The Magic Of Film: Many people reading this who have worked on or visited a working film set, or watched a “making of” documentary on TV, will be aware of the atmosphere of absolute chaos that surrounds the film making process. This is apparent on every kind of production, from the very small, to the very large. But out of this chaos there comes a magic moment, a distillation of all the various skills that go into the process of making a film. This may not happen on the first day of the shoot, but it usually comes early on, and it is the moment that everyone involved in the production would recognize.
Preparing to shoot a scene involves a lot of people running round doing mysterious tasks; setting lights, building tracks, assembling cameras, setting out props, moving furniture, removing or building parts of the set, preparing the actors’ costumes, hair and make up; a scene of utter chaos.
It is the moment that follows the time when the first assistant calls “quiet for a take”, when a hush falls over the assembled crew and actors, when the camera is poised on its dolly, the grip balanced for the perfect track, the AD calls “turn over”, the assistant cameraman replies “speed” and the clapper board is clapped, and the word “action” echoes across the set. At this magic moment, all the skills coalesce, the camera tracks smoothly and silently along the track, the microphone stays out of the frame, the actors remember their lines and hit their marks, and suddenly you realize that it’s working; that you have a movie, and all the planning and preparation are going to be worth the effort.
We have been watching a lot of “magic” moments whilst looking at the submissions to this festival. The magic of ambitious targets achieved, the magic of having completed a film which, suddenly, after all the hard work, problems and effort, has a life of its own, and becomes a real film. From the day in 1888 when William Friese-Green ran out of his studio and dragged in a police constable from the street to be the first witness of a moving picture, film makers have had this experience. This is what has kept them going, and inspired them.
We are looking forward to being able to share this magic with you; this is what our festival is all about. Not prizes, or whose film is better than someone else’s, but a chance for filmmakers to screen their films in public, and to transmit the magic of their creation to us all.
Chris O’Dell BSC