'Identity' is May 2018's winner of Film of the Month

18 Jun 2018

8 mins
'Identity' is May 2018's winner of Film of the Month

We're delighted to announce that Identity is May 2018's winner of our Film of the Month competition, as made by Scarlett, Stella, and Millie from West Sussex.

Identity (Engaging for 14+) is a nuanced and brilliantly edited film where the audience is put in the shoes of a young basketball player who is tired of putting on a façade. You can watch Identity above, but please be aware that this film has one instance of mild swearing.

This film uses some amazing editing techniques that really capture the internal struggle that the protagonist is going through.

Film of the Month judge on 'Identity'

We got in touch with the filmmakers to ask them more about Identity.

Congratulations! How does it feel to win Film of the Month?

We feel shocked, amazed and extremely proud to have won May 2018 Film of the Month! This is the first film competition we have entered, so to win came as huge surprise that we are very grateful for.

How long have you been making films, and how did you start?

Scarlett: I have always been fascinated by cameras and the filmmaking process. I remember using my old family camera before the age of 10 to film whatever I thought was interesting! But I didn't start properly making moving images until I was 14, when I took up Creative Digital Media Production BTEC at GCSE. As part of my coursework we were asked to make an advert for the school. I hugely enjoyed the course as I was never academic throughout early education until Year 10, and the subject brought out my creativity, and most importantly taught me I didn't need to be good at maths or science in order to be "clever"; I could be just as talented and passionate about something through an art. 

Stella: I've grown up in a family of film fanatics, so you could say film has been with me since the beginning. I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to practically making films and studying it. I first started making and studying films at college when I took film studies and am continuing to take filmmaking at UWE Bristol, so hopefully here is the beginning of something that I'll be passionately pursuing for my career in life. Moving from being a film fan to now understanding the makings and foundation of film, it truly is an amazing process in which I'm joyous to be transitioning into more and more everyday.

Millie: I've been making amateur films since I was much younger, using old digital cameras to make short actions films and putting together footage of random events, which led to me really enjoying photography. I started getting into it when I was 15 during GCSEs where I had to make a short documentary. From then I have been making short films of things I've done, as well as projects for school and college.

Where did you get the idea for Identity?

The original idea for Identity was created by Stella, which we all adapted with our own ideas. Stella saw a picture of actor Andrew Garfield on the poster of the stage show Angels in America, and immediately thought about how it made her feel. We didn't want to make something we would be unable to relate to as well as others. We as teenagers ourselves are surrounded by males in our social circles and in education, and feel they do not get the attention they deserve in terms of personal issues. We wanted a character that was out of the mainstream, in order to create something new and different. 

What made you want to focus on a male character?

It is a typical expectation to see female protagonists within films struggle with their identity, and we felt that males do not get the attention they deserve for it is not just a female issue. Suicide is one of the highest causes of death in young men, and this is mainly to do with the lack of media representation of non-hypermasculine men. This was in the forefront of our minds when making the film, we have a lot of male friends and therefore it was a personal decision to have a male protagonist in order to highlight issues men experience. We chose to leave the film open for a lot of boys to be able to relate to it, we never state whether he has a mental health issue, whether he is struggling with his sexuality or is dealing with home issues etc. The more relateable it is, the more you can attract an audience.

What would was your biggest learning experience while making the film?

We think that one of our biggest learning experiences was receiving constructive criticism from teachers and also support from film lecturers at university interviews. It was difficult to plan the film shoots around our college timetables, and this taught us that communication and awareness of the pre-production process is vital for a successful film, especially one that's close to our hearts.

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

We think we should have spent more time preparing the end sequence, and sorting a transition into the second life he lives.

What advice would you give to young people who are about to make their first film?

With your first film it's important to have fun and create something you can relate to. The more you film, the more techniques you will pick up and you will eventually find your own style. Always remember it is an art, and in order for people to enjoy your film you must enjoy creating it, it isn't supposed to be stressful.

What are some of your favourite films, and have they influenced Identity in any way?

Some of our favourite films are Harry PotterMoonlight and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which all include a male protagonist. Call Me By Your Name is a film going against the mainstream ideologies in society but is set in a time when they wouldn't be accepted. Billy Elliot also was a heavy influence due to a male protagonist going against what his family and society expects of him.

Identity will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and on the Into Film YouTube channel, and the filmmakers have won a £100 Amazon voucher and a DVD! If you've been inspired by June's winner, find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you enjoyed Identity, why not try these related films? 

  • Moonlight (2016, 15, 111mins) Engaging for 14+
    Split into three parts, this is a beautiful coming-of-age drama about a young Black boy from a poor Miami neighbourhood coming to terms with his sexuality. Strikingly lit with blue and purple hues, and featuring an eclectic soundtrack, this is undoubtedly one of the visual inspirations behind Identity.
  • Fish Tank (2009, 15, 120mins) Engaging for 14+
    This atmospheric film follows a rebellious teenager who find solace in dance while dealing with a neglectful and a turbulent family life.
  • The Fits (2015, 12, 72mins) Engaging for 14+
    This story follows 11 year-old Joni, who helps her older brother with cleaning a boxing gym but who is eager to join the drill dance troupe that holds its practices there. Dream-like sequences capture Joni's imagination and determination to fulfil her dream.
  • Billy Elliot (2000, 15, 110mins) Engaging for 14+
    Classic British film set in the 1980s, about a young boy from a northern town who goes against conventions by discovering a passion for ballet dancing instead of boxing. 

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