“I thought it would be maybe a nice idea to take a little stroll down memory lane.”
Since 2013, Bertie Gilbert (or as he was known then, BertieBertG) has been providing us with beautifully crafted short films. There hasn’t been a year since then that we haven’t been treated to a new creation from the filmmaker/actor.
In the “rare, seminal world event” that is global lockdown, Bertie is looking back at the previous chapters of his life. Not before explaining his new moustache that looks “ridiculous” enough to “diffuse” the possible pretentious nature of watching and critiquing your own short films.
Bertie goes back to the very beginning with what he describes as “making films at the smallest, lowest, most depraved level.”
When a heartbroken young man finds a time machine, he selfishly uses it to go and win his girlfriend back. Bertie admits he “somehow” still really likes his first short, made when he was only 16. He characterizes the film as having a “playful, whimsical vibe present” whilst also being “very blunt with its messaging”, something which is difficult to manufacture. “This is the raw unfiltered creative expression of a teenage boy.”
In an exclusive bit of trivia, Bertie shares that he was such an amateur at the time that there was never a script for Stray Dog. His preparation, for scenes in which he spoke only to himself, was complete with making a few notes — a tactic which he wouldn’t recommend but one which we definitely think made for a perfect introduction into the Bertie Gilbert film world.
Tick Where It Hurts
This film is the story of a musician who struggles after the suicide of his brother/creative partner. This is Bertie’s “most outwardly dark film” with cinematic techniques he describes as “very textbook” but still something he’s proud of. After a few “fluffier” films, this was Bertie’s first real experiment into tackling heavier subjects.
His closing statement on this short sums up his feelings: “The moral is very muddled and obviously everything about it could be improved but I think there’s a lot to admire.”
Rocks That Bleed
Titled by Dean Dobbs, Rocks That Bleed is the story of two brothers who reunite at the end of the world. Of all his films, Bertie sees this one as the story with the most potential. “I think it’s a really good template. I’ve wanted to adapt this one for years, telling a handful of stories.” This was his first time directing alongside Sammy Paul, with whom he created a film that he has “a lot a lot of love for”.
It can’t go unnoticed that Bertie acknowledged the question we’ve been asking since 2015: when the world is ending because the sun is heating up the planet, why is Jack Howard wearing a jumper?
In Bertie’s biggest project yet, Blue Sushi is about the lead singer of a band grappling with their gender identity in the public eye. With a scene featuring over 500 extras, it’s understandable that Bertie says, “I am so hugely proud of what me, Sammy and the entire team were able to pull off.” He confesses to being “bewildered by the scale and scope of everything” and shares that “despite collaborating with a few trans writers, we could have done more in that respect”.
Even with his own criticisms, Bertie says he doesn’t regret it and the film was “such a thrill to make”.
Let It Be
The story of a recently broken up couple confronting their own mortality with a girl who claims to be the grim reaper, Let It Me is by far the most popular of his films. It stars dodie and Savannah Brown (as well as Bertie himself) and is scattered with Beatles references. The focus of this short is simple: death. “I really wanted this one to feel quite storybook.” Bertie says that this as one of the rare occasions he tried to add humour into his storytelling, saying that “levity is so important”.
“The film is messy but I weirdly think that’s one of its strengths.”
In an attempt to avoid his brothers funeral, a man becomes entangled in a group of forest dwelling children. “The kids really, really steal the show,” Bertie applauds as he begins to tell the wonderful experience of their auditions at his old school. His critique for this short lays in the presentation of how the scenes were shot. “I think we could’ve pushed the visual aspect further.” With this being said, Bertie shares that he was particularly happy with the ending and the “transition from this mad he’d been immersed in, back into the real world he was so desperate to avoid”.
Centered around a young tap-dancer reflecting on his life as he moves out of his family home, Stomping Grounds is the last in Bertie’s short film reviews. He describes this film as visually being the strongest with the use of silhouettes against the windows and the flawless transitions between Bill Milner and his body double (Josh Baker) during the tap dancing scenes. “It looks really polished and refined,” Bertie says. “I like it. I feel like we elevated in a number of ways here.”
This section is followed by the trailer with the text “When the trailer is better than the film” over the top, which likely sums up Bertie’s overall feelings.
As the video comes to an end, Bertie offers his filmmaking wisdom: “Don’t expect everything you make to bang because they won’t all bang” and shares that anyone can start making films at a young age just like he did.
“Film really is the joy of my life,” Bertie shared in his closing thoughts. “I want nothing more than to keep making things in that realm.”