Into The Light Wins awards

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My first short film, “Into The Light”, has now won a number of trophies and awards which is a credit to everyone who was involved in the project. Winning awards is always gratifying but for me it’s more important that the film gets seen and finds it’s audience, something which is arguably more difficult to do. Having said that, when entering a film in the amateur film making circuit you are almost always guaranteed to get judges comments. Feedback is so important to learn how your audience connected with your film.
To summarise the film:

This is a monologue based film of a man evaluating the point he has reached in his life where he has lost key people he loves and is now acutely aware of his own mortality. The day to day pressures of life's expectations force him on a journey through his mind to choose an escape from the darkness of his hidden depression, into the light.

The following is a list of the awards that “Into The Light” has achieved so far.

  • Teign Cup - Runner Up - 2nd Place
  • Penny Cup - Winner
  • British International Amateur Film Festival (BIAFF) - 4 Stars and will be screened on Sunday 13th April
  • SoCo Annual Film Competition - Two awards: Best Editing, and Best Use Of Sound

The judges comments received from such competitions are always interesting and useful and you really get a sense of how well your film did in achieving what you wanted it to. The latest comments from BIAFF, demonstrated to me that from a story point of view it was mission accomplished. The lack of reasons for suicidal thoughts in the film is significant, and leaving questions in the audiences mind was intentional. I wanted to create a film that gave clues as to what was going on but ultimately to let the audience work through the material and derive their own conclusions. I don’t’ mind having stories given to you on a plate if it’s Sunday night TV and you want to wind down, but generally I like films that pull you in emotionally and make you work to understand them. I call that engagement.

Everything in this little short film I directed is of significance, from the colours used to the articles in the briefcase (that were previously scattered on the floor), to the rapid decay of the flower and the human eye in the clock, which to date, no one has even commented on. All this for another day as for me the film was intensely personal and I could talk about every element of the film in great detail! For now, the judges comments:

Comments from the SoCo Judges

“SoCo Annual Film and Video Competition 2013 Judges Comments
Into the Light by Declan Smith
This film demonstrated a very unusual take on one man's life in retrospect. Right from the start it gripped us with its good titles and very atmospheric opening sequence. As it progressed it continued to hold our attention with its very good technology: images, editing, sound and green screen process etc.
The lead character's acting was very believable and the falling into the clock sequence was excellently handled. However we found the various ways to kill himself a little protracted, 'Over the Top' and a little confusing. Having said that it is a small criticism and didn't distract from the story and the exit through the archway bathed in white light and coming back to the start sequence we found quite masterful.
The whole production showed an excellent understanding of visual film making and we enjoyed it immensely. Well done and thank you for supporting SoCo and allowing us the privilege of watching your production. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.
Judging panel
Ron Prosser FACI, Rita Hayes FACI, Pip Hayes, Freddy Beard

Comments from the BIAFF Judges
Title: Into The Light
Award: 4 Stars
This was an intense and atmospheric film that delivers on many levels. The rather blatant contemplation of suicide using a number of methods, all graphically illustrated, avoided the usual introspection revealing the reasons for the suicidal tendencies. Maybe it would have been beneficial to include these.
The actor gave a very good performance as the seemingly cynical and broken man, his delivery was memorable.
Technically the film was very good, the camera angles and lighting were spot on. One panel member was slightly critical of the shot of the baby in the palm of the hand, from a scale point of view, but it did lead the imagery depicting "safety" very well. In mitigation, he appreciated the dissolve from the demented man to the shotgun cartridge.
We were all impressed by the shot development from the bespectacled eyes to the swinging lightbulb to the laptop and mobile phone. Then the ensuing and effective use of silence at his comment "and be still for a while".
The music choice was very good and added to the creation of the mood so essential to the film. The sound recording was excellent but we felt possibly more use could have been made of sound effects.
We had a number of unanswered questions at the end. What was the significance of the contents of the suitcase? Was the ending intended to convey redemption or freedom from his worries? Is death the "light"?
The film held our attention throughout and thoroughly deserves its 4 star award.
Ron Davies FRPS, FACI(M), FIPF, EFIAP on behalf of the judging panel:
Paul Kittel, David Peffer, Ron Davies
Judges Comments

Excellent titles which set the mood of this production.
A very high standard of photography with some first class close up work and the use of some very interesting special effects – very atmospheric due to high standard of camerawork.

Editing and sound track excellent, very good mix and sound balance.
First Class Production

Alan Creamer

A most enjoyable film.
Excellent script, lighting and camerawork all of a very high standard.
I could not fault the voice over or the editing all of a very high standard.
The film held one’s attention from beginning to end.
Excellent production. Well done.

Darren Cummings

Excellent mood to this production.
Very good titles, graphics and effects
Excellent script, lighting and camerawork all of a very high standard.
I could not fault the voice over or the editing.
This was a very high standard production. Well done.

Trevor Matthews

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