'Bonfires' is our latest of Film of the Month

01 Jan 2024 in Film of the Month

4 mins
'Bonfires' is our latest of Film of the Month

We are delighted to reveal our latest Film of the Month winner Bonfires, following the story of two brothers who get caught up in an illegal dumping scheme. Written and directed by Ralph, from Somerset and produced by Somerset Film. Plus a special mention to Watcher, a chilling tale by Harper, from London.

Bonfires (suitable for ages 14+) follows the story of two brothers who get caught up in an illegal dumping scheme. But, as time goes on, the secrets they burn start to catch up with them.

A visually striking film shining a light on a less commonly known climate issue.

Film of the Month Judge on 'Bonfires'

We caught up with talented writer and director Ralph to find out about the process of making Bonfires.

Bonfires addresses the harmful consequences of illegal waste disposal. Can you share what inspired you to choose this theme?

So, with the film being based around bonfires and the harmful disposal of waste, what inspired me to write this script and focus the theme of the film around it was a single image I had in mind, close to where I live, there's a bonfire, and I always thought the idea of this silhouette standing in front of it was so sinister and interesting, so I branched off that and from there the script emerged!

How did you work together to bring this drama to life, and were there any challenges or breakthrough moments that stood out?

I worked with such an incredible team, who are truly genuine and kind people and none of what the film is would have been possible without them. We faced a lot of challenges, but the one that scared me a lot was I originally had cast another person to play George (The older brother), but a week or two before shooting, the actor had to leave the production. However, and fortunately, the actor's younger brother stepped forward and took on the role and he did a phenomenal job.

What would you say to aspiring filmmakers hoping to use film to address social and environmental issues?

What I would say to aspiring filmmakers (and what I need to tell myself more!) is make what you want to make, don't let someone else influence your work and make the film the film that you want to see. The entire time I directed the film, I knew how easy it is to look away from environmental films because they can often be boring so I tried so hard to write and direct a film that was visually engaging and hopefully had an intriguing story.

A final thing I would say and I often forget myself, is you've got to forget and learn about failure. A lot of people have congratulated me and my team for the success of the film and selections in festivals, but nobody knows what we didn't get into and nobody knows what we lost! So keep pushing forward.

Looking back on the experience, what are some of key lessons you all learned? How do you see Bonfires shaping your future aspirations as filmmakers?

Looking back on the experience, I learned a lot of lessons, but the main one that I took on would be that there's not just a professional responsibility to do your role to a high standard, but there's a moral responsibility to check in on your peers, everyone on the set is a person and is there the same hours as you and everyone is tired, so always check in on your team as they're building this canvas for you to paint a picture and for that you should have the utmost respect for them.

Ralph'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, they have also secured a £100 Amazon voucher to help further develop their filmmaking. 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 Bonfires then make sure to check out the following films:

  • The Biggest Little Farm (2018) PG, 90 mins, 7+
    John and Molly decide to follow their dream of creating a sustainable farm together.
  • I Am Greta (2020) 12, 100 mins, 14+
    Now one of the world's most influential activists, Greta Thunberg remains relentless in her goal to bring awareness to environmental issues that need immediate attention.
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955) PG, 106 mins, 11+
    James Dean plays ultimate moody teen Jim Stark, the new kid in town who is soon getting in all kinds of trouble, and whose father is struggling to connect with him.
  • The Hate U Give (2018) 12, 133 mins, 14+
    Based on the critically acclaimed young adult novel written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Special Mention

Each month we highlight one runner up that we think deserves special recognition for their filmmaking achievement. This month we are excited to feature Watcher, a chilling and mysterious tale from Harper, in London.

A brilliant use of silence to build tension and sense of horror.

Film of the Month Judge on 'Watcher'

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