Blog: Abi McVeigh

The film maker writes about being part of Playback – a touring programme of over 200 short films made by young artists in one exhibition that tours the country until March 2018

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On 22 August, my film Mind in Move was screened at Home, Manchester, as part of the Random Acts Playback tour. Home is a place very close to my heart as I worked there as a gallery invigilator/usher pretty much since it opened in 2015. To see my work played there as I have seen many great films is huge for me and makes me excited about my future in film making.

This year, I’ve made one of my favourite films to date and learned a lot about what kind of a film maker I am. I am super-proud of the end product, something which is quite rare because I find it hard to get my idea across and fully express my feelings or thoughts and turn that into a film.

It was last year that I had the opportunity to create a short film, up to three minutes long, after receiving a commission from Random Acts North. I finally got to put the film together earlier this year with the help of the producers, Ian and Patrick, and my mentor, Catriona, alongside all of the Random Acts North and Tyneside Cinema team. Massive thanks to everyone there who have guided me and pushed me to get to the nitty-gritty of a very broad idea that I first provided them with. The Random Acts development weekend was an especially challenging yet assertive process. Being forced into being creative actually turns out to be quite productive! And this is three years on from graduating with a film making degree…

Maya Deren, an experimental film maker, influenced my work through the way she uses repetition and dreamlike qualities to tell a story. My film Mind in Move is linked together by the woman with a dreamlike scenario and the expression of movement. These intertwine, going through stages of anticipation, excitement, then sorrow and reflection. Lizzie Klotz, who performed in the film, immediately understood what I was going for and definitely brought my vision to life. Seeing no one else in the film made it all about her – something that I only added to the mix in the late stages of making the film, maybe the week before the shoot. It sounds corny but I actually had a dream where I didn’t use a male in the film as originally intended and all of a sudden I thought YES – point of view shots. Thank you asleep brain!

The film represents, to me, the memories after the end of a relationship. Going over and over memories, trying to work out what went wrong and why, but eventually realising how to let go. It definitely wasn’t heartbreak though, more like heart-bruised. But I’m glad it happened like it did or else I wouldn’t have made this film. Lots of positives have come out of it, such as having my film screened in my favourite cinema, and in general being a more confident filmmaker-artist.

Playback tours nationally, stopping at York Explore as part of Aesthetica Short Film Festival 8–19 November. Read a blog by Sam Jones, also taking part in Playback, here

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