Saturday, 13 August 2011

Shepton Digi Fest - the South West Showcase of New Film, Photography & Performance

Article via Shepton Mallet People

Shepton Digi Fest -  the South West Showcase of New Film, Photography & Performance is drawing ever nearer, so it's a really good time for anyone who has had a passing thought about entering the competitions or attending a workshop to start making or to get booking. The deadline for the competition aspect of the festival is Friday 16th September. 
This means any would-be entrants have the next few weeks to do something incredible in one of the competition categories, which are:
  • Short fiction film under 8 minutes
  • Short non-fiction film under 8 minutes
  • Short animation under 8 minutes
  • Three stills of Digital Photography/Art
  • Glastonbury FM Short Audio Broadcast Competition- 10 to 15 minutes
  • Golden Fawn 48 Hour Film Challenge - make a short film in 48 hours from scripting to  delivery
In addition to the opportunity to showcase your work there are some excellent workshops.  You might want to have a go at animating history through a 3 day workshop which takes you from a historical guided tour of Shepton Mallet with Alan Stone, to making an animated film using found materials and self-made models.  All this is supported by previous festival winner Howard Vause, who is also a community media arts officer and Frome's Merlin Theatre digital arts practitioner.
Whether you are an old hand wanting to get involved, find inspiration and to share ideas, or you want to do something completely new, this is an excellent opportunity to do so.  Booking is essential for all workshops so get over to the website, choose a workshop, book a day off if you have to and prepare to broaden your creative horizons.

Old and young:
Anyone who attended last years showcase will have seen some impressive work from entrants of all ages.  Peter Douglass' - 462nd Battalion, for example, was a stop-motion animation which told a story using lego models and rather than using the high-end equipment many insist they 'need' to make great art, this was put together using a web-cam and a laptop. This was proof, if needed, that good ideas and creativity can shine through, regardless of the resolution.
The competition breaks entrants into three categories:
  • Under 12
  • 12-18
  • 18+
Facilitating great ideas:
As an aging Digital Artist myself, I can vouch for the envy that an old timer can feel when looking at the massive potential of the very simplest of electronic devices that reside in the palms of the young.  While desperately avoiding the words 'in my day', I recall modifying electronic bits and pieces to make the noises I couldn't afford the proper equipment to make.  Lots of broken things, small electric shocks and stern looks from my parents later, I would occasionally have something which could be useful.  
In this day and age, a free app on an iPod can provide you with sounds which would have cost thousands to create in the 1980's.  Cue bitterness?  Well, no actually.  If I had a choice back then I would have preferred to have experienced less friction along the path between my aspirational musical ideas and the often poor resemblance that the finished product had to them.  Ok, I gained some interesting skills (soldering, recovering from low amperage electric shocks, apologizing to my parents, etc.) but these did little for me creatively.  
People of all ages now have immense technical power within their grasp.  As Peter Douglass proved, it doesn't have to be the best, most 'pro' or up-to-date equipment.  A good idea and the commitment to see it through is all you need beyond the entry level skills, which most 8 year olds will willingly teach their parents, if asked nicely.  
Shepton Mallet Digital Arts Festival is an event which I wholeheartedly champion on a personal level, and applaud partners such as Shepton Mallet Town Council, Shepton 21, Aardman, Jump Cuts, Little Big Bang et al for having the vision to see the cultural, creative and social benefits it offers to a community such as ours.

2011 Festival Judges

David Sproxton

David is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman. Together with co-founder Peter Lord, he has overseen the development of the company from a two-man partnership to one of the pre-eminent animation houses in the industry. David has served as a producer, director or cinematographer on a number of animated projects at Aardman.David co-produced Aardman’s first feature film Chicken Run (2000), the Wallace and Gromit feature The Curse of the Wererabbit (2005), and the CGI feature Flushed Away (2006), made in association with DreamWorks.

David is currently involved in the production of ‘Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists’ and ‘Arthur Christmas’, two feature films being produced in association with Sony Pictures.  He is also involved in the many TV projects the studio is producing including ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and ‘Timmy Time’.”

Laura Marshall

In 1990 with husband Harry Marshall, Laura moved to Bristol and they founded Icon Films.

Together with managing Icon Films, Laura also Executive Produces much of Icon’s output. .

Laura was also appointed Chair of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Trust in 2010 and sits on the Management Committee of Wildscreen, the world's largest festival of moving images from the natural world.

Jayne Chard

Producer/Director Jayne Chard was nominated for a BAFTA for her moving portrayal of women with HIV and AIDS for Channel Four and has five further awards for documentaries as well as the Royal Shakespeare Buzz Goodbody Award for theatre directing.

Jayne has produced and directed documentaries for all the major broadcasters and is also an accomplished commercials and drama director. Her drama credits include Hollyoaks, Grange Hill and Brookside.

Dominic Weston

Dominic Weston graduated in Drama from Exeter University and ever since has been working in the television industry. Starting out as a Tape Op and progressing through the ranks to be a freelance Producer, Director and Writer with a penchant for short films.

Dominic has also been closely involved with Wildscreen, the international Wildlife Film Festival, for more than 8 years and produced the Panda Awards Ceremony for the last three festivals.

Currently working at Icon Films in Development, Dominic Series Produced three seasons of Icon Films VT shorts for BBC 1’s “The One Show”.

Peter Netley

Peter Netley has had a long and distinguished career in the world of Television Design and Photography, including working for the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1980 he took up a post as head of the Graphic Design Department for the BBC in Bristol, which provided creative design and animation services to the Natural History Unit and the Television Features' department.

Peter left the BBC in 1990, and along with two other designers set up award winning Bristol-based  4:2:2 Videographics. In 2001, Peter left the world of television design, to concentrate on his other passion, photography.

In 2004, he held a three week one-man show entitled 'Signs of Life' at the prestigious OXO Gallery on London's South Bank. Since then he has regularly exhibited in the West Country, his latest exhibition at the Glass Room in Bristol's Colston Hall is entitled 'Chasing Colour' and is based on his recently published ‘Blurb’ book featuring images from Central America.

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