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It was great fun to attend the first Cambridge University student film festival of the digital age. President Ben Lowings entered the new millennium with digital technology and for the first time the bulk of this now venerable society's output was shot on digital cameras.

The quality of the work shown tonight (March 12, 2000) presages the certainty that we will see an explosion of video making for the internet once broadband means of delivery are in place. Making video shorts on digital cameras is already the rage. Time will come when sites like these will not only be first with the reviews but first with full quality trailers from the next generation of film makers.

The first of the showings was Memory Chase directed by Atta Chui, billed as lasting 15 minutes. It is about those lost in their memories who let these impede on present relationships. Cinematographically and in terms of storyline it is very compelling and one of the highest quality contributions of the evening. It may be the one that lasts in the memory longest.

Next up was Three Chord Song, an ironic four minute music video directed by Chris Ramshaw shot in black and white that had the house in fits of laughter. Something of a spoof on many a rock video.

Third in line was Death in Banares, in effect a three minute trailer for a 42 minute Ramnagar festival documentary on Kings and Gods and directed by Manish Tiwary. Given that it was shot on older Hi8 it achieves a lot on slender resources. It is a serious work, something of an historic record. India will not remain forever like this.

The Jump is a classic of student cinema, showing what can be achieved on the slenderest of resources and props. Indeed this three minute drama, directed by John Quinn, was all about a prop, a tiny replica frog, shot from different angles, first looking of monsterous size but later appearing to be less than two inches. The frog not so much walks the plank as leaps and a tear appears to run from its eye when it falls into a pail. The use of sound, as in many of the films shown, was inspired. This was the comedy that entertained most and was voted the runner-up award by the audience at the end of the showing of the ten films.

At Noon, directed by Cathy Edwards and others, was made in a day, an interesting construct that produces, at the end, a piece of origami also not dissimilar to a frog. An intriguing four minutes of film made entirely under artificial light - unusual certainly for noon.

The five minute wildlife documentary, Ware the Weta, directed by Louisa Wood, edited on university equipment, is of some academic value as being a study of the life of an insect unique to New Zealand. You cannot beat animals for appeal and the film was both entertaining and educative.

Parricide is Manish Tiwary's first drama. Shot indoors the colour and lighting is well balanced for Hi8 footage and much effort seems to have gone into both acting, effects and setting. It produced a good few laughs, too, for its plotting, based around a dream a girl has of murdering her father. Assistant director was Johanna Buisson.

Bug Eyes is another film, directed by Emmeline Yang three minutes long in black and white, that is actor based. It was shot in the 'Sight and Sound' summer class at New York Tisch School of Arts. It centres around the theft of a pair of bug-eyed sunglasses and their recovery and makes appealing use of the New York townscape.

In fairness to the eight films that preceded them, the last two films appeared to have immensely more resources directed at them and been longer in gestation. Fittingly, they were also the two most accomplished technically.

The ten minute Zoo After Dark was voted the best film and deservedly so. An almost surrealistic juxtaposition of animals in the zoo with the life of man and his towscape, married to an excellent use of sound, delivered the goods. Colour was rich, too, and night photography good. Strangely, I did not buy into director David Cann's explanatory words, on being voted winner, that it was an ironic look at post-modernism and showed nature was in danger from man. Not so many of the buildings were post-modern nor do zoo animals demonstrate much about nature.

Not that this detracted from delivering the best film. No wonder some artists, like the sculptor Paolozzi, rarely explain their work; art can explain itself. Foolish critics can digress as much as the like.

The last film, People Factory, ten minutes long, directed by Monty Barlow and Simon Pilgrim, came under the auspices of the Cambridge Animation & Graphics Society, and was entirely made up of computer animations. It is a very humourous film based around manufacturing perfect humans because a virus has knocked out man's reproductive capacity. Far from being sinister it was hilarious and well-made.