So, yesterday I spent the afternoon in the cinema watching 18 movies. Jealous, right? I was lucky enough to be part of the judging panel for the Walthamstow International Film Festival and we were watching the shortlisted works in order to hand out some prizes. It’s a fun job, and a great local festival that I am chuffed to be a tiny part of. All the entries are around five minutes or less, and while the festival encourages local film-makers, particularly young people, it is open to all, and this year we saw films from as far away as Australia, Argentina and Hong Kong. Our overall winner was the fantastically moving, and intriguing, Speed by Jessica Bishop – a film that interrogates the grieving process by counterpointing family photos and voices. A worthy winner indeed.
In fact I was on the panel last year too, but this year something was subtly different … 2015 saw the introduction of a new category, very dear to my heart: a silent strand. Truth be told, there were strong silents in many of the categories (I was very taken by the Iranian film It Hit Upon the Roof), which may well prove something I have long suspected, that short films are particularly well suited to the silent treatment. We chose a winner in each category, so I would like to share with you the winning silent film. Wipeout, by London-based director Paul Murphy, is a charming comedy-romance about a clean freak who takes up jogging to get closer to a beautiful woman he sees running by. It made us laugh, and smile at the outright cuteness of its leading man. It also makes great use of a fantastic location – the Walthamstow marshes in the Lea Valley.
According to Wipeout’s Vimeo page, the film was inspired by Harold Lloyd and Woody Allen, and you can tell. The film’s stars are comedy duo Haiste and Lawrence, and it was scripted by singer and screenwriter Daisy Martey. Wipeout was made in just seven days as part of the Aarhus short film challenge, which I’d say is pretty impressive.
I see quite a few modern silent shorts that take a similar approach to this: geeky guy catches the eye of a pretty girl and haplessly attempts to court her. But Wipeout has a freshness and a lightness of touch that really made it stand out for me.
Enjoy! We did, and it even made this couch potato itch to get her running shoes out.
- You can watch more of the films from the Walthamstow International Film Festival at Vestry House, E17 on Sunday 7 June 2015 from 12pm-5pm