Out of the 23 finalists this year, a jury chaired by Tom Hiddleston selected five winning shorts to go through to last night’s main award ceremony, and DIY attended the Jameson-fuelled and hugely enjoyable Done in 60 Seconds Global Final on Friday night.
Before dinner, we pop into a padded room in Google’s swanky London headquarters to have a chat with Hiddleston and the celeb contingent of his jury: Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt and presenters Edith Bowman and Alex Zane.
It was clear Philip Askins’ unique reworking of Blade Runner was a favourite before the final decision-making even began, and indeed, it went on to take the award last night. Hiddleston enthused over the ‘Scanner Darkly-style, noir interpretation,’ praising it as ‘accomplished’.
I ask if, as actors, it’s important to Hiddleston and Froggatt to support fledgling directors. ‘Anything that supports new filmmakers is fantastic,’ says Froggatt, ‘as it’s the future of our industry. To give people a stage to show their work, even if it is only 60 seconds. To potentially get their film shown at the awards on Sunday is a huge thing.’
‘Because it’s so hard in the beginning,’ adds Hiddleston. ‘When you want to make films, or be in the game, you’re knocking on all the doors, and they remain closed. And so to have a chance to show your work, it’s a great motivator. You think, ‘Okay, I can make this’. There are so many films out there that never see the light of day, because that person who could pick it up and send it out just doesn’t see it, so it’s great to be able to support that, for sure.’
When it’s pointed out that the jury are talking about these 60-second films with the same passion as shorts and full features, Zane points out: ‘It’s harder to make a 60 second film. Look at the Oscars, where the films were just under three hours. You can do bloody anything in three hours! It’s films for fans of films.’ Froggatt agrees: ‘If you can do something great in 60 seconds, you can kind of do anything really.’
Hiddleston goes on to talk about the concept of the competition. ‘Teaser trailers are only a minute and a half, full trailers are a couple of minutes. We’re quite used to being able to receive a big impression of an idea in a couple of minutes.’ He continues: ‘If you’re putting a film together, a series of choices - a hundred choices, two hundred, three hundred - get made along the way, and every single decision is made with your particular taste, and your particular vision. Even though it’s only 60 seconds long, you get a sense of someone’s taste, which is completely different from person to person. Which is why cinema continues to be interesting, because it isn’t made in a factory, it’s made from someone’s heart and head. Even with these small films you get a sense of how they see the world, whether if it’s really silly and dry and subversive, or epic and deep. So this is why we can talk about them as if they’re bigger than 60 seconds of assembly.’
It’s an international competition, and the jury ponder the notable differences. ‘You can see it in their approach,’ says Hiddleston. ‘It’s usually in the tone. The English stuff is really dry and funny, and they’ve just gone for stupid; you get a real sense of the English sense of humour.’ Hiddleston goes on to talk about a short that made it to the final five, Andrey Dzhunkovskiy’s fascinating Red H [Memento]: ‘There’s a Russian one that just feels incredibly epic, and it’s only 60 seconds. They’ve gone for big music - I think it’s Clint Mansell’s from Requiem for a Dream. It’s a mash-up of Memento… it’s actually a post-modern note on filmmaking. He started out trying to find Red Riding Hood and he finds out he’s the character from Memento - in 60 seconds!’
Just before we go into dinner and the screening of all 23 films, the four are asked which short’s director they’d like to see a full feature from. Unsurprisingly, Askins’ winning Blade Runner is a popular choice. ‘The Blade Runner one,’ says Froggatt. ‘It’s so stylised and beautiful, if it was a pitch… I could watch a feature length version of it.’ The team agree, with Zane exclaiming, ‘I’ve never seen a film that looks like that before.’
Editor-in Chief of Empire Magazine, Mark Dinning and Bauer CEO, Paul Keenan joined Hiddleston, Froggatt, Bowman and Zane to vote for the finalists: Mark Hampton (Argo) and Philip Askins from the UK (Blade Runner), Andrey Dzhunkovskiy (Red H [Memento]) and Olga Goldfarb from Russia (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and Sergey Litovchenko from Kazakhstan (Twilight).
You can watch every one of the brilliant shorts at www.youtube.com/JamesonEmpireDISS.