Besides the brilliant homegrown features that have premiered at the BFI London Film Festival, which came to a close yesterday, the spotlight has also shone on a wealth of up-and-coming short filmmakers from across the capital.
Above is one of our favourites, metaphysical thriller The Brain Hack by Joseph White, which follows two film students in their efforts to create a short-cut to God. It involves hallucinogenic visions, a deadly religious sect and a couple of great twists. It packs a lot into a very short time and will leave your heart racing — no wonder it’s currently scooping awards across the festival circuit.
We also had the opportunity to take in the exciting crop of talent in one of the festival’s most significant short film strands, London Calling. The work here has been developed and supported by Film London with two schemes that include funding, training and mentoring. Over 20 London Calling films are produced annually and the results are regularly outstanding. There are varying stories, themes and approaches, but all communicate one clear message: that the capital’s rising filmmakers are of international quality.
Three London Calling films especially caught our attention. 160 Characters by Victoria Mapplebeck is a mixed media documentary with a compelling personal story told through a montage of on-screen text plus stills and moving imagery. Natalie Malla’s comedy The Girl In The Dress featured great performances by stand-up comic Nick Helm (Uncle), Olivia Poulet (Sherlock) and Claire Keelan (Nathan Barley) and instilled in us a renewed faith in love, even in the most awkward circumstances.
And then Rene Pannevis’s drama Jacked (see the trailer above) raised the bar. It’s a personal story inspired by characters the filmmaker became familiar with when growing up in Rotterdam about two car thieves who get more than they bargained for when they listen to a cassette they find. The flawless production and a great pair of performances by Thomas Turgoose (This is England) and Charley Palmer (Legend) offer the kind of slick yet gripping cinematic experience you'd want from a fully-polished feature. For more on the full 2015 London Calling catalogue click here. It’s also worth mentioning that next year’s London Calling and BAME-oriented London Calling Plus schemes are open to entries until 21 October.
The capital's flair for short film went right across the festival with great London Shorts popping up in all of the different themed strands. We were especially chuffed to see a couple we've featured on Londonist such as Billy Lumby's powerful Samuel-613 and Alicia MacDonald's funny and timely Otherwise Engaged. Meanwhile, the overall winner of best short film was India's An Old Dog's Diary about the life and eventual institutionalisation of avant-garde painter Francis Newton Souza.
Want to be featured? If you have a London-themed short film that you’d like us to consider for this series, send an email with the subject “London Shorts” to Stu Black and Ioanna Karavela via our email: londonshorts@
To see other London Shorts click here.