Sparks Film of the Month: December 2023

Sparks Film School’s Film of the Month Award celebrates a film production made by Sparks film crew members.

Each month, our panel of judges – assembled from our team of filmmaking instructors – look at submissions from across Sparks Film Schools nationally. They assess based on each film’s impact on screen and explore all its little details to uncover all the things we love about each film chosen. It’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate and recognise all the fantastic filmmaking that goes on all throughout the year by the young crew members (which is a lot, and represents a huge amount of growing talent and expertise in filmmaking!).

Sparks young film crews work incredibly hard to produce their own film productions. The young crews work collaboratively to make films that expresses their ideas and creativity, whilst also showcasing their technical abilities and skills. We love to shine a celebratory spotlight on their achievements.

To be selected as Sparks Film of the Month, a film production should show that it is…

We look for originality and imagination above all else when choosing the winner of Film of the Month. We looks for films that surprise us, offer some inventiveness and challenge convention.

To be chosen as Film of the Month, a production needs to be interesting. We want to see what happens next; we want to learn more about the characters. We should be invested in watching until the very end.

Well Made: 
We need to be appreciate the technicality in how a film has been made for it to be awarded Film of the Month. It should feature a clear storyline, be well shot, well acted, well edited and put together.

Made by Students of Sparks Film School: 
Film of the Month can be awarded to any film production made by students at any Sparks Film School across the UK. It can be made independently or during film school sessions.

For December’s Film of The Month award, the winners are very deserving film crew members from Sparks Film School Teeside and North Yorkshire! Their recent film Experiment W was produced by young filmmakers during 2023’s October Half Term Holiday Camps.

Experiment W follows the corrupt mayor of a town, who has a plan to control the townsfolk with assistance from werewolves and other dangerous creatures. What can be done to save the town?! This film has really impressed us here at Sparks Film School HQ. It is a big and ambitious film that we can hardly believe was made in just three days.  

“There are so many things in this film to love! It is full of fantastic little jewels.

Use of Location & Setting

We were really impressed with the use of the stunning location in this film, and the young crews have clearly made great use of the location opportunities! It is down to the creative vision and imagination of the young filmmakers that the location has really come to life on the screen and contributes so much to the visual storytelling.

We felt that they have treated their location as though its a whole character in the film, giving the town its own distinct personality and really bringing the audience into the world and time period Experiment W is set in. This is an incredibly mature and sophisticated feat to pull off, and so straight away this really stood out to us as a fierce contender for recognition.

Fantastic Tracking Shot

We also loved the tracking shot where we follow a character walk through town. On his way he passes multiple townspeople going about their lives, working, chatting etc. This is like a scene you would expect to see in a big budget Hollywood movie. It’s a great set piece and adds to the storytelling and sense of place even more.  

Ensemble Performances

We were also taken aback by the high level of ensemble performance in Experiment W. The crew have managed to create a town that feels vast and ‘lived-in’, with a lot of attention to their work as background characters, townspeople, and in certain group scenes such as the dance sequence in which there are a large amount of characters on  screen at once. We appreciate the challenges and the ambition of filming big scenes like this, so again, we were very impressed at how they managed to achieve this in a very limited time frame. It shows great teamwork.

Direction & Stylistic Choices

Our panel enjoyed the stylistic choices in this film and there are lots of moments of standout direction in the film as a whole. Firstly, it is a period drama, framed within a grandmother telling children a scary story from her past. The crew really excelled on the details here, the story is brilliantly put together. The costumes, the acting, the production value was all great and really shone with the style of an old creature feature period horror movie. The crew had clearly thought about every detail and it really shows.

Creative Transformation Scene

Finally we loved the transformation scene. The crew have used a mix of strong horror editing staples and a great use of shadows to show the audience a werewolf transformation. We love the nod to period horror films too. This scene is well produced and highly creative.

Ambition & Execution

Overall, we found this film not just to be a clear winner for Film of the Month, but a great example of what young filmmakers can achieve together when they put their minds to it. We loved watching this film and we think it shows a lot of potential from the crew members involved in making it – well done to all!”   

Congratulations to the Makers of Experiment W

Congratulations to everyone involved in this brilliant film production, we’re proud to award you the December 2023 Sparks Film of the Month Award!

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This film was made by young crew members taking part during October Half Term Camps – epic movie making holiday camps – with Sparks Film School.

Sparks Film School offers filmmaking, animation and photography workshops for ages 5-18, including term time classes and holiday camps.

We offer free taster classes and there are lots of opportunities to get involved.

You can find out more about our filmmaking courses here >>>

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