George Pringle Bets on Shorts


Written by James Read
10 Monday 10th December 2007

George Pringle is a girl who speaks narrative lyrics over backing tracks of her own creation. But I am hesitant to call her a singer-songwriter, because that would just be offensive. She told me that she doesn’t even see herself as a musician, which is unfair because she's pretty good with a synth.

Before entering the cinema we were each asked to pick a film from the selection that we believed would win, basing our choices on the programme’s descriptions and the trailers previously shown on the website (which George and I were diligent enough to watch earlier). George picked film number two, Mickey & Maria (dir: Steffen Reuter), I gambled on Mechanically Recovered Chicken (dir: Rob Munday), and photographer Oli Longmore chose Even if She Had Been a Criminal (dir: Jean-Gabriel Périot).

Watching over 90 minutes of shorts was, perhaps unsurprisingly, rather more fatiguing than a single feature-length film. In spite of this, and George’s ailing health (she was recovering from the flu), a restorative drink in the bar set us straight and we discussed the evening’s films.

Despite having been impressed by the trailer for Mickey & Maria, in particular the scene in which two children piss into a paddling pool at a party, George was less convinced by the full film, and likened the main child actor to the worryingly-perfect, Aryan innocence of the Kinder kid.

Discussing Even if She Had Been a Criminal was almost as difficult as watching it – lots of violent public humiliation of women accused of affairs with German troops. Entirely constructed from stock footage, the film is essentially an arresting illustration of what you can do with a bloody good editor. Having viewed all the films, George correctly predicted that Even if She Had Been a Criminal would be the judges’ choice.

Of the other films, George told me that she loves La Dolce Vita, La Haine and the works of Satyajit Ray (she described him as “a kind of Indian Fellini”). She said that her favourite film when she was growing up was Edward Scissorhands and then told me not to write that in case it makes her seem too emo. Oops! She’s fond of Psycho too, and theorised that perhaps it’s because she fancies Norman Bates. Who doesn't.

George’s voice on her tracks (and in conversation) is very much the Queen’s English and it came as no huge surprise to find out that she went to a single-sex boarding school for seven years. She told me that she learnt Latin there, which some students used as a sort of private code. If someone had a packet of crisps they didn’t want, for instance, they could offer them up by saying “Quis” (who?), and any nearby classics students could claim them by responding “Ego” (me).

We took our conversation out of the rowdy bar area and unfortunately missed the announcement declaring the winner. I later found that it was Even if She Had Been a Criminal, which was our photographer’s choice. Unfortunately, however, Oli missed out on the prize (a year’s pass to the ICA) because when the prize-giver called “Quis” he wasn’t present to to holler: "Ego."

You can watch Even if She Had Been a Criminal here. Find out more about Betting on Shorts, and view trailers for the rest of the entries at their website

George Pringle's new single, Carte Postale, is available for free download here. Check out more details, including upcoming tour dates, at

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