My introduction to the festival was on the Friday for Barry Ryan’s reflective talk on the future of filmmaking, with an emphasis on Warp Films for which Ryan is Head of Production. Warp Films, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year is significant in its dedication for lovingly making films of calibre.
With several years having past since I last saw Chris Cunningham’s ‘Rubber Johnny’ it was a disturbed treat to watch again with that heightened sense of anxiety and suspense that he thrillingly creates.
Cunningham is amongst one of the many recognisable names working with Warp Films, including Chris Morris, Paddy Considine, Paul Fraser, Julian Barratt, Dan Jemmett, Jake and Dinos Chapman, a selection of whose shorts were collectively screened on the Saturday evening.
Notably, Ryan, within his pragmatic and refreshingly radical presentation, suggested that when faced with such high university tuition fees, budding filmmakers alternatively take a risk by buying the kit and “GO MAKE GOOD FILMS!”.
Ryan spoke at length on living in a post-piracy world and the democratization of technology. His words echoed from the screen when I was introduced to the festival by Pieter Greenen’s “Nocturne #2”, a short recorded with a mobile phone on the streets of Tehran during Spring 2011.
Whilst “Nocturne #2” expansively resonated with an eerie disquiet, the proceeding film, “Doran” (Frances Odim-Loughln), waded into an oblique catalogue of poetic snapshots. With an emphasis here on ‘lonesome’ storytelling “The High Mountain” (Simon Clode) intensified the screening with a disturbing depiction of camaraderie that extended to aiding cheating death, with the purpose of refining the senses on resuscitation.
The impact of suicide on Roma D’Arrietta in the sparingly arranged “Moeder” made for harrowing viewing while “Dylan’s Room” (Layke Anderson) stated: “I don’t think there’s anything more dangerous than a mother”.
Conversely, the few thrillers I caught were hackneyed, nevertheless casually entertaining. Chilling and suffocating, however, was “No More Shall We Part” (Shaun Hughes), rapturous in its depiction of despair and necrophilia.
“Beef” was piping hot, literally, in Oliver Dürr’s Experimental and metaphorical film capturing the laboriousness, finesse and precision required to cook a steak in 20 minutes, the inference being that triumph will be accomplished through a joint effort.
The idea of the muse, at times elegant and refined or stifled and restless, was again evoked in “La Signora”, particularly memorable for its impeccable score. The scope between dominant themes of collectivity and isolation was broadened in Hondatza Fraga’s “Mars was a Place”, a postcard-sized narrative led film punctuated with accounts of two friends’ respective universe.
Personally my universe was finally sated on Sunday afternoon, concluded by Yorkshire Shorts’ “Seasons”, a dazzling amalgam of familiar Yorkshire sights from days gone by, presented by Yorkshire Film Archive.
8 to 11 November, York www.asff.co.uk