University of the West Of Scotland Filmmaking  students, Gordon Howie and Lynsey Tomlinson have triumphed yet again in the nationwide short film competition sponsored by the Odeon Cinema Chain.

Their short Film , “An Eye For An Eye” won the best film award at the February 2011 awards. 
I talked to Gordon yesterday to hear the story of their success. 

“Lynsey and I both work in the Odeon cinema in Ayr; Lynsey is a projectionist and I’m a team member. Each year the Odeon hosts an internal short competition (meaning only Odeon employees can enter) in late September. We are given normally 3/4 weeks to produce a short film between 1 and 5 minutes long, of any genre, as long as it contains the required pre-determined elements (a line of dialogue and a specific prop) and stays within a 15 BBFC classification.

  In 2009, we entered ‘Smokin”

We were nominated for 4/6 categories – Best Film, Best Actress, Best Use of the Elements (prop: pineapple, line of dialogue, “I’ll have what she’s having”) and Best Visual Effects. We were the only team from Scotland to qualify and the film was screened in the Odeon Leicester Square! Lynsey, myself, Susan Love (camera) and Karen Hainey (actress) flew down to attend the ceremony, but sadly, we came home empty handed. It was very disappointing, as you can imagine! But having our short film screened in such a prestigious venue was an achievement in itself!

  So in 2010, we were brainstorming for literally months to try and think of a short that would equal ‘Smokin”. We settled on a B-movie horror pastiche, surrounding a nun who is seeking vengeance on a monster that stole her eye and ate her boyfriend, 30 years previously. The required elements were to include a red double decker bus and have the line of dialogue, “60% of the time, it works every time”. Once the film was complete, mid-October, we sent it away to be judged. After sending the film away, university work took over and we both forgot about the film. We received the nominations on the 5th of November for best film and best actress – we were in shock! Shocked to discover we were nominated for Best Film and Best Actress yet again! We also learnt that, again, we were the only team from Scotland to qualify! So Lynsey, myself, Susan and Karen were to fly down to London once more.

  The competition should originally have been the 8th of December, but due to the extreme weather, the ceremony was changed to the 2nd of February. The ceremony was held at 11am at the West End Cinema (just around the corner from Leicester Square) and lasted for just over an hour. After it was announced that we had won Best Film, we made our way on to the stage to collect our champagne, trophy, certificate and iPads! We gave a brief acceptance speech, saying that we didn’t expect it and that we were grateful to have been chosen as winners.

  After some photographs were taken with the other teams, we made our way to the upstairs foyer, where there was a buffet and champagne. We celebrated with the other teams (who were from Odeon Esther, Odeon Blackpool and the Manchester support office, among others) and spoke to the committee. The committee said that the judging had never been so tough, as all entrants were of a very high standard and after they took a vote, we won the majority. All four of us were very proud to have won!

Here’s the 2010 entry, “Eye for an Aye”:

  A great achievement for all of us, but especially for Lynsey and myself. We are both very passionate about filmmaking and are ambitious to pursue it as a career. Our plans for the future are to continue to work hard toward achieving success in the film industry. We both intend to enter our Honours creative projects into suitable film festivals and competitions with the hope of gaining some exposure for our work, so fingers crossed!” 

Well done to both of them. Two names to remember for the future, Gordon Howie and Lynsey Tomlinson.