Reviewed by Will Snelling

Another year, another blast of creativity and invention in the form of nineteen short films, each made within five days, each demonstrating the playfulness and artistry that can only have been a product of the salty Hastings air. The atmosphere was electric, more like a party than an evening screening in a grand old cinema. Tickets sold out fast, and that’s because there’s something unique and attractive about events like Trash Cannes, or the equally excellent Sheared Wit, a nonconformity which has proved magnetic. The Kino Teatr was a perfect venue for The 5-Day Film Challenge: the quality of image and sound meant the films got the treatment they deserved, while the busy bar at the back of the cinema kept things buzzing and vaguely anarchic.

As always, those who entered the competition picked out a title, a prop and a genre at random, which can often result in baffling combinations. Fortunately the filmmakers proved their ingenuity and produced some real gems. Senior Moments, the musical, was as brilliant as you would think. There were certainly no duds this year; each film demonstrated a real passion for the medium and impressive technical skill. One standout for me was The Children of the Damned Rich, a beguiling and artful animation which used paper cutouts and drawn backgrounds to tell a tale of spoiled kids. The audience voted for The Cricket Box, a slightly insane superhero adventure parody, as ‘Best Laugh’ and I can see why: its unabashedly absurd humour and clever special effects brought the audience to hysterics. The responses were delightfully varied in their approach; they ranged from arthouse seriousness to dark comedy to slapstick, and as a result you couldn’t help but be enthralled by the whole thing.

The Best Film winner, (twice), was a German expressionist take on the title My Big Fat Asbo Wedding, need I say more? It won best film from both the audience and the panel of judges, probably because of its seamless incorporation of the three elements of its brief, and the satisfying pay off, all under three minutes. I won’t give away what happens, of course; no, you should buy the DVD, because these films are a joy, and they collectively demonstrate the talent that exists in this town, right there on the surface. I hope that Trash Cannes secures Arts Council funding for next year’s festival, because it has allowed Hastings’ innate creativity to be revealed once again. Quickly, grab your tickets for next year before they inevitably sell out.

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