Nottingham Based Filmmaker Receives Recognition At BFI Future Film Festival

Alex Watkin

Hannah Tasker’s short Picking Up on Things has been nominated for Best Experimental Film at this year’s British Film Institute (BFI) Future Film Festival. The film is a lockdown-made desktop documentary which sees a filmmaker filming themselves to examine their behaviours.

Picking Up on Things is amongst 50 films from international filmmakers at the 15th edition of the BFI future film festival, which is a festival for up-and-coming filmmakers between the ages of 16-25. The films have been selected from over 1000 entries; it’s exciting to see a filmmaker from Nottingham receive recognition at such a festival. The films will be screened at the BFI Southbank between 17th and 20th February as well as available online completely free from 17th February through 3rd March via the BFI player in the UK.

Tasker’s background is in English Literature and Visual Anthropology. This film began as a desktop documentary project for her Visual Anthropology Master’s degree. As such, the film is confined to screen recordings of her Mac-desktop, with the filmmaker tightly editing different sequences together: from googling to facetiming her Mum.

The desktop footage is complemented by diary-entry like monologuing throughout. Both the video footage of herself and the MIC quality have a genuine do-it-yourself quality. In interview with Impact, Tasker spoke of being initially sceptic of the format, thinking it was “a bit naff” but that the limitations forced her creativity. The film draws attention to its making and seems to be in-progress as you’re watching it. Tasker explained that the film’s entirety was not preconceived from the beginning, rather it unfolded largely sequence by sequence with the film beginning simply as an exploration of the technology and recording herself. 

Picking Up on Things was influenced by the desktop documentary/ video essays My Mulholland and Watching The Pain of Others. Tasker praises My Mulholland specifically for its ability to begin with something trivial but then “[brings] it into a larger point” as it progresses and hopes to have achieved the same with this film. Tasker has also previously produced a 20-minute documentary dealing with sexual assault and rape and hopes to produce more documentary film in the future, pointing to Louis Theroux as an influence.

The BFI Future Film Festival will take place 17-20 February with events taking place online and at BFI Southbank. 50 short films will be available to watch for free on BFI Player from 17 February – 3 March (UK only).  Tickets on sale now at bfi.org.uk

Alex Watkin

Featured Image courtesy of Clive Varley via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

In-article video courtesy of britishfilminstitute via instagram.com. No changes made to this video. 

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