My Shout Initiative Film Made by Surrey Border Movie Makers

A film celebrating age and the challenges and perceptions of ageing has been made by Surrey Border Movie Makers. Made as part of the My Shout initiative ‘Inside I’m 35’ has been created by people of 55 or over from Farnham and surrounding areas, it is one of four projects including dance, sculpture and drama which all portray in their own way that ‘becoming old ‘is not always the dreary mis-conception that we believe it to be. Written by Rita Wheeler and Directed by Rita Wheeler and Peter Frost the film is part documentary, part musical and part drama with a light-hearted approach, the film had its first premiere at Farnham Maltings on 12th December to a very appreciative audience of 140.

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Members 2018 Competition

The Surrey Border Film Makers ‘Members 2018 Film Competition’ was held at the December meeting. Tim Stannard from Staines Video Makers who this year won a five-star award at BIAFF (British International Amateur Film Festival) kindly pre-judged the competition with his wife Martine who unfortunately could not attend. There were twelve film entries. Jim Reed excelled himself this year by winning several awards: Most Creative Film for ‘Expose’, Best Documentary for ‘Making a Difference’, Best Editing for‘ OSOM Charity Appeal’ Best Use of Sound for ‘Making a Difference’, Best Camerawork for ‘Making a Difference’ and not surprisingly he won The Best Overall Film for ‘Making a Difference’ about the Hawk Conservatory Trust. The Best Holiday Film ‘Tswalu The New Beginning’ was won by Philip Morley, Best Photography was won by Peter Stratford with his film ‘Burma Sunrise’. Colin Lewis won the Best Use of Commentary for his film ‘Paris in Five Minutes’ and Martin Boyman won the Best First Winners Trophy for his film ‘Welcome to Rawley’s World’. Dave Skertchly’s film ‘Auxetic Performance’ was Highly Commended. All awards were presented on the night by Tim Stannard.

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Outstanding Contribution Award given to Philip Morley

Whilst the wonderful Farnham Christmas Market was in full swing Surrey Border members enjoyed their annual Christmas lunch at the Mercure Bush Hotel located in the centre of Farnham where Philip Morley was presented with a special ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Club’ 2018 award.

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November Meeting – Report

Surrey Border Movie Makers Club Chairman Mike Sanders opened the November meeting by greeting new members and visitors. He also reminded everyone of the forthcoming Christmas lunch at the Mercure Bush Hotel in Farnham, the venue and food last year were such a success with the club that a return visit was booked for this year, it coincides with the Farnham Christmas Market which could make a good subject for a short film.

Club member Philip Morley hosted the November meeting. He showed a selection of films from the Rode Film Competition held this year. Surrey Border Movie Makers and other amateur film makers from several countries submitted films, the winning films from several categories were shown and discussed on the evening.

Also shown was a film produced by member Dave Skertchly about the first carbon-fibre bodied McLaren racing car to be manufactured, Dave was proud to be part of the production team, he spent many long hours sourcing and editing old historical footage to produce a very interesting film.

Solent Movie Makers sent the club a showreel of films they had produced as they were interested in any critique and comments from the audience. The club who are based in Southampton have some exceptionally good filmmakers.

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Documentary Competition Winner Announced

The winner of the Surrey Border Documentary Competition was announced at the October meeting. Alan Brown’s film ‘Re-building a Daimler Dart’ was the winner with John Stratford’s ‘Kashmir Valley’ in second place and Jim Reed’s film ‘On the Edge’ in third place.

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Surrey Border Movie Makers were delighted to host the Inter Club Competition at the October meeting. Four film clubs from the South East region submitted films for the Competition. Solent Movie Makers from Southampton, Weymouth Movie Makers, Chichester Film & Video Makers and Exeter Films. Visiting club members attending were Paul Vernon, Tony Shadick, Graham Liniss and Howard Blake from Solent Movie Makers, also James Peatling and John Simpson from Weymouth Movie Makers club. Exeter Films created a short profile video about their film entry as they could not attend on the night. This was a new suggestion by Surrey Border Movie Makers as the audience and judges are always interested in the background details of films submitted.

The quality of films entered in the Inter Club competition is always of a high standard and this year was no exception. Weymouth’s film ‘A Story about a Young Man’s Travels’ was a fictional tale about a young man who falls on hard times and turns to drink, a stranger then helps him and the importance of keeping in touch with family and friends become apparent. Chichester produced an outstanding documentary about Yellowstone Park, a special Winter trip necessitating the use of a purpose-built vehicle with caterpillar tracks enabled the filming of some beautiful isolated areas of this wonderful park. As Chichester were not present, an overview of the making of the film was sent in by the club and was read to the audience by Surrey Border member Peter Frost. Exeter Films entry titled ‘The Winning Film’ described as “a profile and insight into the hidden world of Exeter Films” showed editing skills and modern-day movie making in a very clever way. The films within the film were explained with some clever added dialogue and explanations.

The Judges for the evening were Peter Ives Competition Officer and club member Jim Reed.

After the Buffet and Coffee break the Judges discussed the films with the audience and announced the Competition winner which this year was awarded to Solent Movie Makers film ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, a touching and sensitively made love story with an un-expected ending. This film was well acted, filmed and edited, an overall success for Howard Blake the film’s Director.

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2018 Documentary Competition

The September club evening was dedicated to the Surrey Border Movie Makers Documentary Competition. With nine film entries this year it was a full evening of fabulous entertainment and very difficult judging by the captivated audience.

Eight club members submitted outstanding films which covered a wide variety of subjects including’ Twyford Waterworks’ and ‘Stationary Steam Engine’ both by John Mills, ‘On the Edge’ a film about Southend by Jim Reed, ‘The Kashmir Valley’ a 20 minute film by Peter Stratford, ‘St John the Baptist Holy Well’ an important restoration project filmed by Gordon Sutton, ‘Sight and Sound of the Tagus’ by Martin Boyman, ‘Britannia’ an 8 minute documentary about the Queens beloved yacht, ‘Re-building a Daimler Dart’ by Alan Brown and ‘A Florida History’ by Gillian Gatland. Further details of all of these films can be found in ‘Border Post’ the Surrey Border Movie Makers Monthly Magazine which can be viewed on our website.

From ‘The Kashmir Valley’ by Peter Stratford

From ‘Britannia’

From ‘Sight and Sound of the Tagus’ by Martin Boyman,

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An evening dedicated to some of the most important aspects of film making was held at our recent monthly meeting in Farnham. Three work stations were organised, sound, camerawork and lighting each run by a very experienced tutor. Members were divided into three groups to enable everyone to spend time at each station and ask questions. Club member Alan Hussey a retired BBC cameraman and experienced sound engineer talked about and demonstrated the various microphones and audio techniques available for use in film making, which ones should be used to obtain the best sound and which to use to minimise unwanted noise ie traffic etc. he also demonstrated the lapel or lavalier microphone often used in films, especially for interviews.

Philip Morley also a club member took along several of his cameras to demonstrate how to get the best results by using the settings on your camera ie how to set up the ‘white balance’ correctly to obtain the best colour effect and how to use the focus settings rather than rely on the automatic option which can give limited results. He also discussed and demonstrated the importance of correct exposure settings.
e very pleased to welcome special guest Jason Butcher a professional commercial photographer, he demonstrated the importance of correct lighting when making a film. Jason brought along several items of lighting equipment to demonstrate including an impressive soft light box. He discussed and demonstrated several different lamps which could be used for various lighting effects.

The evening was organised by member Alan Butcher and was very popular, the club will be holding further technical events in the future.

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Films Shown at the June Meeting

The Edit Exercise was followed by a selection of members films which had not previously been shown at the club. These included ‘Leap Second’ by Ivan Dally a colourful and lively film about student life at Oxford, ‘Bracklesham the Return’ by Peter Frost, two film makers settle into deckchairs on the beach to chat about past antics. Jim Reed showed three films the first ‘Santa’ and the second ‘Call Centre Scam’ were both very funny and displayed Jim’s excellent editing skills. His third film a documentary on the Women’s Suffragette Movement was also a fine example of Jim’s work.

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Edit Exercise Results

The results of this years ’Edit Exercise’ were also announced at the meeting. A good varied selection of members films were shown over three categories, ‘30 Second Advert’, ‘1 Minute Epic’ and ‘6 Minute Film’. Entries were submitted by Peter Stratford, Colin Lewis, Peter Ives, Vic Stroud, Jim Reed and Ivan Dally. The films were watched and voted for by the audience on the night.
Peter Stratford won the 30 Second Advert with his film ‘Bottled Water’.

The 1 Minute Epic was won by Jim Reed’s ‘The Visitor’ and the 6 Minute Film was won by Colin Lewis’s ‘Park, Pancakes, Party and Play’.

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Sound Levels Talk

At the June club meeting, club member Dave Rayers gave a talk and presentation on how to use audio correctly when film making. The discussion covered many aspects of audio including the importance of getting the sound level correct and distortion free whilst filming so that the projectionists do not have to make corrections. You cannot presume that the sound from your camera is ok, it is best to use a dedicated microphone designed for the type of film you are making. There are no set standards for audio, it depends where you are filming and the many other ambient factors around you. Amateur film makers often cannot afford the luxury of expensive audio kit that the professionals use, but they can with a little care produce very effective sound for their films. Dave explained that when editing sound on your computer, choose a quiet room, use good ‘near field’ speakers level with your ears. Keeping an eye on the red ‘overload’ light on your audio level indicator will help you to keep a constant steady sound level. Sound is one of the most important factors of a film, it needs to be correct and Dave’s Audio presentation was well received by the audience.

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Paul Vernon Hosts the May Club Meeting with Vermijo

Paul Vernon is a member of Solent Movie Makers club which is based in Southampton and Surrey Border Movie Makers welcomed him as host of the monthly meeting in May.

Last year Paul visited the club to show members a trailer of his new Western Period Drama ‘Vermijo’ which was filmed in Arizona and won the Diamond BIAFF (British International Amateur Film Festival) Award. Surrey Border Movie members enjoyed watching the full-length film as part of a special evening. Paul answered many questions from the audience about how he made the film including the location, the actors and actresses some of whom appear regularly in local Wild West Shows, costumes, props and stunts all of which he needed to source to make the film as authentic looking as possible. Paul had also made a ‘behind the scenes’ film which showed the light-hearted side of making ‘Vermijo’. The evening was a great success especially as some of the Surrey Border Movie members decided to join Paul in dressing up in cowboy attire for the event.

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May Club Night

After the break Peter Frost showed the club his very amusing ‘Making of Up, Up and Away’ which is club Secretary Rita Wheelers film entry for the Impact 50 Screenwriting Competition. The actual film of ‘Up, Up and Away’ featuring actor Gary Comerford and Surrey Borders club member Brian O’Connell was also shown at the end of the evening.

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Rehearsing the Impact 50 Scriptwriting Film

In early March film club members braved the adverse weather conditions to film the technical rehearsal for club Secretary Rita Wheeler’s entry for The Impact 50 Scriptwriting film ‘Up Up and Away’. At least a dozen members of the club gathered in a snowy and muddy field in Crondall to film some of the more challenging shots required for the finished film. The actual main filming went ahead at the end of March and is now being edited for submission into the Create 50 – The Impact feature film competition.

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Exciting New Spitfire Film Previewed

Surrey Border Movie Makers were honoured to be shown clips from David Fairhead’s new film ‘Spitfire’ which is due to be released in July. David is a very talented film Editor and Produced and Co Directed the film with his friend Anthony Palmer. David is a local Rushmoor resident and the idea of making the Feature Documentary came from a meeting three years ago over a pint in the Barley Mow pub at Tilford.

In the film veteran spitfire pilots speak candidly and emotionally about their personal experiences flying these iconic planes in WW2. The average age of the pilots being interviewed in the documentary is 94, when they flew in the war most of them were just 19 years old. The Battle of Britain Fighter Organisation gave permission for the interviews to take place.
The film uses incredible air to air footage taken by specialist Aerial Photographer John Dibbs using a very expensive 4K camera mounted on a helicopter. Four ground crew cameramen were used for filming on a grass runway at Bicester Airfield. RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, Dunkeswell Airfield in Honiton and Beachy Head in East Sussex were also sourced as ideal filming locations. A team from Rolls Royce were on hand to ensure that all safety issues were adhered to.
Lots of research had to be done to produce this film and it took 18 months to put a trailer together to enable funds to be raised to make the documentary possible, it is not just about a very special aeroplane, it is a personal and touching film about the pilots who flew Spitfires and the ground crew who guided them through combat.

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Surrey Border make film for the Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service

During early Summer of 2017 Surrey Border Movie Makers were approached to make a training film for Woking Police Station. The club agreed to make the film and in July the AAVS Project (Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service) was filmed by club members Philip Morley and John Mills. It wasn’t without it challenges as it was filmed in Woking Police Station’s Custody Suite which had very limited space and security on site was obviously very high. Woking Police Station supplied a list of the shots required, the script and the actors, actual members of the AAVS played their own roles. The film was shown at the February club meeting. It was a very successful project for the club and the film will be shown for training purposes around the country by the police.

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Tips on using a Mobile Phone for Filming

Anyone with a smart phone can use it to make a very successful movie and this was demonstrated by John Mills at Surrey Borders February meeting. There are now many add on gadgets available to enhance movie making with your phone, microphones (with wind covers if needed), zoom lenses and tripods etc. are available, they are good quality and a reasonable price. To keep his phone filming kit compact John suggested using a small ‘man bag’ which will hold all of your phone accessories and is less bulky than some of the conventional camera bags. When movie making with a smart phone the importance of getting the ‘white balance’ correct was discussed, and like standard video camera filming it is important to create a ‘story board’ beforehand as this will save time. John presented a short film made on a mobile phone to show the audience what could be achieved.

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Self Funded Feature Film Premieres in Guildford

After two years of video shoots in four counties, followed by months of editing, Brian O’Connell was able to launch his World War ll period feature film Sarah’s War at Guildford’s Electric Theatre in a grand Premiere screening to a packed house.  In true Hollywood style it was not only a black tie and ‘diamonds’ event but also an Award Ceremony that Hollywood would have been proud of in its presentation.

Brian is a local resident and a member of Surrey Border Movie Makers (SBMM) based in Farnham and has been helped by a dedicated team of members in all aspects of the shoots, aiding the professional actors and crew members to minimise time and cost, although his self funded budget was substantial for a private production.

Further more a ‘Premiere’ team of members on the night also prepared posters, a leaflet giving background to the actors and production, a red carpet interview of cast members conducted by Katie Lewis, who has interviewed on the red carpet in London’s West End for BBC Films, and the grand Awards Ceremony on screen video created by Philip Morley of SBMM that featured each actor and crew member as they came on stage to be given their award by Writer, Producer, Director Brian O’Connell.

Sarah’s War was shown in two halves with an interval, its overall running time being 1 hour 50 minutes, and was rapturously applauded both after the first half and at the end with a standing ovation.  It was gratifying too, that during the Awards, the audience greeted each cast and crew member with enthusiastic applause and cheering, especially the leading actors, Paul Antony-Barber, a renowned film actor playing Sarah’s grandfather, Simon Christian as Klaus Bergman, a German Nazi officer who holds Sarah and her grandfather hostage on board a boat during the war, and the leading lady and title role of Sarah Harris, played by Lily Smith.

Simon and Lily are both graduates of the Guildford School of Acting, as is another cast member, Gillian Taylforth who played Agnes in the film.  These talented young actors accomplished some very tense, tender and aggressive moments in the film, especially when the locations presented challenges in their own right.  And they returned to their roles over the two year period, getting back into character after long breaks which, as Lily commented during her interview, is not so easy but it’s what actors must learn to do.

It is a credit to Brian O’Connell, the cast and crew, both professional and SBMM members, who recreated the WWll atmosphere of the Hamble Estuary in wartime so effectively, helped by Director of Photography, Théo Clark’s camera work  in some very low light and extremely confined spaces.  The aftermath of the war brings Sarah a cruel and relentless personal battle, set in 1940s styled locations, when the palpable struggle of a single mother in censorious post war England finds that her only hope lies with the Nazi that once nearly took her life.

As a notable film maker, Script Writer, Producer and Director, Brian can now look back on this mammoth effort with considerable satisfaction and pride.

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Annual Movie Competition

The annual Club Members Competition had twelve entries for 2017. Amongst this year’s films were Documentaries, Holiday’s, Comedies, a Wedding, a visual Sound Poem and a Musical Fantasy. Two new club members Peter Stratford and Patric Hinde both entered films. Peters film ‘Chinese New Year 2017 in Hong Kong’ was full of interesting facts and good camerawork, it won the ‘Best First Time Winner’ trophy and also Best Use of Sound. Patric Hinde who is an MGBGT enthusiast as well as a keen film maker created a 1min comedy about his beloved car which the audience enjoyed.

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Annual Movie Competition Results

There were ten trophies and the winners were: Best Holiday Film won by Colin Lewis for ‘Highlights of Cape Town’, this film also won Colin the Best Commentary trophy.

Best Photography won by Peter Frost for ‘The Dawning’ filmed at Newlands Corner in Guildford, Peter also won the Best Creative Award and the film was voted The Best Overall, so quite an achievement. Best Documentary won by Alan Butcher for his film ‘Hog’s Back Brewery’, Alan also won Best Camerawork for this film about the creation of the new Revival Hop Garden in Tongham and the hop harvesting and processing filmed on the Hampton Estate in Farnham. Best Editing was awarded to Gillian Gatland for her film ‘The Laxey Wheel’ a huge waterwheel built into the hillside of Laxey on the Isle of Man, Gillian explained the origins of the wheel and its brilliant engineering. The Highly Commended Certificate went to Philip Morley for his film ‘Barry’s Line in the Sky’ about New Zealander Barry Brickell who was a potter, writer and conservationist who built the narrow gauge ‘Driving Creek Railway’ on his 60-acres of land through some very challenging terrain.

The Competition judges all from Solent Movie Makers were ‘Chairman’ Jeremy Holder who has made several winning documentaries, Mike Power a professional photography specialist who has also won many film competitions and Paul Vernon a keen Photographer who now uses his skills to make very successful western films. They all agreed that the Surrey Border Movie Makers entries this year were of a very high standard and the club is grateful for their excellent judging and critique.

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