No/Gloss Film Festival returned to Leeds for its third year to showcase the gutsy, brilliant and, dare I say it, edgy creations that come with budget restricted independent filmmaking. Housed in the dungeon of the iconic Templeworks, the grade 1 listed flax mill gave birth to a weekend of punchy art house titles from across the world. Here are selections of the weekend’s highlights:
Triangles of Happiness
Through the curtains of the family’s living room, the outside world receives a false glimpse into Hanne and Carsten’s beautiful, idyllic family home, but what the audience discovers is that beyond the parameters of the window, the house is nothing more than bare walls and piles of rubble. Pederson’s exaggerated reality (in which the desperate housewife would bury her neighbour before revealing her family’s secret) makes for a darkly comical watch.
Howl brings the creature of nightmares back to the screens with a beautifully created short film that will leave you cowering behind the sofa. Shot in Surrey, the story centres around the relationship between teacher Karen Crawshaw and her new pupil, as she fears the worst when a stranger from the woods comes to the visit the school. Howl is a terrifically terrifying must-see for any horror fan.
The Missing Scarf
Academy Award shortlisted for Best Animated Short Film, The Missing Scarf is an Irish creation that oozes affection through the journey of a philosophical squirrel who encounters fellow woodland creatures in his search for a missing scarf, and dispenses a few important life lessons along the way. At first, the story hints towards a sort of children’s woodland tale, but soon surprises the audience with a striking and exhilarating venture into the philosophical realms of existence. You can watch The Missing Scarf below:
Nighttime hotel receptionist, Victor, encounters obnoxious customers; suicidal guests and heart break all in a night’s work. Beautifully shot and flawlessly edited, the audience is absorbed into the protagonist’s silent struggle under the frustrating oath that “the customer is always right”.
Ackee & Saltfish
Following a feisty pair of chatty South East London hipsters on their quest for an authentic Jamaican takeaway, Ackee & Saltfish blends dialogues of trivial chitchat with conversations of social and political dissatisfaction. The momentum of the film lost some of its pace and at times the out-of-focus cinematography erred on the side of dizzying the viewer. That said, the film was an entertaining observation of the two protagonists’ ‘first world problems’. Check out the trailer for the short film below:
Alongside this wonderful plethora of artistic wonders, No/Gloss also endowed the audience with a selection of workshops across the weekend. Indiegogo UK delivered an insightful presentation on ways to which independent filmmakers can help to build their project through fundraising. Jon Morter aka “the Social Media Hellraiser’”, famous for shaking up the X-factor Christmas number 1 machine with his ‘Rage Against The X Factor’ campaign, enlightened the audience with a selection of tales of being kicked out of the BBC and being banned from ASDA. Armed with a collection of Facebook screenshots detailing the various social media failures of Persil, Andrex and eBay to name a few, Jon continues do us all a favour and piss off big brands that behave as if they’re immune to criticism. We salute you, Jon.
Overall the festival turned out to be a huge success. It’s inspiring to see a film festival offer a platform for ‘guerilla filmmakers’ worldwide to showcase their work whilst adding to the growing artistic subculture within Leeds. It could be said that the programme was diverse in both its subject matter and quality, but overall the film selection was an astute one. Adding to this: captivating workshops, great food, passionate volunteer staff and a beautifully rustic setting, No/Gloss is definitely the film festival to watch, and we’re excited to see what they’ll showcase in the coming years.
For more info on the festival, check out their website here.
Joshua Taylor & Lucie England-Duce
photos: No/Gloss Film Festival & Wikicommons