Life is shorts We hear from the overall winner of the inaugural Canon- and CVP-sponsored Stories in Motion short film competition, who advises there is drama to be found in the everyday, as submissions open for 2024... O pen to the UK’s fledgling filmmakers aged 18 to 25 and inviting films of between one were undertaken in post-production; plus originality in terms of subject matter.
Those shortlisted and winning in their respective categories received CVP vouchers, with the grand prize being a Canon EOS C70 camera and RF 24- 70mm f/2.8L lens. Given that the competition is returning for a second year, we thought it well worth catching up with 2023’s overall winner, Daniel Simpkins, whose one-and-a-half-minute short Farm Life also won the standalone documentary category. The judges believed his entry showcased that you don’t always need a complex topic and a longer format to tell a compelling story, with each frame a small cinematographic wonder. Fellow young winners included Luis Hindman in the music video category, for Scottish singer Joesef, plus Chas Harrington in the scripted short category for his five- minute thriller Red Room .
and five minutes in length, a new annual competition is seeking to give a leg-up and encouragement to young content creators and cinematographers. Stories in Motion is a joint initiative between Canon and pro video retailer CVP. So successful was its 2023 launch, that the call for 2024 entries is poised to go out at the time of writing. In this first year, there were three categories for entries: music video, documentary and scripted shorts. Entrants could submit films in all three categories if they wished, but were allowed just one entry per category. Judges were looking for a variety of things from the work presented: use of cinematography – in terms of lighting and camera movements; how the editing, colour and grading of the film
We wanted to know what Simpkins had been up to since his initial success and how the win might have influenced his future direction. “All a bit surreal...” is how he describes bagging the top prize, a few months on. “I hadn’t really entered anything along those lines before, so winning was a big surprise. I work in a rental facility for camera equipment – Focus Canning, previously known as Focus 24 – and just shoot when I can.” Having been encouraged by his colleagues, friends and family, Simpkins recalls that he took to filming his mini documentary more or less in secret, choosing his farming cousin, Jeff, as his subject so there would be less pressure involved with his first attempt. “I suffer from anxiety and low confidence,” he adds. “Being a perfectionist, you never feel you’re ’good enough.’ But I had friends who saw the footage and said: ’You have to do something with this.’ They really pushed me to finish and make it into a short film.” Involving an initial day’s shooting plus one more when he returned to the Cotswolds farm to record audio, the end result “cost me next to nothing as I made it with my friends. I have two friends who work as editors and they were able to give me further advice. Altogether there were around three to four days of post- production involved.
SPARK YOUR INSPIRATION The competition aims to give a boost to young filmmakers
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