Billie Walker

IndieFlicks’ April Screening

Indie Flicks‘, Liverpool screening was buzzing with excitement this April. Packed to the brim with eager attendants waiting for the exclusive Liverpool screening. With four entries for the People’s Choice, the Director’s Choice and the special addition Being Keegan – starring scouse star Stephen Graham – alongside a Q+A with director Stephanie Zari and writer Jilly Gardner. The event gave all a much needed monthly fix of independent film.

First up on the screening list and winner of People’s Choice was Family for Sale by Belgian director Sebastien Petretti! This raunchy and weird comedy was definitely one of the highlights of the night. A lot was taken out of the Amelie playbook – the voice over, the humour, the colour scheme – but instead of the sultry store Nino worked in, imagine a garish sex shop in a dreary little town, run by an aging sleaze-bag. There was no quaint coffee shop or snippets of Parisian life, just a bargain sale on blow up dolls and vibrators.

Next up UK entry Shell by Joshua Warren was an ambiguous tale that left the audience with more questions than answers. It was hard to tell whether he was a shell of man because he was depressed or whether there was more fantastical sinister undertones. Was he a clone degenerating or an android? Whatever the story, it seemed that the toll of everyday society had taken a toll on the character and those watching.

Shell was followed up by the second British entry Crush. It’s focus was on an outcast schoolgirl and her controversial relationship with a drama teacher. Personally I found this hard to watch. In the current political climate the excuse that women lie about sexual harassment is still often being used, a narrative that reinforces this felt uncomfortable. However, not all of the audience would agree with me as the piece came in 3rd place.

Runner up for the People’s choice award, with 20 votes, was tonight’s final entry Discreet by French director David Chausse. A funny and very short, short, in which two men converse on a public bench. Discreet was bursting with sexual tension and cleverly mocked the fragile masculinity of its two characters.

Part of the enjoyment of Indie Flicks’ events is that as the screening selection follows no specific theme, you never know how you’re going to be made to feel next. After a brief interval the mood was drastically upended. From flirtatious to serious with Director’s Choice I.O.C by Gerardo Soto. The American piece began in a boy’s bedroom and followed him through his morning routine to his high school, with a continuous voice-over of his dark inner thoughts. School shootings are prevalent in the United States and therefore are often depicted in film and television. I.O.C (which stands for intruder on campus) cleverly portrayed the thoughts of a trouble young boy and emphasising a sensitive subject without showing extreme violence, highlighting the terrifying climate of gun violence with staggering statistics.

Finally the Liverpool special was shown: Being Keegan! Written by scousers for scousers, and featuring only scousers! The piece follows Stephen Graham’s character Jay, on a walk back through Liverpool and the past he’s been avoiding for many years.

Liverpool is a unique city to see on film and it felt like a special treat to be able to. During the Q+A with writer Jilly Gardner – who proudly proclaimed ‘I’m the scally!’ – and American director Stephanie Zari, who explained how she had considered filming in London instead. In pure Liverpool fashion a woman heckled: ‘Why would you want to?’ Stephanie responded that once she saw the city for herself she realised that any replication would have been inferior. The team clearly made the right decision, as whilst the short tackles the tragedy of a childhood trauma, it still exudes the extraordinary quality of the city and its people.

If having read this, you’re disappointed you missed out another spectacular night of independent cinema then make sure you get your tickets for Liverpool’s next screening on the 14th May.

Alternatively, if you’re not lucky enough to live in the city that is home to Being Keegan, Indie Flicks screenings will also be hosted in Manchester, Sheffield and London on the 2nd May! Get your tickets here.



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