

We have to admit we were extremely disappointed when, after over a year of meetings and attempted communications, we were finally told recently that apparently, the relevant area of Govt couldn’t support the scheme. We are still endeavouring to make direct representations, to find out who could (or should) be supporting Mannin Shorts. We will persevere, as we believe 100% in the passion and dedication of our trainees – their screenplays, their vision, their potential – and in the value of helping to build a community of well trained film makers on an Island that promotes itself as a ‘great place to make movies’.

Our plan was to have finished three shorts by Sept of this year, after having run half a dozen intense weekend workshops on the major areas of filmmaking (Directing, Design, Editing, Producing etc). Although we haven’t had the budgets to produce the shorts, we have held several technical workshops using gear loaned by DAM Productions (which led to our crews being able to cast, produce, shoot and edit short scenes); we have had writers meetings/discussions and worked with 30+ screenplay entrants to help hone their scripts down to what is now our final 6; we have trained Editors in the marvels of Final Cut Pro; we hosted a Film Tent at The Garden Party music festival in conjunction with Future Shorts; we held another Short Film event to open the IOM Arts Council Film Festival 2011; and we assisted in the production of ‘Hide & Seek’.

As mentioned in previous blogs, ‘Hide & Seek’ was one of our finalist 6 scripts. The enthusiasm of the writer (Ady Hall) and his production team led to them raising private funding for MannIN Shorts so that the film could be shot in August of this year. The shoot was fantastic; crewed by MShorts trainees, shadowed by a number of experienced professionals, they are now well underway with their edit and the cuts we have seen are brilliant. It will be a perfect ‘first film’ for the MannIN Shorts scheme and we’re extremely grateful for their hard work (and very very proud of them, awww!)

Now to make another one! 🙂 Our remaining five writers are currently putting together ‘production packs’ so we can find out how far along they are with planning and pre-production on their shorts. Whichever one is most advanced, will be the one we make next…. As soon as the funding is in place.

In the meantime, we will at last be able to hold some more workshops – thanks to Poker Stars. The first will be in Storyboarding (with Guardian contributor/ Chico & Rita illustrator Juan Moore), then two in Directing (‘An Introduction to Directing’ with Lesley Manning from National Film School) followed by a masterclass to be led by an internationally renowned and influential Director (who we cannot name yet, but is very exciting!), and we’ll also have a workshop in Design with Lynda Reiss (of Lynda’s Prop Shop, who worked on films like ‘American Beauty’, ‘Iron Man’ – and most recently supplied materials for ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’).

So, although its been a hard slog to get this far, we are finally making *some* headway. We hope to hear final confirmation about one part of the funding for our shorts before the end of this month. Either way, we’ll keep you posted. Funnily enough, it all sounds rather like the frustrating but ultimately extremely rewarding process of trying to make a film…

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About MannIN Shorts

"MannIN Shorts" is a brand new Isle of Man film initiative set to provide a platform for hopeful filmmakers.  Young or old, local or international it provides a launch pad to develop skills, ideas and actually make films, right here on the Isle of Man.
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