Blueprint Shorts Program

As cinema and means of entertainment continue to evolve and prosper over the years, new, passionate filmmakers start to emerge and journey in to the spotlight for themselves. This is where programs like Blueprint are essential. Through programs of this calibre, we get to be first hand witnesses to new, independent filmmakers with their lust for creativity set alight and their visions unsullied. Not only are they entertaining but they can create names for us moviegoers that we can look out for in the future.

Blueprint: Scottish Independent Shorts is a collaboration between the GSFF (Glasgow Short Film Festival) and Hans Lucas, a local independent filmmaker. It is a long running program that promotes new Scottish short films from independent Scottish filmmakers. Via quarterly sessions, these programs showcase the submitted films, taken from all across Scotland, and usually hold Q&A panels with a contributor to the films, whether it be a producer, an actor, an editor, etc.

Not only is this a good way to give the newest crafters of film some deserved attention but seeing the people behind the creation of these shorts in person greatly humanises the experience. The GFT has held screenings that includes Q&A sessions with the film’s cast and or crew before (such as with Hell or High Water or Under the Shadow) and the feeling one gets seeing them talk about the process behind their film makes you realise not only what kind of effort goes into the development of such features but, in case of Blueprint, it allows the audience to get a first-hand look at what these people could potentially offer one day.

To truly express the sentiment of this, here are a few examples of what was played in December’s program at the GFT. One of them was a short titled Perfect Strangers, directed by Ryan Hendrick, who was present for its showing. It was by far the longest of the shorts played but the direction and craftsmanship of the piece was so professional, one could see it being extended into a ninety minute feature length. Two characters, Rob and Jen, decide to travel together for Christmas when their train is cancelled, as they are both heading to Glasgow. This could very easily have just been a standard buddy road trip short or even come off as somewhat sappy, but the short has a surprising amount of depth and layers to its characters. For a film no longer than twenty six minutes we get a lot of context on where these characters are emotionally prior to the events of the short as well as how they grow throughout the course of the short. Perfect Strangers is funny, charming, well-acted and directed and a lot more emotional than you’d expect.

Although not as long as the first one, the other shorts were also entertaining in their own ways. Included was an animation reminiscent of Monty Python’s Flying Circus called Cosmical. Out of them all, this one was the short that could be interpreted in the most ways.  According to the director the film was applauded in some places but booed in others and having viewed its content it’s easy to see where the mixed reactions are coming from, seeing as it portrays a cosmic figure dining on the symbols of religion (e.g. a crucifix or a menorah). If nothing else though the short displays how even a couple of minutes have the power to effectively invoke emotions out of people.

Others include a beautifully choreographed short seemingly influenced by the Swan Lake ballet and a humorous look at Viking culture made by a crew in Shetland on the Orkney Islands. But it matters not which one is more accessible than the other. This isn’t a case of competition. The point of the Blueprint program is to reveal the faces of the future in terms of Scottish filmmaking. We get to witness innovative, creative shorts from the minds of passionate people who for all you know could one day be the mind behind the next Trainspotting or Local Hero or perhaps play a hand in the making of said product.

The Blueprint shorts program is one that is not only recommended to those who love film from a viewing or analytical standpoint but to those who love filmmaking and would like to see themselves get a bit more exposure.  Obviously the prospect of displaying your work to an audience is a nerve-wrecking one but once you’ve jumped that hurdle you never know where this opportunity may take you.

[Calum Cooper]

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