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Preview: No/Gloss Film Festival UK

If you’re like me and can’t afford (or just don’t have the time) to jet off to the film festivals held in America or France, then independent film festivals are an ideal substitute. In February 2012 the creators of “No/Gloss Film Festival” decided that there was something missing from Leeds’ thriving independent cinema market. So with this in mind, a new film festival was born; one that is free from the glitz and the glamour of Hollywood (the website even describes itself as being ‘no-frills.’)

Aptly named, the No/Gloss Film Festival encourages production of DIY cinema and short movies. Producers have to get creative about how they spend a limited budget and how far they can go with the barest of materials. From the looks of it; this is quite far!

The film that stands out to me most in the Official Selection this year (the selection that is judged on a number of different factors but primarily is a collection that has a special place in the judges’ hearts) is ‘Quite A Conundrum.’[1] At 85 minutes long; the trailer for this film looks rather intriguing. Shot on a Canon 7D camera, it seeks to bring new life to independent horror movies; a genre which sometimes can’t be pulled off in independent film due to the need of realistic severed heads and blood! (According to my research these do not come cheap.) The synopsis on the festival’s website describes the film as “Sex, drums, tequila, social-networking, a pirate, morning-after pills, Jesus and a gun. It’s one hot mess.” That sounds like a very entertaining mix to me!

The other two films in the Official Selection for this year are: ‘The Kingdom of Survival’ and ‘Lad – A Yorkshire Story.’ The former is a documentary that combines a travelogue with journalism to trace the possible links between a number of different and unconventional topics.  These range from art and politics to fringe philosophy. (Also if you’re a budding linguist like me, the film even features Professor Noam Chomsky!)

The latter: ‘Lad – A Yorkshire Story’ is a 96-minute film about a young lad called Tom who is constantly battling adversity after his father’s death, but who manages to find true friendship. From the looks of the trailer and the synopsis provided on the festival website, ‘Lad – A Yorkshire Story’ is a film that will warm the cold cockles of your heart on a cold winter’s day…

After perusing through the films which will be on offer over the weekend, the one I’m most looking forward to (although there are many) is the 18-second film opener entitled ‘Institute of Immortality,’ by Tiffany Dantin. The synopsis for this is as follows: “Take a 10-second look into an alternative past, experienced through an educational film opener. ‘Institute for Immortality’ is a pseudo-science propaganda animation inspired by speculative societies and unlimited lifespans.”  As a fan of flash fiction, I know a lot can be done with a little, however this sounds like a sweeping synopsis that offers a lot. The question is: will it live up to our expectations?  

I urge you to check the festival out. I don’t think there’s a film festival quite as diverse and inclusive as No/Gloss in Leeds from 19th-20th October 2013. You’d better get your tickets now though – weekend tickets are selling fast and will soon run out!


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