'Alan Turing' is our latest Film of the Month winner

02 Jul 2019 in Film of the Month

7 mins
'Alan Turing' is our latest Film of the Month winner

We're delighted to announce that our latest Film of the Month winner is animated biopic Alan Turing, from filmmaker Sonny in Glasgow. Watch the winning film above.

Engaging for ages 11+, Alan Turing is an engrossing animation on the fascinating yet tragic life of mathematician Alan Turing, known as the father of modern day computing, but who was prosecuted by the UK government for being gay at a time when homosexuality was criminalised.

So well done. This film was engaging, interesting and flowed really well. Interesting (and sad) facts were shared in such a way that you're left wanting to research and find out more about the subject.

Film of the Month Judge on 'Alan Turing'

We got in touch with Sonny to find out more about his film.

Congratulations on winning Film of the Month. How long have you been making films and how did you start?

When I was 3 my mum gave me her old digital camera and put it on video mode and I did stuff like line up my toy cars and drove them back and forth past the camera. When I was three and a half my brother Harry was born and from the minute he could walk I put him in all of my films. I have videos of him when he was three years old fighting invisible dinosaurs. Later when I was eight my Auntie got me an animation kit and that's when I got into stop frame films. My friend Jed loves acting and we enjoy making films together including a Christmas horror movie.

What gave you the inspiration to create an animated film about Alan Turing?

I loved the TV show Sherlock and I was looking up films that Benedict Cumberbatch was in and came across The Imitation Game. I asked around my class who knew about Alan Turing and surprisingly only one person knew of him. Then, about two months later, we were asked to make a presentation, artwork or film about a scientist's life, so Alan Turing seemed like an obvious choice.

You manage to fit so much information about Turing's life into two and a half minutes! How did you choose what to include?

I picked the bits of his life story that made me want to ask more questions and that showed him taking a stand and making a difference. The part to me that best illustrated his determination was when he was around my age and cycled sixty miles to get to school.

How many frames did you draw for this film, and how did you stay motivated with so much work needed to finish your film?

I did most of it at 12fps (frames per second - 12 pictures for every 1 second of film) with a few at 30fps which meant over 1,700 drawings. I managed to complete this film by thinking about how Turing had cracked the enigma and that if he could do that, then I could make a film to spread the word about his life and the amazing things he has done.

You composed the music too - can you tell us a little about that?

I really love music in general but when it is used correctly in film it is really powerful. I made the music on GarageBand and I think it is a really good thing for a young filmmakers to be able to do, especially if you don't really have a music budget. The idea behind the music was that in some places it sounds a lot like the machine (the bombe) that cracked the enigma; its a bit grimy, oily and ugly. In others it has a kind of light orchestra feel.

How difficult was it for you to get timings right between the visuals and the music?

I really did try to choreograph it so that it would be a case of the shot changes and so does the music, but I'm not great at matching the soundtrack to the shot, so it ended up like it is.

If you could make Alan Turing again what would you do differently, and why?

I would try and choreograph the music better, and this was the first animation I have done that wasn't stop motion, so at the start of the film you can actually see a difference in the drawing style. I would try and do that differently.

What advice would you give to a young person about to make their first animated short?

Start by story-boarding your idea like a comic. The app I used to make this film was called FlipaClip. 

Start with the more simple scenes and then move onto the harder ones. Most animation apps don't have an editing function so it works out well if you export your clips onto an editing app. I think it is really helpful to listen to music while animating.

But the most important thing to remember is that you can do whatever you want if you care about your film and you put 100% effort into it.

Sonny's film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and all of our Film of the Month films are now on the Into Film YouTube channel, and he has also secured a £100 Amazon voucher to help further develop his future films. Think you could win Film of the Month? Find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you've been inspired by Alan Turing then make sure to check out the following films:

  • The Imitation Game (2014, 12, 109 mins) Engaging for 11+
    Historical drama about mathematician Alan Turing, looking particularly at his groundbreaking contribution to England's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. 
  • Victim (1961, 12, 96 mins) Engaging for 16+
    Made in 1961, when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, this drama sees a gay lawyer fighting against a blackmailer targeting gay London men. 
  • Their Finest (2016, 12, 117 mins) Engaging for 11+
    During World War II, a young woman discovers she has an inspiring way with words when she is taken on as a scriptwriter for propaganda films. 
  • The Breadwinner (2017, 12, 93 mins) Engaging for 11+
    Afghanistan-set animation in which a young girl disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family after her father is unjustly arrested.

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