Preview: No/Gloss Film Festival

It’s no secret that low-to-no budget filmmaking is on the rise across the UK and the rest of the world. With advancements in technology and ever-reducing software costs, amateur and wannabe directors, actors, editors and producers (not to mention writers, cinematographers, and the whole host of other crew members required on a production) are banding together to develop their passion projects, pioneering do-it-yourself cinema. The results are often spectacular, and demonstrate what can be achieved outside of the Studio system.

It is both the spirit and the results of these creative endeavours that the Leeds-based No/Gloss Film Festival seeks to celebrate. Formed in February 2012, it showcases unconventional, DIY cinema from across the UK and internationally, supporting independent filmmaking in a ‘no-frills’ – no gloss – film festival setting.

This year’s event, which will take place on the weekend of 3rd and 4th October at The Carriageworks in Millennium Square (a venue chosen to fit the festival’s ethos of making cinema accessible to all), is operating under the tagline, “Films unlike anything you’ve ever seen”. And it’s official selection looks like it’ll live up to this billing.

marzipan flowers

Marzipan Flowers (Israel)

The first film, an hour-long Israeli black comedy titled ‘Marzipan Flowers’, tells the tale of a 48-year old widow, Hadas, who finds unexpected help and support from her transgender roommate, Petel, after she moves to the big city. The production values and cinematography on show in the trailer (which you can watch for yourself hereare superb, and the blend of black and white and eye-popping colour in many of the scenes are striking. The few snippets of the plot on show are tantalising, and the film looks like one not to be missed.

Benny Loves Killing (UK)

‘Benny Loves Killing’, the festival’s second official selection, is billed as a psychological thriller that “bends every conception of what defines ‘horror’”. Coming out of the UK (with some sprinkling of French to, in the words of writer/director Ben Woodiwiss, make the film “of the world, rather than one particular culture”) and produced on a shoestring £4,000 budget, it transforms the viewer into an unwitting participant of a discourse on horror movie theory – through the ultimate in meta storylines, a student producing a horror movie.

meet the hitlers

Meet The Hitlers (USA)

The festival’s third and final official selection is an American documentary about people named Hitler (trailer here). ‘Meet The Hitlers’, Executive Produced by Super Size Me’s Morgan Spurlock, is a moving portrait of the lives of the diverse cast of characters who have to live with the name of Hitler – from the Neo-Nazi who named his son Adolf Hitler, to the high school girl bullied for her surname – and of the relationship between people and their names.

Alongside these three films, the festival will be a place for international filmmakers to showcase their latest work across both days, and films will be added to the programme right up until September (see what’s been added so far here). 

Tickets for No/Gloss Film Festival are only available online, and can be purchased from the festival’s official website, here.

Paul Turner

Images: No/Gloss Film Festival

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