No/Gloss began in Leeds in 2012, in order to actively support and showcase underground films and independent film-making. Of course it fit right into the DIY scene of our city. This self-professed 'no-frills film festival' is the perfect antidote to the glitzy, slick set-ups of many of the world's leading events for cinephiles. Oh, and this year it's partnered with Northern Monk Refectory if you weren't otherwise convinced to go!
Where is it?
No/Gloss Film Festival is taking place at Canal Mills, an old stunning warehouse.
I like that this festival is on for two days with two screens. It means that you're able to ingest so much more of the cinema offered, while enjoying the quality of the curation. The films in question vary in length, though most come in around the 15 minute mark, and come from all kinds of countries, from the U.K. to the Netherlands, Canada to South Korea.
Here's my top 5 of what's on:
1) The Hollywood Shorties (USA) Sunday Screen 2 Block 2 3pm-4:24pm
The Hollywood Shorties is a documentary on the birth of organized sports in the American little people community. Beginning in the 1950s and rising to prominence in the 1980s, the Hollywood Shorties were a basketball team, the first of their kind and unique in the history of little people athletics. Formed from an insular community of recognizable-but-typecast actors in—wait for it—Hollywood, the team began simply as a rare outlet for little people to gather publicly. As the team’s athletic skill increased, so did its membership and so too its popularity.
2) The Red Umbrella Diaries (USA) Sunday Screen 2 Block 1 12:13pm- 1:52pm
Seven sex workers from different backgrounds come together to share their stories live on stage in New York City on one very special night. A crowdfunded documentary, it was directed by David Kornfield – nine-time Emmy award winning producer and director specializing in documentary and digital content with over 13 years experience in the film and television industry.
A suspense drama with a black comic streak, dealing with the terrifying and extraordinary in a uniquely British way – not so much ‘guns blazing’ as ‘putting the kettle on, and pretending none of this is happening’. Alone in an underground facility deep below the mountains, a tired researcher performs endless tests on Eddie, his desperate, mute test subject.
Two teenage boys break free from school to embark on a dangerous adventure, as they truant their way across the threatening industrial landscape which surrounds them. Using improvisational techniques, street-casting and non-professional actors, the film promises to portray an honest reflection of a working class childhood, with a strong and pertinent moral message.
For Steven Lockmoore, busking is a way of life. He’s worked hard for his place on the street and is passionate about the community he is a part of. But his world starts to slowly unravel with the emergence of a rival busker, Paul Adrian, who is invading Steven’s turf. Steven has to go on an exploration of what is important to him and what it means to be an artist following your dreams.
What else can you do at No/Gloss?
For the budding filmmakers, there's a couple of film panels/ workshops happening at the Festival, one all about Production Budgeting and the other about DIY distribution. After the films end, there's a Northern Monk after party to look forward to! Because independent film definitely goes best with independent beer.
Pizza Loco will be serving up their signature pizza from their pizza train! Manjit's Kitchen will also be offering amazing Indian street food, with veggie and vegan options.