Anna Bant’s Abode shortlisted for The Cinemagic Young Filmaker Festival
BA (Hons) Film & TV student Anna Bant has had considerable success with her film ‘Abode’ which has been shortlisted for The Cinemagic Young Filmaker Festival. Having already won ‘Best Student Short’ at The London Shorts Film Festival and the audience vote at Castaway Goole Online Film Festival and nominated for festivals including The Paus Film Festival (which you can read about here). This shortlisting has seen Abode stand out against 500 other short films and reach the top four of the competition.We caught up with Anna about the film festival and her current projects.
Tell us about the Cinemagic Film Festival and how you got involved?
The Cinemagic Young Filmmaker festival is for filmmakers under 25 years old to submit their films and gain access to industry talks and workshops. This festival has been running for 32 years! I got involved by submitting ‘Abode’ via FilmFreeway and we were shortlisted for the drama category. I was invited on a zoom call to explain the synopsis of the film and to give some more information on the creation of the short. This was really cool as I found out that ‘Abode’ and 4 other films were nominated out of 500 films!
How does it feel to be shortlisted?
It’s awesome that Abode has been nominated for this specific festival as the film entries are from all over Northern Ireland and England. The festival will take place in October and the winners will be announced, so our fingers are crossed! Abode has won other awards this year which makes me feel so proud for my crew and cast. It means that we are all one step closer to finding how/what we want to make as storytellers and filmmakers which is fun finding our niche.
Can you describe your film and the process of making it?
‘Abode’ is a short drama film about a young woman, Becky Bromwell, who has just escaped her abusive partner. After confronting her friend, she finds herself venturing the streets in rejection from society. This leads to her questioning where her humble abode really is. It involves topics such as homelessness, abusive relationships, drug use and broken friendships.
I pitched for Abode at the beginning of my second year basing it on the true events of Prince Rupert Hotel where rough sleepers were staying during the pandemic and then became kitchen staff working at the hotel. Quite a few drafts later, we had the final version of Abode and prepared for production. It was quite smooth sailing – as much as any film production usually is, there was obviously some technical issues and we wanted to make sure we told the story right – but when filming in the second lockdown (November 2020) we had to overcome some production issues with Covid as some of my cast and crew had to isolate for 2 weeks.
What were the challenges that you overcame when filming?
Other problems we faced were with members of the public when filming at night, but this made us aware of how important this concept was to show to an audience as we found out their opinions on female homelessness and rough sleepers. We edited the film constantly through production after most shoots to make sure we were on track for the deadline but also to make sure the film turned out the way we all wanted. This felt very thorough, instead of leaving it till the end to do all the sound, sound effects, colour grading and cut. We could see the product coming together. Towards the end we also made podcasts with the crew and cast and explained more in depth about the issues and meaning behind the film and how we managed in the process of making it. Then from there, I submitted Abode to a few festivals and we have been successful with showing it to different audiences as well as winning awards which is just the cherry on top of the cake!
Tell us about the projects you are working on, how you want to develop your practice?
At the moment, I am working on my FMP idea which will be pitched soon. I will be looking into the drama genre again, focusing on topics of sexual harassment, deception and misunderstanding. I want to develop my practice as a director as ‘Abode’ was only a 6-minute length film and I would like to have the opportunity before I leave the Northern Art to direct a longer piece of 20-30 min short film.
How is The Northern School of Art special for you?
Directing my first short has made my confidence grow in my skills massively. I could feel a difference from first starting out here in first year to when I was on set in second year handling different aspects of the production. The Northern Art is special to me as it has offered loads of opportunities for my interest in directing…from 30 second adverts to a broadcasted live 1-hour long TV episode. Aside from education and working with talented individuals, The Northern Art will always be special to me as I have made a strong friendship with another person on another course, which has been awesome as she has helped me loads through my university experience and she also featured in Abode, voluntarily as an actor and SFX artist. We’ve made each other’s experience an even better one by helping one another, growing as individuals, and living together!
Any advice for future creatives?
I would say just go for it. Whether that’s socialising with new people or creating a concept or questioning your own skills. It can be difficult at times and you may need to refocus but you have to keep going and push yourself. If you feel comfortable then I think you’re not achieving everything you possibly can.
You can keep up to date with Anna’s work on her instagram @annabant_creates!
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