Over the next few weeks we’ll be reviewing a number of films for Cardiff Mini Film Festival. The festival is on June 26th at Chapel 1877.

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Bob & Pontycymer

Telling a story in a handful of minutes is not to be sniffed at.  Succinct is one thing, but to wrangle a narrative and leave us with with something to ponder is something else entirely.  However, this is exactly what director, Chris Lloyd, manages to accomplish in a startling 2 minute 45 second running time with his short Bob & Pontycymer.

At the start of this layered short, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's about Pontycymer or Bob's longing to continually revisit a place he clearly loves so much.  Now while certainly the latter, it's about so much more.  We see Bob (the director's dad) revisiting the village he lived at years ago, even though he "lives a couple of miles away and can visit at time".  He gets out his camera to snap roads, street corners and pretty much everything else in a bid to document he the place he clearly adores.  The "guided tours" we've all been held hostage to when we visit another person's home are shown in amusing familiarity and even when interviewed on camera about the places that played such a big part of his past disappearing Bob's response is that of wistful matter-of-factness that only the welsh can deliver.  Even Chris' narration offers a dry amusement - but that's not all there is either.

Rather than lean on sentimentality of a town degrading or a patriarchal love letter for the emotional hook, Chris Lloyd achieves something extremely difficult even if he had a feature length running time.  Insight.  

Bob & Pontycymer looks into how we peer into our sepia-toned pasts and the attachments we form with our memories, then the wistfulness that can take hold.  Does the nostalgia change what was into something more rose-tinted or is that how it really was?  This is why we try to hang on to them.  Preserve what matters most to us.

Never is this more moving than when Bob's old photos are held up against their present day counterparts - it's as if he's brought his very own time portal with him to let us glance into his longing.  Chris' films real success, is that you you get a feel for it too.

Check out Chris' film, Bob & Pontycymer


Who is Billy the Seal?

Who is Billy the Seal? Is Chris Lloyd's second short entered into Cardiff Mini Film Festival.  It's a rather inventive way of showing what you can do with an open approach and gusto.

Chris' short examines the legacy left by Billy the Seal.  The aquatic legend that used to live in Cardiff's Victoria Park.  It's a fun and surprisingly informative ride.  Chris' narrative here is told with clever use of editing and his finger.  However, rather than feel cheap of slap-dash, it has a real hustle to it.  A rhythm you can feel that keeps it moving while the facts unfold.

While you do learn quite a bit about Billy him(her)self, the anecdotes are just as fitting with Chris' dry tone.  While the whit is never in danger of derailing the story or the legacy of what people think about this by-gone legend, much like Chris' other short, you come away with a a wistfulness.

It's the ultimate hoodwink to be both entertained and left with something a little deeper.  Chris makes it look easy.

Watch Who is Billy the Seal? here


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