(Documentarian) “What would you do if you couldn’t express yourself as an artist anymore?” (JMK) “I’d express myself somehow; I’d rearrange the letters in my alphabeti spaghetti!”
(Quote from Film Devour Directors’ choice award winner – JMK – Roll on tomorrow)
AS summer draws to a close with the last week of August, on a cool Monday evening Film Devour returned to the Black Box for the 17th time (24th August). It continues to highlight the fantastic level of burgeoning filmmaking talent present within the local community. The short film festival has become an important event for local directors, in this time of austerity and cuts within the arts sector here; it remains a vital platform to showcase their work. Its ethos remains, If you shoot it, we’ll screen it.
On the night seats were at a premium, as the event continues to be as strongly supported as ever; those lucky enough to secure a seat (and more so a table) were treated to an evening that remains as eclectic and diverse as ever. In total 16 films were shown, ranging from documentaries, comedies, music videos, horrors and more thoughtful short’s that dealt with serious subject-matters. Sadly the Star Wars inspired comedy, Even Droids have Friends, which had been previously announced, couldn’t be shown on the evening due to technical difficulties-but another time perhaps.
Topics raised within some of the short films included such delicate issues like teen-suicide (Forever Freedom), post-traumatic stress (Dog Tag) and even obsessive-compulsive disorder (Stuck); as Devour’s audience continues to mature, so too does the talent of the directors, competently tackling these difficult subject-matters tastefully and respectfully.
Personal highlights from the evening included Jonny Morgan’s short feature Forever Freedom, which dealt with a teenage girl pondering suicide after a life that hadn’t been kind to her; it featured some amazing aerial shots of the light-keeper’s house at Blackhead in Co Down, the likes of which I personally haven’t seen at Devour before.
I also found myself very moved by Aaron McAuley’s film Stay, which dealt with a dog-owner coming to terms with the death of his beloved pet- I’m a dog-owner myself and having gone through a similar experience, I could easily relate to the film’s subject-matter. I also want to give a shout out to Caroline Grace-Cassidy’s punchy comedy Love at First Light, a perfectly executed comedy one-liner with a punch-line that got one of the loudest laughs of the evening.
Alec Liddle’s tongue-twistingly titled feature, The Tremendous Silence of Mid-July, which took home the runner-up prize within the audience choice award category, was also a personal highlight. The story of a brief summer flirtation between two young teenagers had that real ‘perfect summer’ vibe to it; surely reminding many of those in the audience of those all to brief, but no less memorable summer romances from their younger years.
Liddle’s film was beaten to the audience’s top prize by Devour regular Aidan Largey, whose film Same Again closed proceedings. Largey has a real knack for writing fantastically snappy dialogue, so it’s no surprise he took home the audience’s choice award. He’s maturing into a really talented young filmmaker and an even better screenwriter- his progress can be seen throughout many of the films showcased at Devour over the years and his improvement is a real testament to its importance.
First time director Cillean Campbell, took home the coveted Directors’ Choice Award for his documentary JMK – Roll on tomorrow , an award all the more prestigious since it’s only decided by your fellow directors on the night. The film which documented the work of Prolific Irish street artist Jonny McKerr, better known as JMK, gave viewers a real insight into the psyche of the talented artist, along with showing a new piece taking shape through the fantastic use of a time-lapse video.
Devour’s organizer Brian Mullholland closed proceedings by thanking those who’d stayed to the end for their continued support of local talent and even took the time to thank local illustrator Mark Reihill for his stylish new illustration, which marks a major rebranding for the festival. He also announced that submissions were already open for the next Film Devour, which would take place in late October/Early November.