5 November 2021

Wednesday evening saw the first ‘in-person’ screening of new films by members of the Abingdon Film Unit and its ‘sister ship’, the Abingdon Film Academy (open to pupils from John Mason, Larkmead and Fitzharrys schools) since December 2019. It was both a great success and delight.

An appreciative audience was treated to eight new films that took the AFU’s tally to over 190 films in the 18 years since its formation in 2003. Many viewers commented on the range and variety of the films on display, which included documentaries and fictions, as well as an abstract film and a music video. In his programme note, Jeremy Taylor, director of the Film Unit commented, “There are several ironies about tonight’s films. One is that in a year in which no-one could go anywhere, you’ll see action filmed in Hong Kong and Dubai as well as the more familiar terrain of Oxfordshire. Another is that in terms of film production, the last academic year has in many ways been more challenging than the one before it, largely because of the timing of the lockdown and its attendant restrictions. Our filmmakers have had to be more resourceful and independent than ever in order to complete their films. Perhaps inevitably, the eight new films reflect the times in which they were made; at least two directly address the consequences of lockdown, albeit in delightfully different ways. If and when we are able to look back on this strange time, we may even find that all these films have something to say about the ways in which people have responded to the unfamiliar circumstances in which they’ve found themselves.”

All eight films were excellent, and as Mr Taylor said, every one represented a victory. At the end of an uplifting evening, “The Spirit of Grigsby Award” was presented to Charles Kum and Theo Shorrocks for their films A Sweet Parallel and Rock Bottom, while the Micheal Grigsby Young Filmmaker of the Year Award was presented to Alex Heffernan for his film Hinksey.

All eight films will shortly be available to watch on the AFU’s Vimeo site. As soon as they are, we will issue a further update with a link so that those who were unable to attend the screening can view them.

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