The Bottle Imp

It seems I don’t own a single image from my second short film as director, THE BOTTLE IMP. (And yet I’m sure I have a postcard SOMEWHERE.) And I never uploaded it to YouTube. I guess that probably means it’s the black sheep in my filmography, or one of them. It’s the one where the flaws are entirely down to my inexperience, even those brought about by my collaborators, because I *chose* the collaborators. And some of them did great, which makes it all the more disappointing that the film isn’t better.

I’ve just spent a dusty ten minutes guddling about under various beds and I can’t even find the prop bottle I modified for the film (with electrical help from my dad), which I *know* is here somewhere. And so this is to be probably the first UN-illustrated blog post in the history of Shadowplay, and that feels apt in a way.

The ancient short film (1992 or so) only comes because the nice people at Glasgow Short Film Festival are screening it, as part of a retrospective on the short film scheme that gave birth to it. So, with trepidation, it looks like I’m venturing forth to the city of Glasgow on Sunday to see the damn thing for the first time in decade. I’m expecting a bit of a reunion feeling, combined with a bit of embarrassment. Honestly, the film can’t be as bad as my memories of it. Robert Louis Stevenson gave us a good story, anyway.

They asked some of the participants to write about our memories of taking part in “First Reels,” so I did. Here.

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6 Responses to “The Bottle Imp”

  1. Simon Fraser Says:

    I have fond memories of it. I had no involvement whatsoever, so I was a wee bit objective.

  2. I think it’s the one where my (inflated) hopes for it were most out of tune with the end result, And we had a few dysfunctional crew members who soured the experience for me, and we needed to do a proper set of pick up shots and didn’t (my fault). And none of us KNEW ENOUGH.

  3. How common an occurence is it for directors (particularly of obscure films) to actually lose a physical copy of their own work?

  4. I have it on VHS somewhere. The version they’re screening comes from a 16mm print the producer kept in his shed.

    I think filmmakers losing their films will be extremely common. David Lynch lost most of his outtakes from his early work. Factor in labs closing, and things being saved on obsolete video formats, and we’re probably looking at a very bad period for lost movies.

  5. That’s frightening. The weirdest story of a lost print I’ve heard is the rumour about Laurent Bouttonat’s ultra obscure extreme horror La Ballade de la Feconductrice having its sole print stolen by an audience during its two week run (this information is highly contingent on my google translate accurately conveying the information on a French forum, and the only footage that exists is of someone filming a monitor).

    Even weirder is Sidney Ling’s Lex the Wonderdog. At one point he held the Guinness world record for the youngest movie director, yet the sole information about him appears to be his own self-penned tall tales, and the movie has vanished off the face of the earth. The sole reason keeping me from thinking its a hoax are its IMDb and BFI registries, and the Guinness fact

  6. Well, the IMDb means nothing, but I guess Guiness try to verify their facts. I imagine it’s quite possible that Ling, having achieved his feat, lost all interest in the film iself…

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