A jam-packed year of mini moviemaking!

As we wave a wistful goodbye to 2012, and say a hearty hello to 2013, we’ve been reflecting on the past 12months and what we’ve been up to in the MShorts camp.

Although we remained unfunded as a training scheme, that didn’t stop us from holding a whole load of great workshops, producing several fab short films and even from holding our first ever Film Festival! It wasn’t what you would call ‘easy’… but was nonetheless achieved – with the help of DAM Productions and their various helpful filmmaker friends from both the Isle of Man and further afield, and with support from the ever encouraging Isle of Man Arts Council. As with most no-to-low-budget films, the struggles along the way only made it all the more satisfying when we saw the fruits of our collective labours.

We sound a bit like a party political broadcast! We’ll stop that now, promise 🙂

The lidl bit of money we had left in the PokerStars pot at the start of the year meant we were able to hold workshops in Scriptwriting (with Danny Stack), Producing on a Budget (with Danny Lacey), Storyboarding (with Juan Moore), and Directing (with Lesley Manning). All were very well attended and extremely useful. Later in the year, as part of the MannIN Shorts Isle of Man Film Festival (funded by the Arts Council), we also held a one day workshop with TV screenwriter and creator of Sky One’s ‘Trollied’, Anne Marie O’Connor, and an Acting & Directing workshop with Lee Boardman and Raff Degruttola.

To round off the year, Dave Armstrong and John Craine (who first worked together in 2010 on short film ‘Ghostgirl‘) held the first in what will be a series of workshops about the art of Cinematography.

In 2013, we hope to be able to hold workshops in Sound Recording and Sound Design, Editing, various Post Production techniques and much more.

We also held some workshops with a difference… for the under 18s! We were invited to run the 2012 IOM Arts Development Summer Film School over two weeks in August, and taught the students everything from how to make a prop weapon, to how create convincing fake injuries. And when we weren’t doing gruesome stuff, there was practical filmmaking on the side too 😉 Every pupil was involved in making their own short film, all of which were shown on the final day at a special public premiere.

Three more of our ‘finalist’ short films were produced in 2012 – “I Do” (wr. Zoe Guilford), “Closet” (wr. John Craine) and “Solace in Wicca” (wr. Nathan Russell-Raby / Andy North). All were produced entirely on Island, with a good mix of professional and trainee crew members and were only possible with the fantastic support of the Isle of Man Arts Council, Manx Heritage Foundation/CinemaNX (for ‘Solace in Wicca’) and the people of the Island, who gave their time, their skills, their vehicles – and even their homes!

Both “I Do” and “Hide & Seek” (the first film to be made within the scheme, in 2011), received their first public screenings at the 2012 Film Festival, with the audience also being treated to sneak previews of ‘Closet’ and ‘Solace’. All were extremely well received, and each with fabulous posters designed by Bruno Cavellec, and will be submitted to the international festival circuit in the New Year.

Also in 2012, our crews produced their ‘Scene Stealer Challenge‘ shorts – scenes from ‘The Graduate’ and ‘The Shining’, which they had to faithfully reproduce in as much details as possible in order to learn about every aspect of the filmmaking process, from acting to design to lighting to composition to… you get the picture! The results were incredible, and were shown to a panel of industry experts at the: –

We held the inaugural MShorts Film Festival in August, opening with the Isle of Man Film Q&A Screening of ‘The Heart of Me’ with Producer Martin Pope and writer Lucinda Coxon; workshops throughout the weekend; An Evening with the Independents (with Phil Hawkins, Danny Lacey, Raff Degruttola and Lee Boardman previewing and discussing their work); and closing with our MannIN Shorts night, with the premieres of Manx Made films, the Scene Stealer Challenge Competition and more. It was a huge success, and we already have major plans for 2013, so mark September 13th to 15th in your diaries!

ALSO IN 2012…
Our MShorts trained crews and advisors/supporters were busy on various additional film projects over the year: short films ‘A Dashed Inconvenience’ by Ady Hall; ‘No Kissing’ by John Craine and Will Sutton; ‘Espresso‘ by Christopher Whitlow and most recently ‘Amy’s Choice’ by Bev Lawley, Dave Armstrong and John Craine. More on all of those in 2013.

Also, long time MShorts supporter and filmmaker Emily Cook started her ‘Film Focus with Reel Vision’ series on Manx Radio. Part of Ashlea Tracey’s Saturday evening programme, Emily has already interviewed Bev Lawley of Ex Isle Casting, Danny Lacey, John Craine, and both Dave and Christy (MShorts founders) and has plans for plenty more programmes that will highlight the excitement of filmmaking on the tiny Isle, so be sure to tune in next year!

And so, to 2013!
As we weren’t able to secure the funding we needed to run the scheme the way we had envisaged, we sadly won’t be able to fund any film projects in the coming year. But that isn’t to stop filmmakers going after any available funding themselves, of course! And  with all of the training we’ve been fortunate to be able to offer this past two years, we’re hoping there will be plenty of projects on the cards.

For us, we have the continuation of the Film Festival, a number of proposed Film Schools for the under 18s, and plans for various new workshops as per above. So watch this space in 2013 for plenty more mini-film excitement on Mann!


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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