St Andrews HCI Research Group


Apr 2019

Prize sweep at the 60-Hour Film Blitz!

SACHI’s Iain Carson has led a team to cinematographic success at this year’s 60 Hour Film Blitz, a competition run by the School of Film Studies where participants have to make a film within a 60 hour timeframe. Alongside Iain, Fionnghuala Paterson, Zac Chave-Cox and Arthur Bassas, made up the “Salted Feathers”, and swept up 4 of the 9 available gala awards with their 3-minute short, “SALT”.

Set in St Andrews, SALT follows a quirky inspector and his sidekick on a mission to uncover the reasons behind a mysterious disappearance in the town one morning.
The rules of the competition for 2019 dictated that three of the following seven props must be used: A box of chocolates, a ring, an alarm clock, a glass of water, an umbrella, a spinning top, and a garden gnome.
Looking at this list over coffee on Friday morning, a sprint through ideation and scene sketching left the team in no doubt that the success of the film depended on acquiring the perfect garden gnome. St Andrews, was found to be lacking in said mythical garden ornaments, so the first task on Saturday was a 2hour round trip to Glenrothes to purchase the pivotal prop.
Assembled on a student budget (most of which was blown on the garden gnome), the short was filmed on Iain’s hobby camera on Saturday afternoon and edited together on Sunday using the freely available DaVinci Resolve. Royalty-free music and sound effects completed the look and the team excitedly delivered the production on Sunday evening.
This year’s 12 entrants screened at the Blitz Gala at the Byre theatre – each bringing a unique twist and execution driven by innovative ideation and creative interpretation of the props list. Iain describes the experience of watching the productions for the first time: “Our film was the last to be shown, and by the time it screened we’d seen so many excellent productions we didn’t think we would go home with anything, the quality was so high!”
Salted Feathers went on to be awarded “Best Editing” and “Most Creative” by the independent panel of judges, as well as scooping the “Audience Award” as voted for by attendees of the Gala. The pinnacle prize of “Best Film” was judged and presented over a recorded message by Joe Russo, director of several recent Marvel films including the soon-to-be-released Avengers: Endgame. The team was clearly bowled over to have received the award: “We’re absolutely delighted and amazed that the film was so well-received, especially by Joe, and can’t wait to take part again next year!”