Watersprite 2013: The Cambridge International Student Film Festival
Friday, March 08, 2013
Last weekend Watersprite 2013: The Cambridge International
Student Film Festival took place and London 3D Scheduler and film
fanatic/producer and all-round appreciator Ben Burdock attended,
alongside Head of Maya Development Sid Harrington-Odedra and
Director Will McGregor.
>> Since its creation Watersprite festival has showcased
some of the best student work from across the globe, combining the
screenings with talks, demonstrations and workshops from leading
figures in the world of film. This year was no different with
entries from over 20 countries and nominations spread across the
many disciplines of filmmaking. The festival is named after our
very own Will McGregor's short film 'Who's Afraid Of The
Watersprite?', which won the festival's inaugural 'Film Of The
Year' award. Once again The Mill contributed to the festival, with
a showcase of our latest work as well as a workshop for budding VFX
artists and filmmakers alike. Will also hosted a Careers In Film
'speed dating' Q&A for budding directors.
The festival opened with a talk from the world-famous novelist
and screenwriter, Neil Gaiman. Neil's graphic novels, books and
films have been an inspiration for many, with his creations
continuing to span across many different mediums. Neil held the
attention of the audience for almost 2 hours as he explained his
own route into the industry after starting out as a journalist in
the early 1980's. Neil's passion for storytelling led him on to
create early works including 'The Sandman' graphic novels and his
first novel 'Good Omens' - a collaboration with Terry Pratchett -
to name but two. His early years of storytelling would eventually
lead him into the TV and film industry, with early notable works
including 'Neverwhere' for the BBC and his first foray into feature
film, 'Mirrormask'. Neil has gone on to write screenplays for
Hollywood productions including 'Coraline', 'Stardust' and
'Princess Mononoke'. Neil's talk was an inspiration and a fantastic
start to the festival.
The weekend continued to impress with a talk from playwright and
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, John Logan. John's vast body
of work has spanned across many different genres, which has led him
to work with directors including Ridley Scott, Sam Mendes and
Martin Scorsese. It was great to hear about a world-renowned
artist's path into the creative industries. John was a playwright
for many years after graduating, working in a library 9 to 5 to
help sustain his income whilst he made a name for himself in the
industry. John's plays include 'Never The Sinner' and 'Red', with
the latter earning him 6 Tony Awards in 2010. His work in theatre
eventually led him into film, having since worked on incredible
titles including 'Gladiator', 'Hugo' and most recently 'Skyfall'.
John took the audience through all aspects of writing, focusing on
his personal approach and also the major differences between
theatre and Hollywood.
The final day of the festival began with our very own Sid
Harrington-Odedra hosting the Post-Production with The Mill talk.
Sid took the audience through the latest work from The Mill before
moving on to talk about two jobs in detail. Sid focused on 'Installation' for
Kia and 'Cloud' for
Guinness, which he broke down into key stages for the audience to
raise awareness of the intense amount of planning and creativity
required to complete projects of these types successfully. Starting
from concept and R&D and working right through to 3D,
compositing and final delivery, Sid completed his talk by taking a
number of questions from the audience, who were keen to find out
more about the industry.
The festival would of course not be possible without a vast amount
of films submitted for awards across various disciplines.
Live-action, animation and documentary shorts of many genres made
it into the festival, which gave the screening sessions a great
variety of work to showcase. Two particularly powerful films that I
saw at the festival were 'Dancing In The Ashes' and 'Nyosha'.
'Dancing In the Ashes' (trailer here - hyperlink https://vimeo.com/48799433)
follows the story of Edina, a young jewish ballet dancer who uses
her talent as a means to escape the horrors of a WW2 Nazi
concentration camp. The film features incredible performances from
an up and coming cast, whilst also boasting incredible production
design and direction, which all help the film to deal with the
sensitive subject matter respectively. The film is doing very well
on the festival circuit and won 'Watersprite Film Of The Year'.
'Nyosha' (trailer here) is an animated short which follows the
story of a young girl during WW2, who becomes attached to a pair of
shoes she believes to be special to escape the realities of war.
The film combines a range of animation techniques which form build
into a fantastic end result. The strong storyline is combined with
amazing visuals which take the viewer into the world of the young
girl as she tries to survive the war. Nyosha is also doing very
well on the festival circuit so I'm sure we'll all be seeing more
from the film's director.
The seamless combination of screenings, events and high calibre
guests make Watersprite a festival which would appeal to all film
makers and anyone else in the industry, so I would highly recommend
it. I am sure the festival will continue to grow year on year and
I'll be there again next year to see it!