Pixelate Director & Programmer Ang Freely and Christian Villarba Review

Cinema is not only born out of the bold and the unpredictable, but also out of chance and instinct. From the directors to the editors, sound designers to cinematographers, student and short filmmaking culture continues to push and challenge the boundaries of film practice. Pixelate Film Festival 2015 celebrated this and it was a pleasure to exhibit a diverse range of productions that truly represented the themes of ambition and risk-taking.

Pixelate is an annual, end-of-year degree celebration that screens past, post and present student productions from the School of Film and Television at Falmouth University. 2015 saw the introduction of film strands into the festival’s programme, worked in association with Zooppa and Channel Four’s Random Acts strand and welcomed Aesthetica Short Film Festival’s very own programmer Sophie Brown as this year’s key industry delegation and guest-of-honour. The festival team was a collective of first, second and third year film students, who put their respective degrees on the line by working on the event on top of their final year hand-ins. As hectic as the planning process proved to be, the Pixelate team’s effort became representative of the festival’s themes that helped make the graduate showcase a success.

Screenwriters were given precedence this year, led by course lecturer and screenwriting practitioner Marie Macneill, with a special networking event and live read-throughs of student screenplays. They provide the very backbone of the films we watch and with their ambition and perseverance rarely recognised, it is imperative that they are acknowledged more throughout the filmmaking process. It was an honour to organise a film festival that hosted them and their works, and we salute them for their continued diligence and passion for their craft.

The festival overall was a success on so many levels. Film genres including experimental and documentary told a detailed stories that audiences could relate to. Pasta Sauce by Peter Doyle-Davidson reminded us of Wes Anderson’s work. The satire of UKIP in Vote by third year Sam White demonstrated the risks filmmakers have to take to tell their story without losing sight of the art. The diversity of content on display was more than we ever imagined and exemplified the notion that film, like music, is a universal language.

Pixelate is suitably summed up by the compilation of eclectic and playful productions that grounds the foundation of the festival’s yearly progression and working ethic. United by shared principles, the student-shorts genre continue to blur boundaries between film practice and tradition that is a trademark of contemporary filmmaking culture.

Ang Freely and Christian Villarba

Pixelate Film Festival 2015, 21-24 May, Falmouth University.

1. Pre-opening night Bowling Party, Ocean Bowl © Artur Tixiliski / Cartel Photos.