In these harsh times the pressures on short film makers is immense. Not only are they faced with the ongoing artistic challenges involved with producing entertaining, accessible films they also have to be hard-nosed business people with the ability to squeeze as much as possible out of what is usually minuscule budgets. For some these pressures are not enough so they need to take on additional challenges.
One such challenge is the 48 hour film project. A film crew is given 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a seven minute film. Basic instructions have to be followed with the crew given a genre, a character, a prop and a line of dialogue, all of which must feature in the finished product. In October 2012 the Scottish film and video production company Silly Wee Films took part in the film project for the second time. The product of their efforts was the Mockumentary Cameron Stone: Legendary actor.
In a series of interviews with Cameron (Mark Harvey) and those who know him best we are presented with a picture of the public persona of the star and glimpses of the man behind the legend. Interspersed with the interviews we get clips of some of his vast back catalogue of action films. Almost all of the interviews with his contemparies follow the same path. They begin with gushing praise for the man and suddenly run out of steam. To cover this awkward point they all the use the rather scathing description ‘versatile’ to cover their embarrassment. The ones who do not toe the party line are Michael Bane (Simon Weir) and Cameron’s former private pilot Captain Ramona Lewis (Nicola Welburn). In each case they are sufficiently independent from Cameron to tell it like it is. Michael is a star in his own right and Ramona has made a fair amount of money from a very successful kiss and tell book at Cameron’s expense.
The character of Cameron appears to be a mixture of a number of current and former action stars. There are hints of classic eighties actioneers Van Damme and Seagal in some of the clips and the truly awful names of the films. There are also echoes of some more recent action heroes. Cameron appears to be channeling Gerard Butler with his persona as he engages with the interviewer. There is also a lot of Terminator era Christian Bale. This is emphasised with a recorded on set meltdown at fellow actors after he makes a mistake during a take on the film Handball: A True Story.
As ever with short films I am impressed with the wealth of talent on and off screen. To produce something, never mind a cohesive engaging movie, in such a short period of time has to be applauded. The film has a tight script. It tells a well rounded story in a very short time. It has well realised characters. No two of them are the same. They have been well developed and professionally presented on screen. The piece as a whole is consistently funny and entertaining.
The direction of the film is unfussy. This is not a criticism The director, Fraser Coull, wisely allows the writing to be the driving force of the piece. The camera tells the story rather than taking you out of the piece with flashy visuals. Given that Fraser shared the writing credits with Mark Harvey it is apparent the direction and the visuals were very closely linked.
Overall a very accomplished short film full of ideas and humour. Recommended.
You can view the full film below.