Film of the Month: June Winners – Hope Dickson Leach

Posted July 17th, 2017 by Kakki Meyer

Our Film of the Month judge for June 2017 was Hope Dickson Leach. Leach is a British filmmaker whose films have played at festivals worldwide. Amongst them, Sundance selected thesis film The Dawn Chorus, Silly Girl, produced for NOWNESS’ ‘Define Gender’ series, and Morning Echo, made through Film London’s Pulse Plus scheme. Subsequently, Filmmaker Magazine named Leach as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film,”and her debut feature The Levelling premiered at Toronto International Film Festival to great acclaim. That film recently played theatres in the UK, and is now available on DVD/BluRay from Peccadillo Pictures, and on VOD. Currently, Leach is a co-founder of parent filmmaker advocacy group Raising Films and continues to develop films. You can view some of her work here.

Below are Leach’s insightful thoughts and comments on the top three films from June’s competition.

Inks, Cocks & Rock’n’Roll by Halflife Films

Leach selected Ink, Cocks & Rock’n’Roll as the winner for this month. Leach notes that this film is a “high production value, smart, sexy short doc about a comic artist. A good set of interviews, excellent images and a great score. The false drama at the ending is a strange shift in tone, and you can’t help but wonder if the anarchic approach to the film itself might have been an interesting one to take all the way through, instead of simply tagging it onto the end. That sort of decision is what makes documentaries stand out from simple accounts of their subjects to art forms in their own rights.”

Pip by Phoebe Nightingale and Will Webb

First runner up was Pip, a thought-provoking film by Phoebe Nightingale and Will Web. Leach praises this film noting, “The filmmakers are to be applauded for the beautiful sound design and an incredibly efficient use of limited resources. This poem of a film works with material that is profound and compelling, and yet the film ultimately feels more literary than cinematic. The combination of voice over and illustrative images begin well, but the metaphor isn’t developed any further and ultimately there is no surprise with where it goes, and sadly isn’t as emotionally affecting as it might be. A reminder that even in just 4 minutes we hope to be taken somewhere surprising and allowed to discover our own emotional truths rather than be told someone else’s. I wonder if we had been allowed to see the main character face a challenge we might have truly felt her connection with her mother, rather than hear her tell us?”

At The End Of The Cul-de-Sac by Paul Trillo

Second runner up for June was At The End Of The Cul-de-Sac by Paul Trillo. According to Leach, the “well designed and choreographed drone photography unfortunately means that the voice performances are all ADR and thus stagey and unconvincing, which adds to the familiar cynical characterisation of the suburban population. The surprise redirection in the middle of the story is well placed and turns this into something more ambitious, which is welcome and interesting. However the limitations inherent in the decision to make this a single-shot film mean that we don’t have access into any point of view, which keeps us outside the scope of the story, and prevents us from emotionally accessing the drama.”

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