Two out of 2,300: ‘An Amazing Start’
This year the Festival del film Locarno received 2,300 submissions for Pardi di domani – the competition programme for new talent and films under 40 minutes. Irish director Michael Lennox and French director Gabriel Gauchet were both selected as Tomorrow’s Leopards, from London’s National Film and Television School, and both agree: “Locarno is an amazing start.”
Their shorts, Back of Beyond and The Mass of Men, respectively, are world premiered at the festival. “You always hope to be chosen for Locarno, it is the ideal goal,” said Lennox, who graduated this year and is accordingly a certified film director. Scripted with Ronan Blayney, Lennox’s entry – Back of Beyond - is the story of Petesy, the owner of a petrol station, who feels trapped with a dead end job in the middle of nowhere.
Enters, one night, a sort of psychopath serial killer who offers him an easy way out of his life. “It is a psychological thriller, one of these pressure-cooker films where all is contained in one space for 25 minutes,” Lennox explained. “And then it is the rehearsal for my first feature – Blayney and I just finished the first draught, and we are developing it with North Ireland Screen and the Irish Film Board. We might come back to Locarno with it.”
Gauchet still has a year to go at the National Film and Television School, which produced both Lennox’s and his films. “I thought I would take another master in directing; I studied at Cologne before, then I joined an exchange programme with Cuba. London has a very good reputation,” he said.
“I have tried to get into the Locarno competition before and now finally succeded – it is a very good beginning for a film,” per Gauchet. Penned with Rungano Nyoni, his 16-minute entry, The Mass of Men is about desperation – “a job centre situation which goes very wrong, and has very bad consequences, as the unemployed client arrives three minutes late.” He will shortly start shooting his graduation movie, “a family drama with horror elements.”Jorn Rossing Jensen