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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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 GRASS
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 DREAD
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 SAFE
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 & BEAUTY
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.”
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.”
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.”
SUCH SMALL HANDS
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.”
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.”