Supermarkets go head to head in Trolley Boys

Words and photography by Katie Dancey

If there’s a gap in the market for a short film dramatising the secret underworld of the supermarket car park, Trolley Boys fills it. It’s a fresh idea, it’s funny and is suitably silly (in a deadpan kind of way), but the real story lies behind the film – it’s about the filmmakers.

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Last Friday, The Alt Entertainer was invited to the Trolley Boys world premiere at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Dance Theatre. Before the film was unveiled, we were treated to an in-depth exploration of the world behind the film. A group of young people (some as young as fifteen) took to the stage, explaining how they’d taken part in the BFI Film Academy in Bournemouth to start their filmmaking journeys. Some of them had no film experience at all (“Aside from watching Netflix in my bedroom,” as one student put it), and The Academy helped the youngsters learn and develop their craft; the culmination of the course was Trolley Boys. The students took the helm at every level of the production process, from pitching story ideas and designing make-up, to directing actors and buying up Asda’s entire supply of satsumas for the film’s food fight climax.

With the expertise of White Lantern Films, who delivered Trolley Boys, and the backing of the BFI it seems that this talented group of future Tarantinos and Spielbergs were given almost free-reign to explore their talents, with a little guidance on hand when they needed it.

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And now to the film.

As an ongoing turf-war finally comes to a head, war is declared between two supermarkets. Trolley boys and check-out girls unite to trade blows with the only weapons they have available to them: supermarket produce. Expect Braveheart-style troop rallying, war cries and death by banana. Local actors Dan Palmer and Chris R Wright take on the roles of rival supermarket trolley gang leaders, and the BFI students make up the rest of the cast, demonstrating their admirable versatility.

The crew admits that Trolley Boys still requires a little polishing, but the general quality of Trolley Boys is testament to the success of the academy, and a reminder of what can be done with little more than ambition and enthusiasm.

My only complaint would be that I wanted more: I want to know more about the backstory of the rival gangs, and see a slower build to the battle. I’d like to find out about some of the characters, and see them develop over the film. Trolley Boys is an excellent short film, but it surely has potential for a longer feature. Perhaps a future instalment will see shelf-stackers rolling frozen turkeys down the supermarket aisles.

If you want to see a great example of what young talent can accomplish, I’d recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to watch Trolley Boys. And it’s very short, so by the time you’ve read this, you really might as well have watched it anyway.

Check out the Trolley Boys trailer below:

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