Tom Powers: A Young Film Student With A Distinct Voice
In 2017, Videos have taken over the lives of millions.We live in a world that's always surrounded by News, Fashion Ads, Television & of course Short Films. It's no wonder that in this age of self-uploading content, the interests of Millennials wanting to pursue the art of Filmmaking is on the rise. Film Schools are getting more applications every year. And traditional Film Festivals (such as Sundance) are garnering thousands of applications. Indeed, we live in a world where everybody wants to stand out? Or, do we?
Despite the rise of Young Filmmakers, it seems like the industry isn't pushing forward. And for a lot of these Hopeful Filmmakers, it doesn't look like they want to see the industry grow. The Glamour & Cultish Nature of Hollywood Elitism has blinded a ton of people. A 2012 Study found that a significant percentage of 10-12-year-old children ONLY want to become famous. And with the expansion of Youtube & other Social Media Outlets, that number is probably larger by now. Indeed it would be foolish to assume that none of these kids went on to pursue film school. In fact, in my opinion, it seems like a large percentage of wannabe Film Students only do it so that they can be part of the Archaic Hollywood Culture (not the Art).
The rest of the world is far different, however. Governments, Independent Films, Festivals, ETC. all recognize the power of the Visual Artform outside of the Hollywood landscape. These Foreign Films might not have the budget of Hollywood, but they certainly have a human touch. Filmmakers from around the world (most of them at least) want to Direct Films because they see real potential in this art-form. These Artists create films that are Poetic, Compassionate, Deep, Unique and above all, Impactful. Young International Film Students feel like they HAVE to make movies.
But because Hollywood has so much influence on Media, it's hard to track down Young Filmmakers with unique potential. International Voices have it even worse than a typical American Filmmaker. Unless their film is featured in a Film Festival, nobody (outside a group of friends & family) will notice them.
This is one of the multiple reasons why I wanted to create this platform. Visionary Film Students need a place to show off their work before being judged by 'Professionals.' Luckily the student I will be talking about Today won't disappoint anybody (including those Professionals).
Tom Powers, a 19-Year-Old British Filmmaker, is one of the most well-rounded Film Students I have ever met. His newest Short Film titled 'Units' was just released on Youtube. Click down below to watch it before moving on with the rest of the Article.
As one can see, "Units" is about the Dangers of Alcohol Consumption. Not a New Topic, especially in a Film School Setting. But what makes it Stand-Out is his Experimental Execution. "Units" takes a Unique Spin at how our world conceives Alcohol & it's effects. It doesn't just show a dull, dumb alcoholic having challenges with their addiction. Instead, it goes deeper & shows us all what Alcoholism is really about.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the hopeful Film Director on May 19th of this year. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't grow up that different from any average Modern Day Western World Child. He fell in love with Filmmaking after watching The Shawshank Redemption at his grandmother's house. Some of his favorite filmmakers include David Fincher, Documentary Filmmaker Louis Theroux & Frank Darabont (who directed the already mentioned "Shawshank Redemption"). He made short films as a High School Student & now studies Film Production at a University. To anybody that has never met him, he sounds pretty typical. So why does Tom stand out among the sea of Hopefuls?
During the Lengthy Interview, I first thing I noticed was how Engaged he was to the world around him. He showed me right away that he had a lot of insight into the Cinematic Landscape. In fact, he made it clear that he wanted to use the Art-Form as a way to show off a particular message. "Units" was an excellent example of this Philosophy, but it wasn't his only.
He also displays it in some of his previous films. In the two-part video series titled "Beneath The Surface," he shows just how morbid an Average-Looking Teenager can be. Both of these films showcase an Incredible Use of Visual Tension. So much so that you can watch the movie muted & still play guessing games. He made sure that nothing was oversimplified through on-the-nose dialogue. I suggest you check them both out right below.
While we are on the subject of false oversimplifications, Experimental Films are often criticized for not having a Narrative. And while some filmmakers care more about Experience over Story (like yours truly), it's extremely closed-minded to act like Every Experimental Artist feels this way. Tom Powers cares very deeply about Film Narrative (and the stories that can come from it). He just takes a different approach to how he shows that Narrative off.
During our interview, Tom cited that "Units" wasn't just an Experimental Film. He called it a mix between Experimental, Narrative & Pseudo-Documentary Filmmaking. He wanted me to know that he didn't just make "Units" to stand out. After Viewing "Units" Multiple Times (12 to be exact), the film showed me what Tom was talking about in that interview. The film is Experimental in nature; nobody should deny this. But he was smart enough to leave certain ideas clear & distinct. In "Units" we can obviously tell that the film is about Alcoholism. The Audience can clearly tell what is happening at every moment in the film. But the Experimental Nature of the Films Perspective makes it something that an audience will want to view multiple times. It gives them a new perspective the more they study what Tom's Message is all about.
In other words, Tom Powers is the perfect example of a "Narrative Experimentalist." This definition (in layman's term) means that the Film Maker wants the Message to be Clear, but the Film around that Message needs to have an Auteur-Like Perspective (or Experimental). Experimental Filmmaking isn't just a simplified genre. It's an Art Movement that has multiple sub-cultures inside it. Narrative Experimentalists are one of the biggest sub-cultures in this movement. And Tom Powers takes great pride in being a Narrative Experimentalist.
During our interview, we also talked about the various issues within the current Hollywood Film Industry. His biggest problem was Originality & the lack of risk taking. He Certainly isn't alone in this thought process.
This Summer, The Box Office is expected to perform far lower than it did a decade ago. Variety (and other Hollywood Magazines) blame it on Netflix & other Streaming Services (Streaming Services they helped to create BTW). But the Obvious Answer is the lack of Original Content coming from the multi-media conglomerates. Even if a Million Popular Streaming Services existed, an exciting Summer Movie Season would garner the attention of a potential Audience. But none of these Movies are made for entertainment, they're made for Corporate Safety. And Tom Powers agreed with me that the modern Hollywood System doesn't take enough risks.
That is why we (as a Film Community) need to recognize Tom Powers & show off his honest perspective. Right now, he is only starting off. But even with a few films under his belt, he shows great promise. He doesn't copy; he doesn't beg. He doesn't make fan films that will make Hollywood feel special about itself. He creates the films that inspire him the most, which is the way Every Film SHOULD be made.
"Units" shows the Visionary Insight that Tom Powers can give to an Audience. Ten Years From Now (or even sooner) he could be creating Films that could inspire millions of people to be original themselves. But every believer in True Artistry must push this type of Filmmaker onto potential audiences. None of them can discover Tom Powers if they only watch Hollywood Blockbusters.
So for everybody that has watched & enjoyed his work, please spread the message. Either share the link to his Video or have them read this article. Audiences must know that Tom Powers truly cares about giving his audience the experience they deserve. Can a Modern Day Multi-Million Dollar Blockbuster say the same?
To end this off, I just want to say that I hope that one day, every film student has a Unique Vision. Hollywood, Clichés & Audience Expectations are okay, but they aren't the reason why Film was initially recognized. 100 Years Ago, Audiences wanted to Experience something they've never seen before. They wanted to see something that was larger than themselves. They wanted to be inspired by the Film & the people who made it happen.
Tom is the type of Film Student that can bring this mindset back to the masses. "Units" showed me that our Art-Form isn't as industrialized as I initially feared. We still have Young Filmmakers who want to show a Unique Perspective. Tom is the type of Filmmaker that can inspire others & create a world where Artistic Expression is the only thing that matters. Tom is a real filmmaker, not a fake sell-out who wants to work in Hollywood. I think it's time that our audiences get a True Experience.
Thanks so much for reading my first ever Article on a Young Visionary Filmmaker. Tom Powers was an excellent choice as he was very well spoken & knew what he was talking about. I urge everybody to follow him as I expect great things to come to the 19 Year Old Artist. Follow him on Google Plus or Youtube (and subscribe if you like his work).
If you read this & feel like you have a Visionary Voice, please message me so I can write an article on your work. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember only Unique Visions will be written about (so don't send me a Star Wars Fan Film). Follow me on Facebook & Twitter Share this website with everybody you know & stay tuned. A Filmmaker like Tom might be rare, but he isn't alone.
I will update everybody in the future once another film from Tom Powers is released. Until then, thanks for reading & please continue to support unique talent.