Currently developing his first short film, Sean Dinwoodie sought inspiration by watching every single short at this year’s Inverness Film Festival. Here are the ten films that made the biggest impression on him...
Be Still My Beating Heart (Ruth Paxton)
Deeply unsettling and not for the squeamish, Be Still My Beating Heart is a disturbing portrayal of two sisters who both have illnesses; one mental, one physical. The film’s sound design is especially important as each squelch is felt in the stomach of the viewer.
Just Agree Then (Duncan Cowles & Ross Hogg)
Just Agree Then finds two Scottish filmmakers bickering over creative decisions in the editing process for a documentary shot in Austria. The pair argue about every editing decision in some delightfully hilarious exchanges.
Starting Over (Russell Davidson)
Feelings of paranoia are encapsulated well in Starting Over, which follows a prison inmate who fears he will be attacked on his day of release. Some interesting shot choices, especially during a flashback scene in a courtroom, make this an inventive and surreal film.
In The Fall (Tom Gentle)
Based on Alistair Macleod's short story of the same name, In The Fall is a beautifully shot film with the feeling of one continuous take. The film tells the story of a family’s decision to sell their old horse. Orkney looks stunning and the acting from the cast is entrancing.
Stalker (Chris Andrews)
Stalker is a tense affair following an elderly deer-stalker who gets attacked by a poacher in the woods. The stalker returns to the woods to capture his attacker but due to his failing eyesight he soon becomes hunted himself. The point of view shots that show the stalker’s eyesight problems are highly imaginative and drew an anxious response from the audience.
Boys Night (James Price)
Following a boy’s attempt to get his intoxicated father home, this Glaswegian film is one of the funniest in the selection, although there is an underlying sadness behind it all. Watching the Dad embarrass himself is comical but heartbreaking, as you see the son’s attempts to keep his father in line.
Slap (Simone Smith)
Slap is a hallucinogenic nightmare vision about a girl’s moral dilemma in her attempts to fit into her primary school class. Featuring harsh musical accompaniment and abrasive editing, the film overwhelms the senses and settles deeply under the skin. With the kaleidoscopic imagery of teddy bears and Hubba Bubba packets, Slap is a disturbing but strangely transfixing watch. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Farmland (Niamh McKeown)
This faced-paced film about four siblings disagreeing over their Father’s will is an interesting and funny concept. The pace of the film, as the situation begins to turn murderous, keeps the viewer on their toes.
Jealous Alan (Martin Clark)
Jealous Alan is a gently comedic tale about a friendship that gets strained by jealousy. Accompanied by a fuzzy indie soundtrack, the film has a top-notch script and excellent performances from the cast.
Slingshot (Robin Haig)
Slingshot’s whimsical narrative regarding a Highland woman’s quest to join her local village’s historical reenactment is the feel-good film of the IFF Short Cuts program. Shot gorgeously at Portencross Castle in Ayrshire with a colourful cast of characters, this is an inspiring tale, dedicated to all the forgotten warrior queens.
Sean Dinwoodie is a sixth-year student at Invergordon Academy with a passion for film. He plans to study filmmaking when he leaves school.
This blog was written by:
Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Creative Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI.