Neccessity is the mother of invention. When Derry Shillitto and his fellow film-makers felt there was a need for a platform for independent shorts in Nottingham, they created their own festival. New Wave Short Film Fest kicks off on Sat 20th December at the Broadway Cinema Nottingham. I asked Derry a bit about his background and how a group of film-makers came up with a festival, and what audiences can expect at the screenings.
What’s your background, and why did you set up NWSF?
I recently graduated from University where I studied Media Tech and realised that life after school is hard! To get your work noticed you don’t only need talent but you need money, you need support and people backing your film. My fellow film making friends and I were not getting the provision we needed, so we took it upon ourselves to help supply that to other film makers! New Wave Short Film is here to help get film makers work on the big screen and to help them form connections with other film makers in the area. NWSF is something that I and my friends at University needed 3 years ago and now we have created it ourselves.
You seem like a very close knit group of film-makers – how does that feed into what you do? who inspires you?
We are indeed close friends and we share the same passion for film making. We have a great time organising these events, however stressful they may be. It’s great working with such an enthusiastic and passionate team because it really shows at the events. The audience have a great time as do we.
We want to meet the local film makers, we want to talk to them and find out more about their work. To promote yourself you must be connected in all different kinds of places, the aspiration in the future is for NWSF to become ‘The Hub’ of low budget short film making in the East Midlands. Shane Meadows did a similar thing back in the day with Six of the Best festival. He would screen six short films (most of which he made) a couple of times a year. Meadows is now considered one of the best British film makers.
What do you make of the independent film scene in Nottingham? In particular, how easy is it to find venues for short film?
I think Nottingham is very good for independent film makers that cannot afford to live in London. With the growth of the creative quarter and Confetti Media Group there is a lot more film making activity happening in the city. That is why events like NWSF festival exist, to provide an outlet for these aspiring film makers. Broadway Cinema is a great place for independent film making, they embrace films that a lot of other cinemas would not. However it is hard and costly to hire venues to screen your own work. There is Screen 22 which is a cosy cinema that can be hired for private screenings but only seats 22 people. If you want to show your film on a big screen you want hundreds of people to see it! It is hard for a short film maker to get their work noticed without the help of others. We hope to change that and work with the film makers in Nottingham and provide quarterly exhibitions of their work.
What films are featuring in the NWSF event? Do you have a particular curatorial focus?
When we select our films for the exhibition we like to get a diverse selection. We normally go for 2 drama, 2 comedy, 1 doc and 1 sci-fi 1 other but do not hold ourselves to this always as some films are just too good not to be shown. This December we have 7 short films to present that are all great in their own ways. We have Love & Other Chairs which is a Charlie Kaufman-esque style film about how one man must maintain a relationship with his girlfriend… who has turned into a wooden chair. The films is directed by Christopher Bevan who has had success at Southampton International film festival.
Amongst those we also have The Sad Clinic, which is a short film directed by Stuart McDonald. This stylistic and gritty short explores revolutionary treatment for a man with extreme depression. We also have Epoch and Gary The Rapper vs Stefan Blix the latter tells a story of a has been producer working on a rap track with a never has been middle aged rapper played by real life rapper ScorZayzee. The former Epoch tells the story of a young man who uses time travel to help people in need. Our final two short films are The Grand and Jump. The Grand- “The Grand is a smart and energised story about the money-go-round of debt repayment. Driven by strong performances and atmospherically set entirely at night, it has an aching sense of loneliness and sadness within the city – without letting the cliches of the gangster genre it obviously comes from overwhelm it.” David MacKenzie (Dir. Starred Up, Hallam Foe).
What are your plans in the new year?
Next year we plan to hold exhibitions in Sheffield, Leicester, Birmingham and Nottingham so we have a busy year ahead of us. We will be continuing our work with O2 Think Big and hopefully the receive more funding for our festival which will help us expand our company.
Derry and co present NEW WAVE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL on Saturday 20th December from 10am at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham