Interview with JW Griffiths, Nokia Short Film Contest Winner

Meet JW Griffiths, a talented filmmaker from the UK who has won the Nokia Short Film competition at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival with ‘Splitscreen: A Love Story’. Featuring a split screen narrative of Paris, London and New York, his film features stunning cinematography with superb direction and flawless editing.

Entirely shot on the Nokia N8 pocket size camera, ‘Splitscreen: A Love story’ proves how films can be made to very high standard using ‘mini’ technology. James is also an editor and has worked on a wide range of projects including music videos, commercials, documentaries and movie trailers. Find out how he approached Nokia’s short film competition and what it took for him to get the footage just right.

Iain: How did you plan your shoot to incorporate two cities in a split screen format?

James: We knew the basic story arc of two separate people travelling through their cities to eventually meet in London, but we didn’t have a strict shot list. So, first we went to Paris armed with the phones and just walked everywhere and shot anything and everything that would be useful. We then picked all the good shots and travelled to New York to match those shots and shoot even more interesting things. We then went back to Paris and matched extra shots we had from New York. They are both such beautiful and iconic cities that we ended up with 15 hours of footage. Then in post we cherry picked the best shots and put it all together into a split-screen format.

Iain: What kind of equipment did you use to keep your framing steady and fluid?

James: We used a Steadicam Smoothee, which was actually made for an iPhone 3GS. We had to adapt it with a hack saw. We also used two car mounts to attach the phones to the windscreen of our rental car.

Iain: Are you working on any projects with a similar style to this one?

James: Not at the moment, my projects always seem to be quite varied.

Iain: Do you feel that shooting short films on mobile phones will go mainstream?

James: Yes. Making a short film can be expensive, so as the phone cameras get better people will begin to use the thing they already have in their pocket rather than renting expensive equipment. Of course there will always be short films shot with the best and most expensive equipment but I think we’ll start seeing more and more great films shot on mobile phones.

Additional reading:

You can also discover our feature interview with Vicky Mather, who directed award winning short film ‘Stanley Pickle’, which James edited.

Check out James’ work here: www.jwgriffiths.com

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