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Poppies

Posted: Wed, 27th Aug 2008, 9:38am

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ashman

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Bill is one of many volunteers to help raise money from his poppy display. But underneath his proud silent stance is a broken man. A traumatic history locked deep inside, a memory dormant. The consequence and emotional effect left in the wake of war. The few are burdened with the scars so that the many may live their lives in normality, and those who bare those scars could be stood on a street corner selling poppies.

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Posted: Wed, 27th Aug 2008, 2:01pm

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SilverDragon7

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You utilized that poem so perfectly, it brought out the large amount of emotion that you could fit into this short.

5/5.
Posted: Wed, 27th Aug 2008, 5:47pm

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SketchWork

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This is a truely wonderful short and I wish Ash all the success with it. This short really brings back so many great memories of my Grandad who used to sell poppies around our area.

Well done and thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Posted: Thu, 28th Aug 2008, 4:12am

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rypcat

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Wonderful use of verse and image. Great shooting, great editing. Was the poem written for the film, or the other way round? The only fear I would have is the ignorance of American audiences...I only know about the poppies because I lived in New Zealand for a year. It also seemed like some of the shots in the fighting scene were used more than once, and the look on the young man's face after he's blown up was a bit fake.
I can't wait to see more of your work soon smile
Posted: Thu, 28th Aug 2008, 5:27am

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Sid Barnhoorn

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rypcat wrote:

and the look on the young man's face after he's blown up was a bit fake.
I think it's a real person, not a fake one. wink (just kidding) I also think it's the younger version of the old man as the shots flow nicely into the shot where you see the closeup of old man.

Great work, Ash! biggrin

Cheers,
Siddhartha Barnhoorn
Film Composer
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Posted: Thu, 28th Aug 2008, 7:27am

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cottonproductions

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Truly excellent, thats all I can say!
Posted: Thu, 28th Aug 2008, 7:45am

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Garrison

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Ash, you continue to amaze me
Posted: Thu, 28th Aug 2008, 5:14pm

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ben3308

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I've already told you what I think of this, but watching it again, I like it even more. Still not that much of a fan of the way the 'present day' bits are shot/light/graded for some reason. I dunno, something about how saturated it is. I would've like me apparent (and yet more diffused, reminiscent) lighting on the indoor bits and a more stringer rule-of-thirds adherence on the outdoor bits. Again, small complaints, no big deal.

The war parts, however, particularly the 'barrage' are excellence. More than excellence, they're superb. I dunno if I think this sticks together well enough in my head as a quick little short, but for the content that is in it, I appreciate the effort and, more importantly, the execution.
Posted: Sat, 30th Aug 2008, 4:12pm

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RodyPolis

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VERY TOUCHING, I really liked the poem and all. But what's a Poppie
Posted: Sat, 30th Aug 2008, 4:42pm

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ashman

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Thank you for your kind comments, I'm glad you like the short. I'm aware there are still flaws in my filmmaking and I strive to improve upon this. I appreciate all your feedback.

For those unsure about rememberance day.

November the 11th was known as Armistice Day, now known as Rememberance day or poppy day. It is a time of the year we take time out and pay our respects to the men and women who fought and died for their country. Every year in November we see volunteers selling poppies, much like Bill in the short.

But why poppies? I hear you ask.

Poppies make a very good symbol for remembrance for several reasons. They were the only flower that grew easily on the battlefields after World War One. They're very delicate flowers too, that only live for a short time, which is rather like the young men killed in battle.

The colour is important too - what does the bright red remind you of? Can you see why some people might think that fields of poppies look like fields of blood?

The Royal British Legion use money raised on Poppy Day and at other events through the year to help thousands of ex-soldiers and their families. They also organise festivals, parades and church services of Remembrance.

So - now you know! Those bright red paper flowers are full of history and meaning. They're very special to many, many people.

If your interested please go to the official poppy appeal website here:

http://www.poppy.org.uk/

All the Best
Ash
Posted: Mon, 1st Sep 2008, 11:02am

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Simon K Jones

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ashman wrote:

Bill is one of many volunteers to help raise money from his poppy display. But underneath his proud silent stance is a broken man. A traumatic history locked deep inside, a memory dormant. The consequence and emotional effect left in the wake of war. The few are burdened with the scars so that the many may live their lives in normality, and those who bare those scars could be stood on a street corner selling poppies.
A slightly overblown intro there, I think. The short film is effective enough on its own without needing hyperbole. smile

Anyway, you know what I think of this - great stuff. Decent poem, superb music and nicely shot. I'd agree with Ben that the flashback stuff is stronger than the 'present day' bits, although the shot just before and after the flashback I really like, particularly due to the older actor's performance which is subtle and affecting.

Best work I've seen of yours so far - does exactly what it sets out to do.
Posted: Mon, 1st Sep 2008, 3:36pm

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Jabooza

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There aren't many movies in the FXhome Cinema that come close to being as powerful as this one is, and after viewing this twice I cannot find any real flaws. As it stands, this is the only movie in the entire cinema that I have rated five stars. Excellent Job.
Posted: Tue, 2nd Sep 2008, 6:35pm

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Quvoo

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Really good movie, everything is great.

Most of the effects in the war scene were done really nicely, but others looked like you stopped correcting the half way (not saying they were bad). To me the war scene was very strong, but could have been stronger. With the camera movement a little faster and the shooting/killing could have been more dramatic so the audience would get more of a shock. The effects that I really didn't like is the fog/smoke on some shots, the composition bothered me.

But, this is really professional, amazing.
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 5:52pm

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Penguin

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Wow...this basically blows away everything else in the cinema razz I actually disagree with the other responses in that the war scene was stronger...the action, grading, etc. were more intense obviously, but that alone wouldn't have had nearly the amount of emotional impact without the rest of it.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 7:52pm

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The Strider

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Absolutely fantastic. Quite nearly flawless. The whole thing grabs your attention, and doesn't let go till the end. Superb work from all involved!
Posted: Fri, 19th Sep 2008, 7:25am

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Jonnie

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Well i think it was a fantastic piece of footage. I really liked the link from the old man to the solider, i thought that was done really well. Great use of sfx and refreshing to see that it wasn't overloaded with them. There are many festivals where you can show short pieces like this. I would say you should go for it and enter poppies. Really good piece of film.
Posted: Sat, 6th Dec 2008, 5:10pm

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Ghost91

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very cool biggrin
Posted: Tue, 10th Feb 2009, 2:40pm

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Trelawney

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I really had to comment here. Beautiful work - I would love to see a HD version!

This stands out from all of the other submissions (which are also excellent), by virtue of the fact that you demonstrate less is sometimes more - an art that seems to be increasingly lost in the cinema these days to cater for the audience shorter attention spans.

The pacing of shots (long then short and blending fades), use of tripod/framing of street and background cathedral indicate a mature and well thought out direction, and the pacing of the Stephen Fry poem to the shots was extremely well thought out.

Whilst this is an FX Home competition, you understand that the objective wasn't to crowbar in effect after effect, which means that those you have used are subtle where subtlety was required, and this meant that the more dramatic shots were indeed that - dramatic!

The overall message was sensitively handled and your actors did a great job too.

This is my only 5-star vote for all of the above reasons. Keep up the great work - keep on refining your work and I think you have a very bright future!

All the best and good luck (to all entrants!) smile
Posted: Wed, 11th Feb 2009, 12:19am

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trassk

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An Artfully brilliant piece. The subtle quietness of the visuals and the prettiness of the modern world fall in sharp contrast with the war scenes.
The effects on those scenes do not look like effects, and that is the point of great effects. They did not draw me away from the story.
Overall, the film brought a tear to my eye, i was moved. Thank you for a wonderful little film.
Posted: Wed, 11th Feb 2009, 2:27am

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RobSpratt

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This is a stand-out short for me, which I found incredibly moving and powerful. Ultimately, it is the genuine acting and the narration of a wonderful poem that put this film above most others. The old man played his part with utter conviction and I completely believed in him.

The director has done a wonderful job and seemed to appreciate that a good filmmaker uses 'effects' in a subtle way, merely to enhance the performances and the story-telling - not the other way round. Far too many films I have seen tend to be little more than a demonstration of what can be done with Fx software. It's all done in a far-too-obvious way, and the illusion of what I am watching is snatched away.

This little film demonstrates in a much better way that 'effects' shouldn't even be noticable. They should subtly blend in with what you are watching and not distract you from the story.

I loved this film.
Posted: Wed, 11th Feb 2009, 9:00pm

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Christofer Matthias

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Excellent movie! I loved the story and you did a great job with all the technical and artistic elements. This actually sent shivers down my spine during the battle scene. One again, great work! This was the clear choice for my Best Picture vote.
Posted: Sun, 22nd Feb 2009, 12:09pm

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Sollthar

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I thought I had already commented on this, seems I was wrong. crazy

I really really digged that flashback scene! It had incredible cinematography, perfect editing, superb acting, brilliant effects and was highly tense and emotional, in a powerful, both subtle and in-your-face way. That part I just really, really liked.

The rest was a lot weaker for me. The poem itself was good and I really liked the old mans acting and casting. He was a perfect choice. He just has that certain thing that fits the mood of the poem so incredibly well. But I do have a few reservations why, apart from the flashback sequence, this doesn't quite get there in my view.

First, the technical stuff:
I didn't like the cinematography in the opening too much. It looked a bit amateurish for my tastes - especially compared to the flashback sequence - and did little to support the poem. While the cinematography got better outside, it's still not there for me.
The actor who reads the poem just doesn't 100% gets there for me. I found him okay, but not as good as he should have been in order for me to get emotional by what he says. And for emotions to work when someone says a text, I need to feel the emotion by the one who tells it. And I didn't in his case. So the face of the poem works, the voice doesn't for me.

But the main thing that makes this less then it could have been for me, are some of the directing choices. sad
For me, it's played way too straight forward. He talks about medals, you show medals. He talks about autumn breese, you show that. He talks about the cardboard thing around his neck, you show that. And so on.
I feel the film itself added little to the poem. I just retells it visually. But in all, it could have done with more directorial vision. More of "Ashman's personal view of things". I felt the flashback scene had that. It had nuances and details that didn't come off the text, but of you. The rest doesn't have that in my view and that makes it lack in that area, the most important area to me.

The strength of this film is the poem itself, not as much the film. (again, with the exception of the flashback sequence)

There's little to disagree on with this. It does what it does like following a textbook of rules. While that makes it good, it also makes it somewhat artistically flat - It misses a personality of it's own. If you know what I mean. I have similar issues with Hard Days Knight and the recent showreel you published.

Had it all been like the flashback scene, this would be my definate 5 star choice and my "awesomest work" choice. But it's definately a solid short film all through and something to be proud of!
Posted: Wed, 11th Mar 2009, 11:45pm

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DittoProductions

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The Acting and special effects were really good but the narrator did't really make what he was saying mean something It was like i was listening to this bored tired person and his voice was a little quiet and not strong enough
Posted: Tue, 21st Apr 2009, 3:19pm

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ashman

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As some people were interested in seeing a high quality version of the short I've just submitted the file. It should be up shortly. Hope you enjoy.

Best,
Ash.
Posted: Fri, 5th Feb 2010, 12:46pm

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Logan100100

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Wow, that was amazing
Posted: Tue, 11th May 2010, 2:01am

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ChillyZebra

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New here and just going through the older movies.

I'm glad I'm typing this and not having to speak it. The things that human beings have had to endure to give us the world we know today, are beyond imagining.

I also think in some ways the images were a bit too much of a simple visualisation of the poem. But then again, it WAS a visualisation of a very nice poem, so what's wrong with that? Overall, given the strength of the words and intent, it was done excellently. The music was also very well picked and timed.

Short film making at its most powerful.

Thanks for making it, and thanks for sharing it.