Private Project

1st Old Boys

Belfast's 1st Old Boys know that they will have to up their game to stand a chance in the annual Festival of Brass Competition, but rumours of foul play add to the tension.

A short observational documentary giving a privileged insight into the brass band world, following the 1st Old Boys band as they prepare for an upcoming music contest.

  • Dylan Cargill
  • Natalie Sutton
  • Sassan Salamian
    Director of Photography
  • Ben Groves
    Sound Recordist
  • Alex Beighton
    Sound Recordist
  • Tom Hamblin
  • Georgia Thomason
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 12, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Westminster Film School Graduation Showcase 2017
    United Kingdom
    June 17, 2017
  • Eat Our Shorts Student Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    December 1, 2017
Director Biography - Dylan Cargill

Dylan is a young and upcoming director from Belfast. During his time at Westminster Film School, he directed multiple short films.
Having directed two films in his 3rd year at film school, his sights are set to continue directing short films, exploring the mediums of both drama and documentary. Since his graduation, he has gained experience researching at a number of documentary production companies, as well as running on major broadcast television shows.

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Director Statement

Having played the euphonium since the age of eight my interest in relating music and film has always been very strong. The drama films I direct often have strong musical themes, or make use of music in creative ways. When I set out to direct my first documentary, I knew that it had to be related to music in some way. I always thought that the development of an individual within a group is a very interesting topic, and showing the personal development of characters within a brass band was perfect for me.
I immediately thought of the subject of the 1st Old Boys Silver Band, since I had been a member of their Youth Band for about five years. Since I already knew a lot of the band-members, access was relatively easy, and portraying their experience of preparing for the band contest came with relative ease. A lot of the ideas I had in my initial treatment did make it through to the final film in one way or another.
The execution of those ideas was however rather difficult. Recording the sound of about thirty players playing brass instruments, whilst also capturing their much quieter dialogue, was difficult, but thankfully our two sound recordists came up with a combination of as AKGs, Zoom, boom, and radio mics to capture the huge dynamic range of sound. Our DOP and myself decided to cover the band’s rehearsals and contest performance with two cameras. We thought this would give us a greater variety of shots for any key moments of interaction between characters that would come up.
However, I would say the biggest task of making the documentary was the editing. Creating a 15-minute film from hours and hours of footage, and narrowing down our story took a bit of trial and error, but we eventually focused the film on the band practising and performing a single piece of music, with key musical motifs recurring throughout the film that the characters would practise, and eventually come together as a group of individuals to perform. Having completed the film now I am pleased with the work, and I do feel that some scenes in particular portray with great accuracy the workings of a brass band. Whether I am finished with the story of the 1st Old Boys is something I am unsure of yet, and perhaps I will make another documentary about them in the future, exploring their world in greater depth and with a different focus.