David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

HOMESPUN YARNS GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Last month's Homespun Yarns was the biggest yet with hundreds of guests watching the four films competing for the audience's votes.

Cleverly curated to showcase different skills from the filmmakers, Stitch - and the other companies who support the event - have rapidly established Homespun Yarns as a brilliant get-together which celebrates emerging talent in a really fun way.

After attending this year's show, DAVID editor Jason Stone caught up with Stitch's Leo King and Tim Hardy to ask them for their assessment of this year's contest and their ambition for its future.

This year, aspiring and established directors alike were asked to submit an idea based on a music track - 'Darkest Hour' by Lyves.

The film-makers were free to interpret the brief in any way they wanted and - in a bid to maximise the entertainment on the night - the curating team deliberately chose treatments likely to provide four quite different approaches from the hundred or so treatments which were submitted.


1. 'Darkest Hour' by Lee Thomas





Lee Thomas's tale of a controlling relationship was a decent enough effort by a first-time director but it was the least engaging of the four films. His film used Lyves's song as the soundtrack which gave it a pop promo quality but it was weighed down by its narrative obviousness and - ironically as this competition is organised by an editing company - could have done with being shortened to around half the length.


2. 'Unddrcvjrr Lovyyuurs' by J J Augustavo





J J Augustavo's comic treatment is literally haunting with an examination of grief which has a vein of dark humour running through it. Augustavo makes virtue of necessity by providing his actors with an absurdly daft prop which was a perfect fit for the budget. Rather than being a distraction, the costumes add to the poignancy and intensify the emotional impact.


3. 'Bliss' by Thomas James





The darkest of the four films inspired by 'Darkest Hour' was provided by Thomas James who provided a meditative, violent musing on the nature of grief... and where it can drive us. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered as it follows an obsessed dad's quest for an understanding of his own loss. We don't know exactly how he got there but we certainly gain an insight into his pain, and it proves a deeply affecting glimpse into a damaged human psyche.


4. 'Darkest Hour' by Thomas Ralph





Thomas Ralph's film - which won the vote on the night - is a short examination of life in one of the communities that responded to the rallying cry of the anti-EU campaign and helped bring about BREXIT. Lyves's track is used as a soundbed to which the voices of those who appear in the film have been added. This combination provides an excellent accompaniment to imagery which captures both the desperation and defiance of those who voted for self-harm in June.

The audience at the Ministry of Sound in South London gave all four films a rapturous welcome and the informal nature of the event makes it a hugely welcome addition to the events calendar.

In conversation a couple of weeks after the event, Stitch's Leo King confirmed that providing a varied evening's entertainment is very much part of Homespun Yarns' remit:

"We started off with a hundred-ish treatments that we all had to go through and when we picked the ones we wanted to make, we very much decided we didn't just want four music videos or four similar short films. So we chose partly on the strength of the idea and partly on how they'd work as a collection."

King wasn't surprised that Thomas Ralph's proved to be the most popular on the night. While wisely eschewing the opportunity to identify his own favourite among the four, he feels Ralph's film was "the bookies' favourite."


While it's nice to take your time on a short film, sometimes that's when the over-thinking creeps in.

 ”

King feels that Thomas Ralph's film "followed the trend of the first year where Zak (Razvi) won as his was a documentary piece too... in that set-up, it's an approach that seems to cut through. Because you're not creating a narrative and instead you're reflecting real life, people really seem to attach themselves to it. So I wasn't surprised Thomas's won."



As well as wanting to maintain a neutral stance, King says their involvement in the process makes it hard to favour one film over the others. Though he says that he and the other senior editors at Stitch try to give as much autonomy as possible to the younger editors assigned to each project.

Tim Hardy says that the project's looming deadline tends to concentrate the mind: "While it's nice to take your time on a short film, sometimes that's when the over-thinking creeps in... but, with this, because they were very tight in terms of scheduling that can't really happen."


We chose partly on the strength of the idea and partly on how they'd work as a collection.

 ”

He explains how with 'Bliss' some bad luck interfered with the shooting schedule and the intervention of editor Ben Corfield from Work had proven to be "a lifesaver".

It speaks volumes about the collaborative nature of Homespun Yarns that Hardy feels able to offer such a generous tribute to an editor from a rival company.

Hardy and King are both extraordinarily pleased with the event's progress in just two years and - having already increased the number of films they commission from three to four - it's obviously tempting to continue to increase the scale of it.

The expansion has enabled them to commission work from highly inexperienced directors without risking the overall integrity of Homespun Yarns and, for Tim Hardy, this is "what the event is all about... giving opportunities to young filmmakers".

Stories

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Stories

David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.