Film Reviews


Buxton Film relaunched their annual Short Film competition at the Fringe with a screening of the ten films ranging across a wide variety of genres, that had been selected from entries submitted by filmmakers with a link to Buxton or the Peak District.

Family was a common theme across some of the strongest films in the competition. Troubled relationships between parents and children featured in the touching West Hill directed by Alex Hughes, in which a young man returns to the family farm to help his father and overcome their shared grief, and also in Through the Larkin Glass, featuring Helen Grady and Michael Grady-Hall, where a son makes an awkward visit home to his mother but they find a bond through the infamous first lines of a Larkin poem.

Conor Muir’s House by the Sea was shot in atmospheric black and white and had some genuinely spooky moments as a woman returns to her hometown to sort out her grandad’s house. One of the most original films was Isobel Timms’ film Forever, a collage of old childhood footage woven together with narration and music forming a moving tale about her bond with her mother through difficult times.

Two beautifully shot films made the Peak District itself the focus of the film, David Hudson’s One Grain of Sand featured climbing and walking through an autumn and winter, while Aiden Rhodes’ The Magic of Water celebrated how water shapes the landscape to the poetry of Mark Johnson read by Gordon MacLellan.

Rhode was also part of the collective of young filmmakers from HOME Cinema BFI Film Academy who made the very funny Mrs Rellik about a naïve detective interviewing nice Mrs Rellik about a series of disappearances. And there were plenty more laughs to be had in the comedies in the programme. A personal favourite was Adam Meet Eve from Glossop-based filmmaker Owain Paciuszko, an original tale about the difficulties Adam has plucking up the courage to speak to Eve; it had a playful aesthetic very different to anything else in the competition and a nice twist at the end.

Also with a very distinct aesthetic was the Flaming Gazette, with it’s sepia-tinged look at trolling through the pages of the local paper in the 1950s. The Crown Jewels from High Peak Community Arts Film Cuts Club was a riot of fun as Kermit is framed for the theft of the crown jewels, it must have been a treat for the kids in the club, and indeed all the filmmakers to see their work on a big screen.

There was an audience of over 100 in for the screening, and it’s a tribute to Buxton Film whose carefully curated programme of films every Monday night in Buxton throughout the year has built such a loyal following. Much of that is down to the much-missed Keith Savage, and it is appropriate that the audience award is named after him. I look forward to finding out who wins that prize as well as the Jury’s selection. Whatever is chosen, it will have been a tough decision.

Stephen Walker


This was the first screening of this new film produced by two of home grown ‘Threes Company’, which has developed a reputation for good quality entertainment at Buxton Fringe over the years.

On the face of it ‘Road Tripping’ is a 20-minute film about young men on a journey, but there is much more beneath the surface. The two are played by talented local boy Michael Grady-Hall and Tom Clegg. Shot in the Peak District, the film follows a pair of old school friends setting off on a physically short trip that takes them a long way together. They laugh, sing, cry, shout, get lost, fall over, share truths, and take a leap of faith. The audience is drawn into their relationship and their lives, sharing their clumsy moments, and moments of recognition.

Yaz Al-Shaater, who wrote and produced it, asked the audience for feedback and plans to keep tweaking the film in response for further showings on 18th, 22nd and 23rd July; he hinted that a final version may be screened next year. Whilst still a ‘work in progress’ this insightful little film packs a punch. It will be interesting to see how the film and Yaz as a film maker develop.

Jean Ball