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Film of the Month for March 2016

Judge
Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins is a prolific critic, programmer, filmmaker, and self-described ‘wanderer,’ known best for his 15 hour More4 film history saga The Story of Film: An Odyssey and youth-focused follow up A Story of Children & Film. In the ‘90s Cousins programmed the Edinburgh Film Festival, carried a 35 tonne portable cinema across Scotland with Tilda Swinton. co-founded children’s cinema charity The 8 ½ Foundation and hosted the BBC film series Moviedrome and Scene By Scene, amongst other activities. In recent years, he has directed a number of features: the D.H Lawrence inspired travelogue 6 Desires, experimental Albanian sojourn Here Be Dragons and city-symphony I Am Belfast, which sees release in the UK in April.

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Winner

Classical and moving. Its camera work is much more precise than is usual for a film like this, and its themes - dedication, solitude and an almost zen-like approach to life - are profound. I will remember it. It shows how cinema can take us deep into the life of a person and, so, I think it is the best film.

- Mark Cousins
Shortlisted

The devil is in the detail. The great filmmaker Eisenstein said that a director should move an audience's eyes around the frame. This film does this. It is relevant and unsettling, and has great sound design, too.

- Mark Cousins
Shortlisted

Spare and beautiful, and turns, exquisitely, into something more disturbing. Rob Savage really knows how to tell his story, and give us images of some power.

- Mark Cousins

Film of the Month for February 2016

Judge
​Pegah Farahmand

Pegah Farahmand is the Editor for Channel 4’s Random Acts, their dedicated arts strand for innovative and creative short film commissions. Before joining C4, she spent 10 years at VICE, working with filmmaking talent such as Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer and Sally Potter, and overseeing the content from brand partnerships including Google, Ford and Nike. We’re glad to have one of the short film industry’s most unique influencers on board, and our 3 finalists will receive a meeting with Pegah and Random Acts this month.

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Winner

I think it's an incredibly compelling film, the tension between the main protagonists is almost painful and uncomfortable to watch - can't believe they were street cast. Their acting is so natural.

- ​Pegah Farahmand
Shortlisted

A really simple film that tells us a lot with very little, Charity's character has depth and is played brilliantly by Charlotte Beaumont. There storyline feels really authentic and is really elevated by its flawless cinematography.

- ​Pegah Farahmand
Shortlisted

Really interesting way of weaving narrative, I thought the relationship between Jack and Miranda felt familiar, although a little confusing at times and I think we linger on them a bit too long in certain scenes - I craved to see a bit more of the third character, and find out a bit more about his world.

- ​Pegah Farahmand

Film of the Month for January 2016

Judge
Luke Moody

Luke Moody, Film & Distribution Manager, BRITDOC Foundation.

Luke Moody is the Film & Distribution Manager for the BRITDOC Foundation, a non-profit that finds innovative ways to fund and distribute challenging and important documentaries. Luke works across the film funds and filmmaker outreach programmes for them, as well as coordinating distribution of completed features. Recently, he’s worked on the Academy Award nomination features ‘Dirty Wars’ and ‘CITIZENFOUR’, as well as artist commissions such as James Bridle’s Drone Shadows and Trevor Paglen’s Code Names of the Surveillance State and Circles.

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Winner

A major challenge of contemporary journalism is finding a narrative perspective that includes the audience and permits their empathy with the subject of the news. The clearly structured dialogue of this documentary portrait and composed imagery offer deeper emotional access to a story we have often encountered at an alienating level of simple facts and figures. If we’re to care more and act upon the societal problems that surround us, then urgent stories like this one, artfully told, will be a vital bridge to change.

- Luke Moody
Shortlisted

The intimacy and singular character focus of this portrait give a powerful sense of non-verbal, psychological journey that is so difficult to capture in cinema and particularly in such a short amount of time. That immediate sense of identifying with the character is emboldened by well observed introductory scenes and deceptively efficient editing. An all round accomplished tale of youthful frustration and perhaps regretful escape of familial confines.

- Luke Moody
Shortlisted

Somewhat paradoxically one of film’s most complex skills is simplicity in storytelling. This film’s firm achievement is its minimalism and controlled sense of sharing images to create an emotionally engaging character journey without a single word needing to be uttered.

- Luke Moody