Final Cuts Festival: the show goes on, triumphantly

The University’s annual film and media student screenings makes a successful leap online.

Date: 06 July 2020

Audiences in their hundreds from around the world tuned in to the recent Final Cuts Festival, a series of screenings of film and media student work with live Q&A sessions between the 23 and 25 June organised by the School of Computing and Digital Media.

Fiction work screened at the festival included a gory psychological horror, detectives drawn into a cat-and-mouse game and a comedy about a vegan turned competitive meat eater.  Issues as diverse as knife crime, the world of dreams and Catalan independence were tackled in non-fiction projects.  More avant-garde work included a piece incorporating dance to poetry, an impressionistic canal boat journey and a vignette about the Barbican centre.  Unsurprisingly the COVID-19 pandemic was a recurring theme explored in both documentaries and more poetic responses.  

As an additional treat, film director and London Met alumnus Jesse Quinones visited as special guest to speak to the next generation of film makers. Following a staff vote, the prize for best film went to Paul Welsh (Writer/Director) and Elena Montelongo (Producer) for Roher Beton and Chantelle Brown was recognised for best overall student contribution.

Delivering the festival was an epic production in its own right. A team of staff and students worked tirelessly - and remotely - to edit the films, create trailers, and promote the festival in advance of the launch.  Senior lecturers Suzanne Cohen and Jeremy Collins shifted seamlessly from coordinating the project backstage to becoming TV presenters for the live Q&A sessions. The staff were supported by an incredible student team who provided invaluable input in promoting and organising the events including Tamanna Molla, Chantelle Brown, Hoshil Jaikishor and Juliet Igbokwe. Particular praise must go to Spencer Samuel, the school’s Audio Visual Technical Demonstrator who planned, coordinated and mixed the broadcasts for all three nights from an improvised television studio in his home.

Final Cuts Festival takes its name from the University’s popular annual Final Cuts screening which has run since 2012 when it launched at the Rio cinema, and then at the BFI Southbank (National Film Theatre) from 2013 to 2019. The festival also incorporated the successful annual Media Show which has taken place on campus for many years. While the screenings were a huge success the team are hoping to be back in a destination London auditorium for the 2021 event.

Suzanne Cohen, a Senior Lecturer and one of the event coordinators and presenters said, “We knew we couldn't do the screening in the usual way given the lockdown, but we thought 'the show must go on' and we went for it!”

Congratulating staff and students on the event the Noel-Ann Bradshaw Head of School said, “I was so impressed by the work the students had done, there was such an exceptionally high standard and the pieces were incredibly moving and powerful in places. The whole thing was incredibly professional and the live Q&A in between each film was also brilliant. I can honestly say this was one of the best student events I have ever been to!”

Final Cuts Festival was the first in a series of events from the school. On Friday 3 July the Music Technology area launched a Summer Showcase site with a zoom part for staff and students, and showcases from other courses will appear on this website.

If you missed the festival, don’t worry edited highlights will be available soon, and in the meantime you can enjoy the extended Final Cuts trailer.

Image: Spencer Samuel co-ordinates the Festival broadcasts from home.