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Building Tinseltown

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Aug 1, 2023

Film Reviews
Building Tinseltown
Directed by:
Brandon Phillips
Written by:
Jacob Stockton, Jay Armstrong, Hannah McMenzie

A short documentary about the making of the 2022 short film Tinseltown.


During their final year at Northumbria University Newcastle, a group of film students were assigned to make an eight-minute-long short film and this documentary reveals how they managed to pull it off. The result was a forty-minute long comedy drama about a lonely wannabe actor who has two imaginary friends.


The documentary consists of interviews of the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage and it is structured in a way that begins with the idea for the film in January 2022, following the challenges during the filming, organising, etc., before reaching the premiere in July of that year. There is a countdown to the day of the premiere with dates announcing how close it is and the shoots are numbered. The interviewees include director and writer Jacob Stockton, producers Jay Armstrong and Hannah McMenzie, editors Daniel Laybourn and James Case and actor Harrison Emmonds, who plays 'Jake', the film's main character. By sharing their experiences, they provide an informative insight into the making of this student project, revealing the hard work and difficulties involved, including last-minute changes.


This documentary is more than an account of the process that led to the creation of Tinseltown. It points out the activities and efforts that are essential in filmmaking and how aspects of that industry including script, directing, editing and character study come together in order to create a film. And of course, it introduces to the viewer to the inspiring, ambitious and hard-working individuals who worked together and utilised their creativity in order to make their idea a reality and listening to their stories and watching them in action is fantastic.


Director Phillips also worked on the editing and does a great job, making effective use of split screen and fast cutting techniques. The documentary also benefits substantially from an entertaining soundtrack and the opening montage that includes interviews with various celebrities from the film industry is a superb way to grab the audience's attention.


Building Tinseltown is about the development and release of a student short film and it examines in detail the filmmakers' journey to complete it and the complications that they encountered. It is a rather interesting viewing and aspiring filmmakers (and movie fans) should definitely give this one a go.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film, Documentary
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