BAFTA is partnering for the second year with specialist distributor The Independent Cinema Office (ICO) to bring film fans the BAFTA Shorts Tour 2014, the theatrical release of BAFTA’s 2014 animated and live short nominees. Ranging from the weird to the wonderful, this year’s nominees showcase up and coming British talent, showing what they can do when time is not on their side.
Orbit Ever After (2013)
Directed by Jamie Stone
This is a sci-fi comedic short starring Thomas Sangster, known for his roles in Love Actually and Nanny McPhee, as youngster Nigel. Having spent his life in space under the watchful eye of his cautious parents (Mackenzie Crook and Bronaugh Gallagher), he finds himself falling in love with a girl orbiting Earth the wrong way. Regardless of his overprotective parents, Nigel soon decides to sacrifice everything to be with the one he loves. Sweet and amusing, its bittersweet ending does little to diminish its charm.
Sleeping with the Fishes (2013)
Written and directed by Yousif Al-Khalifa
Written by National Film and Television School MA graduate Al-Khalifa, Sleeping with the Fishes tells the story of Sonja, a shy and lonely fishmonger who meets a delivery man who oddly looks like a rainbow trout. Awkwardness ensues but eventually love conquers all. It may sound strange, but its sweet story and cute animation earned its creators the Best Animated Short at the 2014 BAFTAs. This is definitely one to watch.
Island Queen (2012)
Directed by Ben Mallaby
Miriam (Luurtsema) has lived an idyllic life on a small picturesque island with best friend Danny (Pamphilon). But at 30 years old and still living at her parents, she impulsively decides to have a baby via sperm donor only to be faced with an awkward and uncomfortable situation. This is a quirky comedy and nicely paced with some strange subplots included, though the plot twist and the hilarious consequences saves Island Queen from being an ordinary short.
Sea View (2013)
Written and directed by Jane Linfoot
Sea View is Linfoot’s fourth film and was made under the BFI (British Film Institute) Shorts Scheme. Set in a small seaside town, young Jess (Eloise Smyth) meets Jason for the first time in daylight. Their tryst starts off as exciting though quickly sours as realisation hits Jess that their getaway is not as perfect as she thought. Gritty and rebellious, Sea View unfortunately falls flat in terms of its originality.
Everything I can see from here (2013)
Directed by Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Sam Taylor
This is a bit of surreal animation about two friends living in a desolate part of England. When a game of football is disrupted by a mysterious stranger, things take a serious yet frightening turn. The animation style is colourful and suits the story well, but it is not as engaging as its fellow animated nominees.
Keeping up with the Jones (2013)
Directed by Michael Pearce
The longest running nominee at 28 minutes, this dramedy sees Celia (Peake), the dutiful wife of an MP, being shown the truth about her husband after being taken hostage by two hitmen, who are looking for him. Funny, witty and poignant in places, all three leads are enjoyable and the every-changing tone swings from dark comedy to heartbreak, keeping you on your toes.
I am Tom Moody (2012)
Directed by Ainslie Henderson
I am Tom Moody is a surreal short where aspiring musician Tom Moody (Mackenzie Crook) struggles with stage fright before his performance by trying to overcome his self-doubting past (Jude Crook) and find his inner voice. It’s cleverly made, but not the most accessible of the animated shorts.
Room 8 (2013)
Directed by James W. Griffiths
Directed by National Film and Television School graduate Griffiths, Room 8 is an imaginative short features a prisoner, who makes an unbelievable discovery when imprisoned with an unsettling prisoner but in a bid to escape, he uncovers an ingenious secret behind the cell and his cellmate. Winner of the Best Short Film at the 2014 BAFTAs, it is dark, clever and, with its simple yet straightforward plot, hits the mark of accommodating its 8-minute running time.
The BAFTA Shorts will be shown in UK cinemas from 28th February 2014 as a feature-length selection. For further details, please visit the Independent Cinema Office website for tour dates.
— Katie Wong