Entertainment, Manchester, Review

MSA Film Festival: Screening Two

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By Evelyn Sweeney

The Manchester School of Art showed it’s true talent last week at the MSA Film Festival shown at Manchester’s own independent cinema, HOME. Showing what is bound to be the start of many filmmakers successful careers, the second programme of the evening included ten independent films; The Keeper, Lizzie’s Law, Molly and Lexi’s Multiverse Odyssey, I am Flesh, The Last Word, Verbalise, Ever After, Time For Tea, Gaia and The Fleece, the Tie and Clarke.

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The Keeper
The Keeper begins the screening as it focuses around an elderly man, Alfred, who imagines stories as a method of dealing with stress for the passing of, what we can only assume is a friend or family member. Directed by Antony Morris, it’s a short film that gives the audience very little in terms of structure which opens up the narrative for the audience to interpret. Combined with James Johnson’s outstanding visuals, a captivating soundtrack and impressive acting, it certainly set the bar high as it showcased the school’s raw talent.

Lizzie’s Law
Directed by Sophie Ibbotson, Lizzie’s Law covers the difficult subject of sexual assault from an interesting perspective that isn’t often looked into. It provides an outsiders look into the events that unfolded and shows how Lizzie exacts her own justice despite the victim not wanting to prosecute. It’s a film that can make the audience feel uneasy at times but this is very clearly the intention of the film and allows the viewer to question the crime and very real justice system that the film portrays.


Molly and Lexi’s Multiverse Odyssey
This fun filled short follows Molly the Cat and Lexi the Dog as they’re doing their basic chores before they’re suddenly sucked into a different dimension and are suddenly under the control of higher beings. Although it focuses on the themes of chaos, animator and writer Matthew Richardson still leaves room for humorous moments, getting quite a few laughs out of the audience. Paired with the adorable origami style and Zac Gardiner’s sound design, the whole viewing was a delightful watch.


I am Flesh
Out of the 10 shorts, I found that I am Flesh had the most captivating narrative. Directed by Jack Silverwood, the Sci-Fi follows the story of a human clone, Leika. It questions how far humanity will go and does so incredibly on such a small budget, with its fantastic sets and props looking incredibly realistic. Receiving awards for Best Screenplay, Best Camera Operation and Best Sound, it’s safe to say that the awards were definitely deserved.

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The Last Word
The Last Word is a psychological drama following a couple as they deal with the issues involved in a modern relationship. Alex Moore took the opportunity to truly develop a narrative by focussing on the characters flaws more so than their actions, providing the audience with more a greater understanding of the plot. Callum Kilgarriff’s sound design was also a noteworthy aspect of the film.

Directed by Danny Brown, Verbalize follows the story of John as he awakens in a dark living room, unaware of why he is there. His fragmented memories and surroundings lead him to believe that he is either stuck in a virtual reality or experiencing an unusual LSD trip. Supported by a man known as “The Overseer”, John must figure out why he is trapped in this room and how he can escape. It’s an interesting idea as it continues to surprise and entice the audience throughout. Director of Photography, Toby Garside fuels the film with stunning camera work supported by the setting and the rest of the crew’s great work.

Ever After
This sweet tale of a strained relationship between a mother and daughter. as they learn to understand each other. We follow Ruby after the recent passing of her Father as she recounts the stories he would read to her. The realistic family drama is directed by Sophie Ibbotson and explores the themes that no is purely good or evil like in the fairytales, everyone has a bit of both in them.


Time for Tea
The surrealist short film, Time for Tea is directed by Toby Garside. The audience finds Eleanor as finds herself trapped in a strange place surrounded by a bunch of bizarre characters. With a great twist, the audience witnesses her attempt to escape.  With fantastic acting, costumes, lighting and settings, it’s an incredibly theatrical piece. Although it is a film centred around madness, it highlights many critical social issues, with the Capitalist and Communist pigs being a key highlight.

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Joel Porter’s combination of spoken word and wonderful visuals aim to impact the audience and encourage them to consider the four elements and the effect mankind has on the planet. I absolutely loved this film, from the cinematography to the editing to the sound. The film itself was nominated for 8 awards and won 3 (Alumni Award, Best Cinematography and Best Editing) and it’s clear to see why. If this is what we can expect from Porter’s career then it’s clear he’s going to go far.

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The Fleece, the Tie and Clarke
Jordan Simpson’s The Fleece, The Tie and Clarke where two men are conducting an interview with an impatient and ruthless barista. The acting in this short is spectacular, the script is intense and Porter’sskilfull cinematography shines through again. The structure and pace of this film shines through as it conveys a gripping tale in such a short amount of time, a skill that can be difficult to achieve.

You can read the reviews from the first screening of the MSA Film Festival here.

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