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Chelmsford Film Festival: Session 4 Review

by Ian Morton

Last session on the list, here is what we thought:



Director: Iván Sáinz-Pardo

A super short in every sense of the word, Save brings an epically detailed narrative that will leave you both shocked and intrigued. While it ticks all the boxes, impressive cinematography and claustrophobic camera work is certainly its biggest strength. There is literally nothing more we can say that wouldn’t ruin it, so we shall leave you with the press release: Dawn. A baby breaks the silence. Chilling!


Director: The Brothers Lynch

A beautiful menagerie of 80’s sci-fi, Trial is a rip-rawing tale that just keeps giving more and more each time you watch it. After suffering an injury on the battlefield, a soldier turns to science to give him a new lease on life. Incredible direction paired with an interesting story makes for every action fans wet dream that truly makes the Brothers Lynch a directing duo to look out for in the future. With ‘Blade Runner’ twists and turns submerged in an ever glowing shroud of ‘Momento’-esque amnesia, this truly is a heart pounding adventure that you need to spend some time with!


Director: Sam Jones

Creating a depressingly bleak future-scape, Lifeline is a harrowing post-epidemic survival thriller that has you follow a mother risking everything to save her child. On sheer spectacle alone, Lifeline was certainly one of the most well constructed films on the watch list. An intriguing battle zone conjures images of ‘Battle Royale’ while its dark palette harks back to ‘Children of Men’, setting the scene perfectly. Although the story does venture down familiar paths, a strong performance (particular in the final frames), keep this firmly on the right path.

Late Request

Director: Philip Reel

Taking advantage of the super-short category, Lifeline attempts to snap shot a night in the life of an ambulance driver. After an accident takes place, paramedic Nicky is tasked with keeping driver Steve conscious while waiting for the air ambulance to arrive. Lacking in plot, Lifeline is certainly one of the harder films of the festival to really fall in love with. Although there certainly is a sense of realism about the events, it never really does enough to keep the audience interested.

School of Shock

Director: Steven Dorrington

There’s no doubt about it, comedy is a tough genre to break and it certainly doesn’t get any easier within the short film world. Thankfully, School of Shock is a breath of fresh air as director Steven Dorrington goes super-short to deliver some of the best comedy in a long time. After preparing for a private school interview, six year old Isabelle repeats everything her parents tell her, with hilarious results. Good performances, great timing and some brilliantly innocent jokes not only got one of the best reactions of the festival, it will probably make you laugh too!

Sweet Maddie Stone

Director: Brady Hood

Brilliantly directed with some excellent performances, Maddie Stone is certainly one of the best at this year’s festival. As her home life spirals out of control, Maddie is left to rely on her school yard business to get the balance back. Blending genres expertly, the story is a very honest look at the school yard but from a very different perspective. Impressive visuals draw you in, engaging performances will keep your attention and the honest script will certainly have you believe in the characters. The level of depth in this short film is frankly, remarkable!


Final thoughts:

The main thing that jumped out within the final session was the sheer quality of the films on offer. With films like Lifeline and Trial pushing the boundaries of what a short film can look like, Sweet Maddie Stone and School Of Shock did equally amazing things with narrative and depth. If I had to make a shortlist, it would be a hard one to narrow down but my love for what the Brothers Lynch achieved would have to put them in and it’s impossible to ignore the sheer talent involved with Sweet Maddie Stone.






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