Monday, September 17, 2012


The weekend of the 8th & 9th of September saw the launch of Leeds' first DIY and experimental film festival No/Gloss. As a big fan of film festivals with half-an-eye on experimental film this was pretty exciting. I was only able to attend for one of the two days but I had a great time there.

Keeping with the DIY aesthetic, the organisers held it in Wharf Chambers - a co-operatively run Arts-space near(ish) to the Corn Exchange, Leeds. This meant that festival goers could take advantage of the Sam Smiths beer on offer as well as some pretty tasty vegan food. A crowd of film-fans had descended like hungry-wolves on the black-bean paté sandwhiches (would hungry wolves eat black bean paté? Not so sure...) but I can vouch for the herb tofu. Great stuff.

The set-up in place at the main screen saw films being shown in three sessions with short breaks between each batch of films. There was a second screen as well, with a long list of shorts that were on a rolling playlist.  Sadly, this screen got a bit lost amid the bar, food-counter and conversation of the main room so I didn't really see very much that was shown on it. But the glimpses I caught did seem interesting.

I'll write a separate post to review some of the films over the next couple of days, so for now I'll content myself with saying that the films were varied and interesting.  The speed which the schedule see-sawed between funny and depressing did seem a little awkward - finished watching a gritty investigation on homelessness in Manchester? Here's something funny! - but perhaps that served to emphasise the sheer variety. I'll put a couple of my favourites at the end.

All in all, NO/GLOSS was a triumph (from the point of view of a punter, at least). And I sincerely hope we'll see future instalments of this welcome addition to Leeds' busy cultural calendar.

Some of the best shorts:

Probably my absolute favourite. Bottle by Kirsten Lepore. One of those films that reminds you what fabulous things you can do with a little patience and a whole lot of imagination. A lovely film.

Post Fracas by Xander Robbin is a completely bonkers look at the feelings experienced by a family after being humiliated on a TV-gameshow. A lot of fun

POST FRACAS from Xander Robin on Vimeo.

Surface ii by Sam Spreckley is a beautiful abstract piece. Mesmerising.

Surface ii from sam spreckley on Vimeo.

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