For many years HeyUGuys have partnered with our good friends at BIFA to celebrate and champion the very best in British Independent Film. With the 2021 British Independent Film Awards coming up in early December we’re proud to announce the longlist for the Best British Short Film.

We’ll take a look at the films nominated here, and five of these will go on to the shortlist of nominations, to be announced on BIFA’s social media channels on the 3rd of November. As always the winners will be announced as part of the BIFA ceremony, to be held this year on the 5th December, 2021.

It’s always a pleasure to celebrate the best in this country’s short form cinema, and these nominees remind us of the variety of visions and voices working today.

The BIFA Best British Short Film Award is proud to be supported by BFI Network, who exist to discover, support, develop and champion new filmmakers.

Here are the nominees in the longlist for the 2021 BIFA Best British Short Film.


The ClearingUK 2021 13 min.

Director/Writer: Daniel Robert Hope, Producer: Johannes Schubert 

Cast: Julian Barratt, Julia Davis

Battling against the wilderness and his own ego, Bill struggles to impress Deb with below-par outdoor skills and shocking behaviour, until their last-ditch camping trip takes a sinister turn.

BIFA voters said: “Wonderful animation and a truckload of fun. I think there’s real talent here.”



UK 2021 15 min

Director/Writer: Olive Nwosu, Producer: Alex Polunin

Cast: Sheila Chukwulozie, Teniola Aladese

In search of healing, a young woman returns home to Nigeria, the country of her birth.

Comments from the BIFA Voters include: “Mysterious, mesmerizing, divine feminine, considered and sensitively filmed and framed. Really special.”


FEMMEUK 2021 18 min

Director/Writer: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping, Producers: Sam Ritzenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienjke Attoh

Cast: Paapa Essiedu, Harris Dickinson

Jordan is a femme gay man – a label he wears proudly. But every time he steps out of the house with his lipstick on he remembers his dad’s stark warning: the world will always be a dangerous place for a boy like him…

BIFA voters noted that the short was: “Mysterious, mesmerizing, divine feminine, considered and sensitively filmed and framed. Really special.”

See the FEMME Trailer and learn more about the short here.


For LoveUK 2021 13 min.

Director/Writer: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Producer: Emily Morgan

Cast: Ann Akinjirin, Marcy Dolapo Oni, Damola Adelaja, Diana Yekinni

Nkechi, an illegal immigrant, who’s been hiding for three years, lives with her girlfriend Martha and their two other friends Dolapo and Tolu. When immigration does a random check on Dolapo, both Nkechi and Martha are forced to make decisions about their love and their future together.


Hanging OnUK 2021 10 min.

Director: Alfie Barker, Producer: Hollie Bryan

In a neighbourhood united when faced with eviction,  this creative documentary reminds us of the struggles of those slipping through the cracks of society and explores what it means to have a home.

BIFA voters said: “I really like the creative visualisation. Insightful window into a community who don’t really have their voices listened to.”


Know The GrassUK 2021 14 min.

Director/Writer: Sophie Littman, Producer: Lorine Plagnol

Cast: Conrad Khan, India Fowler, Annabel Hill

Mattie has dreamlike premonitions which she is encouraged to ignore by her older brother Marco who is desperate for her to take another path than their mum – an absent figure behind a curtain. But not all can be controlled…


Night of the Living DreadUK 2021 11 min.

Director: Ida Melum, Writers: Laura Jayne Tunbridge, Hannah Kelso, Producer: Danielle Goff 

Cast: Jessica Dennis, Stephen Fry

When a power cut ruins Ruby’s bedtime routine, she finds herself haunted by some unwanted guests. The only way for Ruby to get a peaceful night of sleep is to confront her visitors.

BIFA voters loved the: “Great character design and animation. The humour and emotional beats land.”


Play It SafeUK 2020 13 min

Director/Writer: Mitch Kalisa, Producer: Chris Toumazou

Cast: Jonathan Ajayi, Heather Heather, Kate Ovenden, Charlie O’Connor, Louis Richards, Grace Daly, Lauren Raisbeck, Emily Seale Jones

Out of place in his middle-class drama school and pigeonholed for a role as a Black hoodlum, Jonathan decides to demonstrate to his peers that their unconscious racism is just as impactful as those who wear their intolerance proudly.

BIFA voters said: “Fantastic. The subtext, the movement, the cinematography, the performance all work wonderfully together to create a compelling story.”


Precious Hair and BeautyUK 2021 11 min

Director/Writer: John Ogunmuyiwa, Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager

Cast: Tomi Ogunjobi

An ode to the mundanity and madness of the high street, told through the window of an African hair salon.

BIFA voters said: “An interesting, amusing and authentic slice-of-life portrayal of a focal point for the Black community.”


RUNUK 2021 11min.

Director/Writer: Ruth Greenberg, Producers: Helen Gladders, Ivana MacKinnon

Cast: Niamh Algar, Barney White.

A woman’s morning run takes a dark turn…

BIFA voters called it “a visceral, tense film.”


Soft AnimalsUK 2021 3 min.

Writer Director Renee Zhan, Producer Jesse Romain 

Cast: Paul Panting, Joanna Ruiz. 

Two ex-lovers bump into each other at a train station…

BIFA voters loved “the animation style” and the short’s “abstract moments.”

You can see the Soft Animals Trailer right here.


Such Small HandsUK 2021 19 min.

Director/Writer: Maria Martinez Bayona, Producer: Tom Wood

Cast: Sophie Mulhall.

At the girls’ orphanage, the group’s unchecked pack mentality alienates a new arrival. To swing the balance of power, she invents a manipulative night game.

BIFA voters said: “The filmmaking here is really impressive and confident.”


Tic TocUK 2020 22 min.

Director: Mark Waters, Producers: Jeff Hordley, Zoe Henry

In the sixteen years that Felix Sanderson has grown up he’s had to contend with the unpredictable and consuming nature of Tourette’s Disorder, all whilst navigating the usual tribulations of adolescence.

BIFA voters said: “This was a brilliantly made, compassionate and carefully crafted documentary.”