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We are delighted to announce that the July 2021 winner of our Film of the Month competition is One-Minute Man, from young filmmaker Tom in Buckinghamshire.
This is an amazingly edited and tight piece of filmmaking - so clever to pace the shots with the drum beats, and incredibly slick the way it is carried out.Film of the month judge on 'One-Minute Man'
One-Minute Man (engaging for ages 11+) is a stylish, noir thriller that plays out in real time, as an assassin has just 60 seconds to neutralise his target. Watch the winning film above!
Please note:One-Minute Man contains images of weaponry and their implied use.
We got in touch with Tom to find out more about his film.
Thank you so much! I began making short films in February of 2020, just as the pandemic hit. I had been interested in filmmaking for around five months at the time, and the act of creating art in general for my entire life, but I only managed to motivate myself when I had nothing else to do. In a time of uncertainty and fear, I found myself at my most creatively inspired.
I made around 15 short films from February 2020 to December 2020, all of which I can say I loved making. I have always been interested in creating, to some degree. For a time I wanted to be an animator, an author and an actor, but nothing stuck. As my admiration for film, and the artists behind it, grew during the end of 2019, I found myself feeling genuinely amazed and inspired by the art and process of filmmaking.
Wanting to experiment and try out the craft for myself, I created and released my first short film Behind The 8 Ball to the public. Instantly, I was hooked - more than I ever had been by a type of artistic expression. It was during this time where I realised that filmmaking was the path I felt as if I was always meant to follow.
Although a group of specific films, such as Fantastic Mr Fox and Memento, grew my interest in film, I believe my love for film has always been in my heart. It was only went I turned 13 when I finally saw this.
The concept of One-Minute Man was spawned from a combination of two ideas of mine. I have always been interested in using the runtime of a short film to place emphasis on the narrative of the film, and I would still like to use this concept in future projects to varying degrees, and I found myself able to utilise this idea when I found a film festival with a competition category of short films one minute long or less.
I have also been fascinated and in love with the noir genre of film for as long as I could remember. The mysterious and morally conflicted protagonists, the unusual colour grading and the enigma-packed narratives are all aspects of noir which I have been dying to utilise in a project.
When presented with this new category for a film festival, I grew inspired, leading me to combine these ideas in my head and the result was One-Minute Man!
I've always loved movies which last after the credits roll. The kinds of films which make the audiences think and consider what they have just seen. It's these kinds of movies that inspire conversations and theories amongst the audience. I did my best to achieve this with One-Minute Man. I attempted to create a one minute film which made the viewer, even if only for a brief moment, think about the ending of the movie, and the true meaning behind it.
Cinema, and the act of filmmaking, is like a language to me, only, in ways, much more complex. At its core, I believe that all films, regardless of genre or target audience, have been created to communicate and express an idea, belief or opinion of the writer or director behind it.
Sometimes in life, words aren't complex and fluid enough to truly express how you're feeling. There are times when we feel as if we can never truly explain the emotions or thoughts that are taking too much space in our brains. Art, in any form, is a therapeutic way of expressing these feelings.
Filmmaking has no rules, no guidelines, no limitations to what you can achieve and what stories you can tell. It's a way of utilising the crazy - oftentimes frightening - things we feel inside and turning them into something beautiful, something magical. Creating movies has turned into a form of therapy and expression for me, because of this. It's given me the freedom to say what I want without the limitations and barriers of language. Nothing has ever come close to bringing me the peace and joy that filmmaking has.
Being the only person involved with the production of a film is something that I've become used to. During the prime months of quarantine, the time in my life where I filmed the most movies, I couldn't meet up with friends and create films with them. As much as I would have liked to spend time with my friends making movies, I feel that being my own actor, writer, director and editor has been somewhat of a self-taught school for me.
It's given me the opportunity to allow me to fully indulge in my own mind, allowing me to create whatever I truly wanted without anybody else's ideas. Working alone forced me into teaching myself how to do everything, especially editing, which I initially wasn't interested in doing. Being my own editor gave me a newfound appreciation for the art, and is now perhaps the part of filmmaking which I enjoy the most!
However, working alone does indeed come with its unique set of problems and flaws. Me being the only brain on set gives me complete artistic control, which is liberating at times, and at other times its a cage. I've worked with other people on a select few of my past projects, and it allowed for unique, powerful ideas to be thrown around which I would have never come up with on my own. Working with others is fun, exciting and an incredibly social task which relies on complete and total trust and cooperation, something you would never get when working with you and yourself only.
Making One-Minute Man completely alone (besides my sister holding the camera during one sequence) presented itself with challenges which I could only truly achieve with the help of others. Sometimes working alone is a dream come true, while other times it can be lonely and tiresome.
Linking directly back to the last answer I gave, one thing I'd do differently is enlist the help of others. I truly believe that this film would have been 100 times better with the help of others. A more fitting actor and help and support behind the scenes would have resulted in a much more effective film in every aspect.
I would have also liked to (hear me out!) possibly make the film longer than one minute! Although I feel that the one minute runtime allowed for the film to feel much more connected to the narrative, I feel as if a longer runtime would have gave the narrative itself more room to grow and flourish. The lack of any elaboration or explanation to narrative can be creatively freeing and intriguing to the viewer, but I feel as if it is required to some extent in order to further invest your viewers and not talk down to them. A longer runtime would have allowed me to do this. (Obviously, I would have to change the name! Ten-Minute Man just doesn't sound as good though…)
I borrowed a few concepts and ideas from other films and filmmakers for One-Minute Man.
Although his films could not be more tonally and thematically different from my film, the work of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar inspired my film, primarily in terms of my editing. Almodóvar's films each have a unique sense of playfulness and imagination, represented in both the narrative and the editing. The editing in One-Minute Man is massively inspired by the oddball, speedy cuts and transitions in Almodóvar's work.
Kill Bill (both volumes), directed by Quentin Tarantino, was also a massive inspiration for me, stylistically and narratively speaking. Not only was the snappy and powerful use of editing something which influenced my project, but the themes of violence, revenge and the assassin plot points were all things which I tried my best to apply into my work.
Finally, another notable film which influenced One-Minute Man is You Were Never Really Here. Inspiring both my focus on hitmen, and the ambiguous ending which I applied, You Were Never Really Here provided me with the creative inspiration I needed to create the film.
Watch movies! Watch different kinds of movies. Watch action films, classic films, foreign films, horror films, noir films, anything you can get your hands on. Not only will this provoke and increase your passion and love for films, but it will also introduce you to new and exciting sections of the medium which will allow you to grow as a filmmaker. I've borrowed many different things, from plot points to stylistic choices, from all kinds of wildly different films
Forget about equipment. Almost all of my short films have been filmed using the iPhone in my pocket, and it doesn't even matter. Work with what you have. Focus on the story and content of the film first, and the equipment second.
My third and final tip is to stop looking for tips! If you want to make a movie, don't search and seek answers from those who you feel are better than you. You could become the world's greatest film director, but the first step is picking up your camera and filming. Learn from your own experiences as a filmmaker, because they are the most valuable lessons you will ever learn.
Tom'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 One-Minute Man then make sure to check out the following films:
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