Preview: Oxford Film Fund competition

We chat to the Spielbergs and Hitchcocks of tomorrow about films and stuff

It was the Oscars the other day, but that has no match on the yearly Oxford Film Fund screening and competition, which is almost upon us. We caught up with some of the contestants to chat to them about arty culture, pancakes, and bins.

Harry Lighton, Three Speech

What’s it like being a director in student films? Do you have a chair with your name on it?

Pretty exhausting – outside of doing film-related stuff it’s been a term of crap essays and half pints.  But also very rewarding and a good laugh.  It’s a massively collaborative process, and I’ve got to meet and work with some seriously talented people.  It’s also a great feeling when you see something you imagined last summer (albeit probably in a very different form) being shot in front of you.  I got a clapperboard for Christmas but no chair just yet.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to putting together a film?

In a student film, probably time and money.  Because of how much equipment costs, you’re quite limited in the different shots (particularly moving shots) you can get.  Still, you can usually find a canny solution.  At one stage we had to film the main actor cycling down queens lane, so had the DoP cycling in front of him with the camera facing backwards over her shoulder.  Bit hairy, but worked out well.

Alvin Yu, The Coffee Date

What are the freedoms in making a short film?

I’d say short films are less about freedoms and more about limitations.

To you, which is the most important – the script, the production, or the director?

I think the notion of there being one most important element is a bit misleading, in film every single element is really important – you can’t have a great script with bad editing e.t.c, every single element is crucial.

Lizzy Mansfield, Collection Day

Which is the most important element – the script, the production, the director?

This is much like saying “what’s most important when making a pancake…the milk, the flour or the eggs?”. Pancakes need three things: milk, flour and eggs. Films need a lot more than three things, potentially including but by no means limited to: milk, flour and eggs… That said, it is entirely possible to make a film without eggs, whereas making a pancake without eggs is much more tricky. Unless your film involves pancakes.

What was your choice behind your film?

Words are overrated in film. Stories don’t need words to tell them, and I wanted to tell this one without. Bins, on the other hand, are very much underrated in the film world, so I hoped to rectify that too by making a wordless, bin-full film.

What are the freedoms in making a short film?

If you really want to, you can eat a whole packet of bourbons on the day of the shoot. Or hobnobs, depending on your budget.

You can spend the whole day pretending to be an asparagus, and refusing to speak to anyone when they try and talk to you. You can play a giant game of wink murder on set and tell everyone apart from the producer what is going on. You can leave chunks of Toblerone wherever you go and employ an army of squirrels to follow you round, eating them. You can take yourself really seriously. Or you can have a lot of fun.

You can buy tickets to the screening and find out more information about the Oxford Film Fund here