As part of this year’s London Film Festival, Film London showcased some of our city’s best film-making talent under the London Calling programme, which is supported by Film London’s own production schemes.
Shorts programmes are often difficult, especially if they’re poorly chosen, with the cream of the crop inevitably rising to the top, while smaller pieces tend to fade sooner than they ought. Thankfully, that’s not really the case here, with the most memorable films clocking in roughly around the fifteen minute mark. Claire Oakley’s Physics (see still shot at top) is the real stand-out, a sublime short that’s perfectly suited to its format. Set in a weather-whipped beach-side town, it involves two girls whot believe they’ve found the ‘God particle’ amongst the pebbles. Bringing it to their ageing hippy friend Les (Matt King, Peep Show’s Super Hans), we come to realise what this artefact means to a young girl struggling to say goodbye to her dying mother.
Different in tone, but equally impressive in its pared-down storytelling is Emma Savage’s Sell-By Date, starring Daisy Haggard as a thirty-something woman struggling to conceive with a partner who’s increasingly disheartened by the process. Coming across as a sort of cross between Green Wing and a superior mid-90s British rom-com, it’s much slyer in what it has to say about the expectations and ennui of trying for a baby. The fact that it’s also big-hearted and frequently very funny doesn’t hurt either.
The other shorts on offer – Richard Turley’s Darklight, Chanya Button’s Fire and Luke Rodgers’ I Spy – are also impressive. The only real miss here is Patrick Myles’ Santa’s Blotto, which feels like a missed opportunity in spite of its inspired casting of Brian Blessed as a reprobate Santa who’s bested by a smug little boy on Christmas Eve after he doesn’t deliver the present the kid was hoping for.
London Calling screened as part of this year’s London Film Festival. No further screenings are scheduled, but do seek out these short films elsewhere.