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Review: ‘Coastal Shelf’

Fresh Loaf Production’s latest film ‘Coastal Shelf’ premieres at The Cornerhouse

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Many of us dream of stepping into the big wide world of filmmaking after uni, but it’s also a daunting prospect. How to tackle it and with whom must seem a mammoth undertaking. The process of sourcing and supplying equipment, money, time, and publicity is not an easy one and it’s no surprise that for many who tentatively say “I’m thinking of going into film” it does, ultimately, prove to be an empty statement.

This is not the case with Fresh Loaf productions, a newly-founded film production company comprised of Manchester-based post-graduates. Working day jobs and filming on the side, this group went out there and sourced support and equipment sufficient to produce thirty minutes of cinema that screams anything but standard student-film. The only thing more inspiring than their professional and enthusiastic approach to the film-making process is the sophistication inherent in the product of all their hard work: their latest short Coastal Shelf is a triumph.

Coastal Shelf is the story of a break up with a somewhat mythical twist. Having been banished from his house by his long-suffering girlfriend, Simon meets a woman he is unable truly to understand, a woman who claims to be a siren. Perplexed yet intrigued and with nowhere else to go, Simon rescues the siren, who in turn teaches him some truths and lessons about his relationship with his ex and her male friend. Can Simon learn from his mistakes? Do we ever find out who the siren is and how she knows so much about Simon?

With a screenplay that presents constant juxtapositions between picturesque seaside and city housing estate, night and day, the mythical and the real, writer Joe McKie draws it all together seamlessly into a narrative that grows in tension, whilst making his sinister storyline sparkle with some witty one-liners and quirky characters. Jade Greyul’s cinematic vision for McKie’s screenplay only enhances its sinister side and the cast act brilliantly producing performances with  intensity which chill to the core. Edited too to a very high standard, the result is an almost hypnotic piece of cinema, as mesmerizing as a siren’s song.

Beautifully shot, professional effects, well acted, great story line. Coastal Shelf is a fantastic effort, and was certainly well received by the large audience at its premiere at The Cornerhouse. My only criticism was its length – thirty minutes? I would have loved more! However, with a captivated audience and a story with a tantalizing cliffhanger, there must be scope for McKie to pen a sequel.

The whole occasion was genuinely inspiring and it was great to see so many there to support writer and director Joe McKie, Jade Greyul (camera) and producer Ollie Kerswell in their first filmmaking venture together. Through this thirty minute short, Fresh Loaf demonstrate what can be achieved on a low budget with student resources. It’s a big and challenging world out there, but Fresh Loaf have got all the ingredients for success  – very professional, very inspiring and very impressive.