As the end of the year fast approaches, awards season will soon be upon us. The 2019 British Independent Film Awards is all set to take place on December 1st, we can now reveal the longlist for 2019’s Best British Short.
The full list of nominations for the BIFAs won’t be announced until November 30th, but in previous years films such as Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘The Favourite’, ‘God’s Own Country’ and ‘American Honey’ were all worthy winners at the ceremony.
Nominees and winners are selected by the industry – every eligible film is watched and discussed, making BIFA the only truly credible source for the best in British independent film. The winners for Best British Independent Film, Best British Short Film and the nine craft categories are decided by a confidential vote amongst all BIFA voters.
Let’s take a look at the full breakdown of the nominated shorts for 2019.
Dir: Dekel Berenson
Prod: Merlin Merton, Olga Beskhmelnitsyna
Anna, a middle-aged single mother, lives in a small industrial town in war-torn Eastern Ukraine. She works in a meat processing plant, lives in a rundown apartment and dreams for a better life for herself and her 16-year-old daughter.
Desperate for a change, she is lured by a radio advertisement to attend a party organized for foreign men who are touring the country, searching for love. Despite not having been out for years she decides to take part in the event.
At the party, Anna is confronted with the realities of old age, with the American men’s real intentions, and by her underaged daughter who is also attending the event. Both mother and daughter realize the absurdity and indignity of the situation and abandon their dream for a better life.
Writ/Dir: Dekel Berenson
Prod: Merlin Merton, Dominic Davey
Nestled between a beautiful lake and the Himalayas, Ashmina, 13, lives with her family at the outskirts of Pokhara Nepal, paragliding capital of the world.
The remote and traditional town is also a busy tourist destination where the locals are profoundly affected by the swarms of tourists who visit it daily. Forced to skip school, Ashmina helps her family make ends meet by working at the landing field, packing the parachutes of foreign pilots in return of small change.
Writ/Dir: Myriam Raja
Prod: Nathanael Baring
A tribe of women await their men’s return from war. Azaar, one of the last young girls in the village is caught between her mother and the traditions of her grandmother as she comes to learn the true cost of womanhood.
Dir: Philip Barantini
Prod: James Cummings, Gabriella Callea, Freddie Hutton-Mills, Bart Ruspoli
During the busy run-up to Christmas, a single-take snapshot of the immense stress and skills of a talented head chef reveals that things are about to burst behind the restaurant’s flash façade.
Dir: Hector Dockrill
Writ: Laura Dockrill and Hector Dockrill
Prod: Benedict Turnbull, Harri Kamalanathan
In the aftermath of her older brother’s death, 11-year-old Viola is struggling to process her grief. With only her mother and precious pet goldfish for company, her rosy view of the world is turned upside down until she finds a letter from a stranger that changes everything.
Writ/Dir: Nirpal Bhogal
Prod: Uzma Hasan, Cavan Ash, Garry Paton, Arvind David
In 90s London, British Asian teenager Jas, deals with a daily barrage of racism by hoping he’ll disappear. When he meets a group of older “Rudeboys”, they tell him to stand up for himself and respond to racism with violence, but will Jas heed their advice, even if it means destroying his closest friendship?
Love The Sinner
Dir: Jennifer Sheridan
Writ: Susan Wokoma
Prod: Bertie Peek
11-year-old Joanna tries to understand grief for the first time when she witnesses her mother’s manic reaction to the death of Princess Diana, whilst trying to use the incident to get out of Sunday School.
Dir: Kyla Simone Bruce
Writ: Gorana Jovanovic
Prod: Ohna Falby, Lily Ashton
Mercury is a raw fast-paced comedy-drama. It opens a window into the lives of Al (21) and Bambi (22), two best friends who are embroiled in a symbiotic friendship. Taking place over the short journey to the hospital where Al’s scheduled C-section will take place, it focuses on this small yet pivotal moment in their lives and that of Al’s as of yet unborn child.
Set within the confines of the car, they cannot escape each other and the particular and complex relationship between the awkward Bambi and the quick-witted and irresponsible Al is explored. During this 10 minute journey, Al and Bambi say very little but reveal a lot. Al is jokey and irresponsible. Bambi has a strong sense of duty. Fatalism and rebellion collide during their journey. We see a window into a singular friendship as Al and Bambi struggle not to be defined by their choices and to establish their identities and trajectories as women of the twenty-first century.
The film explores serious issues such as pregnancy, motherhood and what it is to be a responsible adult are channelled through humour and comedic situations. Their raw, crude banter, as well as the absurd situations they get themselves into, are unapologetic and the platonic yet intense and important kind of love between best- friends, is studied. How far will Bambi go to support her friend at this difficult time? Would Al do the same for Bambi? I want to play with all the fun happening on the outside, and the drama almost completely developing on the inside.
Music & Clowns
Dir: Alex Widdowson
Music & Clowns is an animated documentary which functions as a rich portrait of my family, which includes Jamie, a person with Down syndrome.
This film was conceived as a response to a polemic documentary by Sally Phillips the UK’s leading public advocate for the Down syndrome community.
Barry attempts to elicit the help of his former lover after a terrible incident involving his Nan.
Paul Is Dead
Writ/Dir: George Moore
Writ: Stuart Armstrong, Ben Bovington-Key
Prod: Laura Laderas
Paul is Dead is a comedy short film inspired by the classic rock & roll conspiracy theory.
The Lake District, 1967. Hungover and at each other’s throats, John, George and Ringo must convince Billy Shears, a sheepish rural lookalike, to join their band after Paul dies during an experimental drug-filled musical retreat. Braving a perilous mountain hike to bury Paul at the summit, they each must face up to their own inner conflicts and calamitous personal shortcomings if they are going to make it through the journey and stop the band from falling apart.
Writ/Dir: Harry Lighton, Marco Alessi, Matthew Jacobs Morgan
Prod: Sorcha Bacon
Tam gets on the first tube home alone. In just a crop-top and high-waisted jeans, he feels conspicuous. So he plugs in his earphones and begins reliving his Halloween night out via his phone.
Writ/Dir/Prod: Laura Carreira
Writ: Ramón Durman
Jim, an isolated ex-miner who works as a night-shift security guard faces his last day
at work before retirement. He spends the night patrolling the slagheap of a former
coal mine – a remnant of Scotland’s industrial past. The film explores the intrinsic
relation of an individual to work and asks what’s left when at the end of a lifetime of
labour, a man loses his purpose.
Writ/Dir: Abdou Cissé
Writ: Kieran Kenlock
Prod: Matt Ellingham
Serious Tingz looks at the role of the screwface (slang for a ‘cold contorted facial expression made out of anger or frustration, worn to look tough or unapproachable’) and its effect on young men from inner-city environments. The 3-minute think-piece aims to dispel the look’s reputation as a form of intimidation, and instead to help shed light on its purpose as a form of self-defence.
A new independent British short film explores the face of masculinity, as portrayed by young men who grow up in inner-city environments. Where the iconic ‘screwface’ is more
than just an expression, it’s a matter of life and death.
Writ/Dir: Christopher Andrews
Prod: Tessa Inkelaar, Jacob Swan Hyam
In the remote forests of the Scottish Highlands, an ageing stalker sets his wits and grit against a young poacher, who is taking the heads of his best stags.
The Devil’s Harmony
Writ/Dir: Dylan Holmes Williams
Writ: Jess O’Kane
Prod: Nathan Craig
Kiera is the victim of bullying at school. She’s the captain of the school’s a cappella club, and maybe that’s why she seems like an easy target. However, the club conceals a secret: when they sing “Devil’s Harmony”, all listeners are plunged into a catatonic state.
We Are Dancers
Writ/Dir: Joe Morris
Prod: Luz Alejandra Llano Veliz
We Are Dancers is a period drama set in 1933 Berlin about Hansi Sturm, an anti-Nazi cabaret drag-artist, and his friends the day after the Reichstag fire. Hansi must decide whether to abandon his club or stay to face the Nazi men his former lover has told him will come there for revenge.
This is a story about defiance and resistance at a point in queer history not often talked about and seeks to honour the 50,000 victims of fascist violence against the LGBT community during the Nazi regime.