Who is your Shakespeare? How do you recreate him in modern times? This is what the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust wants to know. “Shakespeare isn’t just for scholars and people in ivory towers,” says Marion Morgan, the events officer for SBT. “We are not going to lecture people on how to experience him; we want to reclaim Shakespeare and bring him back to the people.”
This is the philosophy that Morgan has brought to SBT’s annual Shakespeare Short Film Festival (whose patron is Kenneth Branagh). Works by 15 filmmakers from the U.S., Iran, Romania, Poland, Italy, and the U.K. will be screened including the seven finalists:
Michael Lane’s Some Questions, Like Ghosts, Haunt centers on a professor, who is giving a lecture about Hamlet. The subject of his failed marriage keeps creeping into his lesson until the the story lines in Hamlet and his life seem to grow ever closer.
In Edward Dede’s Shakespeare in Short – Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice is in an old-world Halloween costume crying at a London train station when Benedict arrives to comfort her and tell her that he believes her cousin has been maligned. This is from Veni Vidi’s production company as is Natalie-Anne Downs’ Shakespeare in Short – Hamlet. This is the scene when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern visit the depressed Danish prince, but this prince is playing video games.
Director Kit Prosser presents a tender Shrew’d, in which Kate is a nose-ring clad, punk-rocker type deeply involved in writing in her personal notebook and listening to her music, and a seemly insensitive Petruchio, an Ivy league brat, is far too impressed with himself. Or is there more than what we initially see in this Petruchio.
Director Yorgo Lykouria sets his Verona, a Romeo and Juliet tale, in modern-day London. The film, from Soliloquy Pictures, takes place over one night. Juliet’s father Lord Capulet and Romeo’s father Lord Montague are battling for control of the Constellation Defense system. Lykouria is also the director of The Hero’s Mask.
Writer and director Babetta Kelly’s Dante’s Hamlet is set in the Bronx, where Dante has to decide whether to and or not to avenge his brother’s death. Also in the competition is Tom van den Broek’s The Dawn, which centers on a young woman struggling with her will to live. The winner will be announced at the gala screening on 6th November at Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse. The event runs Nov. 5-8 at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon.
48-Hour Shakespeare Film Challenge:
Shakespearean filmmakers are given the 48-hour filmmaking challenge by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as part of its 2014 film festival. Filmmakers have 2 days to write, film, and edit. “We want this to be raw not polished, says Morgan. “We want someone from Texas collaborating with someone from Poland, so our filmmakers have a true international filmmaking experience.”