As well as fitting in running award-winning blog Created in Birmingham, Chris Unitt turned his hand to organising an innovative film competition which saw 11 films made in 48 hours.
Film Dash: Digital Galore! was a 48-hour film challenge that took place over the weekend of October 17 to 19.
The winning film was screened at the Odeon on New Street as part of Hello Digital, the digital film and media festival.
However, the competition’s origins were much more humble. Back in August, I agreed to organise something on the basis that, although I’d come to know of plenty of film makers in my time running Created in Birmingham, I couldn’t think of anyone else who would organise such a competition for them.
Through the association with Hello Digital, Film Dash became part of a celebration of Sir Michael Balcon’s legacy.
For those that don’t know, Michael Balcon was from Birmingham and he produced Alfred Hitchcock’s UK movies, ran a US film studio and produced the Ealing films.
He also chaired the Experimental Film Fund where he promoted new film making techniques, new technologies and new film makers, supporting the earliest works of directors such as Ridley Scott.
Everyone involved felt that Film Dash and Balcon were an excellent fit.
Fifteen teams attended the Film Dash launch and were given 48 hours to script, shoot and edit a film before handing it in to me.
To prevent the teams doing too much preparation they were given a line of dialogue and a reference to a Michael Balcon production to incorporate into their short film.
It was important to me that the teams’ levels of experience and quality of their camera equipment shouldn’t matter.
If all they had access to were mobile phone cameras or webcams then that would be fine - the judges would be much more impressed by imagination, creativity and a good story well told.
The 11 films completed before the deadline were as varied as the teams who made them and included comedies, dramas and even a music video.
What they all had in common was a high level of quality and I certainly didn’t envy the judges their job.
The winner was Dunkirk by Team TTV, which was praised for its charm, humour, innovative filming techniques and use of the city.
This film, and all the other entries, can be viewed online with links to them on the Film Dash website.
This first Film Dash’s success far exceeded my own expectations and I’m already looking forward to organising further challenges, with plans for the next one already afoot.