'Mothman' is April 2020's Film of the Month winner

01 May 2020 in Film of the Month

7 mins
'Mothman' is April 2020's Film of the Month winner

We are delighted to announce that the April 2020 winner of our Film of the Month competition is Mothman from filmmaker Ben in Inverness - see his winning film above. 

Mothman (engaging for ages 11+) is an imaginative short that follows a young man with a peculiar affinity to light, and is  perfect example of what you can achieve with filmmaking right at home.

A unique subject to turn into a film! Very well put together and leaves the audience wanting to know more!

Film of the Month judge on 'Mothman'

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

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

Thank you very much! I've been making films for around 7 years now. I started creating stop-motion short films after my art teacher showed me some work from her past pupils and the work they had created really inspired me. After a few months of animation I decided to create live action films. This was also around the time I joined secondary school. That's when I met the main actor for Mothman, David, and we have been creating short films since.

Where did the idea for Mothman come from?

 At the time of creating the film I was applying for Napier University in Edinburgh. The theme was Bright and it had to be no longer than 3 minutes. I'd originally planned to do an Alien abduction film. However, realising I had no budget and limited time to produce this film, I decided to change my idea. When thinking of what I could change it. The montage at the beginning of the film Up sprung to mind and was a major inspiration for me. I felt that montage sequence was the perfect way for me to practise improving my cinematography and storytelling.

You also composed the music for Mothman. Can you tell us about your evocative soundtrack?

One of the major inspirations for Mothman was the 2009 film Up. The music in the montage scene at the beginning evokes so much emotion to the viewer and I felt that without it the scene would be less effective. So the music was pretty much the first thing I was thinking of finding when making my film. I wanted to create a piece of music that would be the main driving force of the film. Filmstro I realised was my best option; it allowed me to pick a song and then let me alter the momentum, depth and power of the piece so it would fit with the short film. It allowed me to do so many things and was crucial for creating the soundtrack.

What were some of the challenges making Mothman?

A whole scene had to be removed and then replaced on the day. The scene in the bathroom was completely made up on the spot and was originally supposed to be a lamppost he couldn't reach. However, the house we were filming in was nowhere near any lampposts and we only had 3 hours to shoot the film.

What has the feedback been like from people who have seen your film?

People have been incredibly kind and constructive when giving me feedback about my film. I'm very fortunate to have friends who are honest with me so I understand what areas I have to improve on so I can make better films in the future. I also showed my short film to my film teacher, Drew Tremlett. Hearing from a person who is incredibly knowledgeable about films was really beneficial for me for future projects.

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

I would invest more time into the visual effects. The final shots like the news report or plane scene could have been done better and because of this it took me out of the film, they seem quite rough. So I would probably spend more time on them next time or ask for help from someone who has more experience in VFX.

Are there any films or filmmakers who influenced your work on Mothman

As I said previously, Up by Pete Doctor was incredibly important in the making of this film. This film was me testing an area of film I'd never really been to before. One of my main inspirations is Guy Ritchie, especially his earlier films like Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels so creating a film like Mothman was incredibly different but refreshing for me.

What three tips would you give to a young filmmaker who's about to make their first short film?

Know your limits - I wish I would have been told this when I started out but when thinking of your first film try to create something that is achievable to you. You may be wanting to create a giant war scene but most likely you don't have the budget to do that. If it's just you and your camera, create something that can be made with just that and build a solid foundation so that when it comes time in the future to create the giant war scene you have a solid foundation and can do it to the very best of your ability.

Write down every idea - I constantly write down film ideas, TV plots and any film based idea that pops into your head. Just put it down on your phone. These ideas that may not be able to be created now could be done in the future. It could be the next big thing you never know.

Connections - Meeting other people who want to get into the industry is crucial. This is what I've been fed since I started making films and it has been especially apparent to me this year. I started a filming course recently and from just meeting and getting to know the people there my work has increased 10 fold. It's becoming clear to me now that even if you are the most talented and skilled if you don't have connections you may not get the job. So take the time to get to know others near you who may want to do the same thing as you. You will learn a lot from them as well.

Ben'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 their 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 Mothman then make sure to check out the following films:

  • The Red Balloon (1956, U, 34 mins) Engaging for ages 5+
    This much-loved French film that features almost no dialogue is about a young and his beloved toy balloon.
  • The Truman Show (1998, PG, 99 mins) Engaging for ages 11+
    Jim Carrey stars in this fascinating, existential satire about a man who discovers his whole life is a reality TV show.
  • Up (2009, U, 98 mins) Engaging for ages 5+
    A breathtaking animation from Pixar studios about a a grieving widower who evades eviction by attaching balloons to his home and floating away.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013, PG, 110 mins) Engaging for ages 11+
    When daydreamer Walter's job at a magazine is threatened he embarks on a global journey that turns into an extraordinary adventure.

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