Despite some concern in previous weeks as to whether sufficient members would have films ready to enter the Annual Competition, nonetheless on the appointed evening we were very pleased to have 10 entries, including some from members who have never entered before. And when it came to the time for judging – when everyone who is present lists their 3 favourite films – there was a great deal of huffing, puffing and sighing because there really were some excellent films submitted and it was difficult to choose between several of them. However the final announcement was that Wally Rowe was the winner of the Tony Brown Award, with his entertaining animation ‘The Cake Escape’. Wally was especially delighted that the club members had voted it as the most entertaining film of the competition because apparently he has never been the winner before, despite entering many times during the 12 years in which the competition has run.
The other entries were from Alan Michel (2nd), Roy Le Plongeon (3rd), and Charlie Blampied, Derek De Gruchy, Annette Lowe, Carol Thebault, Kath Ahier, Dieter Paland and Avril Rolls, and we were very grateful to each of them for preparing and entering their films
A recent project which seemed suitable for the club to undertake was to make a film to mark the occasion of Miss Florence Bechelet’s retirement from entering her magnificent dried flower creations into the Battle of Flowers parades. And as the club had several films in progress at the time, keeping members busy, Wally Rowe and Avril Rolls were the ones to set about the task.
The filming took Wally four afternoons using tracking shots, pans, zooms and tilts to
bring movement to Miss Bechelet’s static Museum show. Meanwhile Avril interviewed Florrie asking when and why she had started making these winning exhibits, and also doing the commentary .
The editing took several weeks, with the finished DVD being 25 minutes long. Once it was completed, Wally designed and printed posters for the inside of the Museum advertising the DVD'sfor sale. He also printed posters which have been distributed to hotels for the interest of guests.
The Club also became involved in filming a replica First World War trench system, built as a commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the ending of that Great War, with 6 members doing the filming and Annette editing the footage into a 15 minute film, called ‘In the Trenches’. This was submitted to the British International Film Festival competition as a club entry and awarded 4 stars (meaning the film was ‘exceptionally well-made, entertains, makes us care / learn / think’) with the film being screened at
the actual Festival.
The whole project took place at Samarès Manor during October 2008, and Dieter Paland in particular spent many hours on the site, and at Victoria College filming the cadets as they ceremoniously set off to march to the Manor and occupy the trench. They had now been equipped with genuine First World War uniforms and guns and they made a very impressive sight. During the actual ‘occupation’ our non-retired members, Alan Michel and Alan English were both able to participate in the filming, with the latter practising his interview skills to get some views from the cadets on their feelings about the experience. The finale of the event involved a
spectacular ‘shell attack’ (courtesy of a local firework company) with the troops going ‘over the top’ of their entrenchment and off to fight the enemy. Annette then researched archive photographs and music from the Great War, which could be included. Amongst these she found two relevant songs written by Eric Bogle - a protest song writer and singer living in Sydney. One of the songs was suitable as it was, and could be downloaded, whereas the other referred to the Australian troops and their battle in Suvla Bay, rather than the English forces in France and Belgium. Of course Eric would hold the copyright of both, so they could not be used without permission. However Annette emailed Eric, who answered very promptly saying the material could be used without fee, as no profit was to be made from the film, and he also gave permission for the words of the second lyric to be changed to make it more appropriate. The original 1914-18 recordings of songs were now out of copyright, so available to use, as were the photographs. Annette also decided she would like some background harmonica playing, and found a friend to provide that. However another requirement was for stirring copyright free music to enhance the ‘over the top’ episode. None of her available CDs seemed to have anything suitable, so she enlisted the excellent service of Richard Curry, the music advisor for the Film and Video Institute. As only 2 minutes of music was required Richard emailed the MP3 file, which worked very successfully. After final editing, ‘In the Trenches’ became a 15 minute film, well received by the Trench Experience organisers, and by Victoria College. It was decided that a saleable DVD would be made, with the proceeds of sales going to a local charity Holidays for Heroes, whose remit is to provide free holidays for injured servicemen and women. Fortunately Lawrie Wynn, head of Media Studies at Victoria College, was willing to use his graphics expertise for the DVD cover, and produced a beautiful design which made the product look extremely appealing. At the request of Howard the film was also put on YouTube with a link from the site of the 1st World War Study Group CI., and it can be seen through the ‘Club Films’ page on this site. To date Holidays for Heroes has received £200 from sales of the DVDs, which are also held in the library, Heritage Trust and Archive Centre.