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Film of the Week: Standby by Charlotte Regan

Standby by Charlotte Regan (2016) (UK) (6m)

Standby was nominated for a BAFTA in 2017. Set entirely in a cramped police car, we follow a new police partnership: Gary and Jenny. Jenny is the rookie. Their relationship evolves over the coming months in a series of short scenes with extra comedy coming from the various criminals handcuffed in the backseat. There is definitely something of Peter Kay's Car Share in this BAFTA-nominated short film.

Argentine Tango

Waves 98 by Ely Hagder (2015) (Lebanon) (15m)

Waves 98 won the Palm d'Or in 2015 and was in competition at Sundance in 2016. It tells the story of a depressed young man in post-war Beirut, Lebanon. He is lured into the city centre by a strange golden glow. But what will he find there? A big golden metaphor. Visually immersive, the pacing is a little slow to begin with but improves after five minutes. In a way it reminds me of the wonderful short film, Goodbye, by American Tyler Russo.


Lucia, Before And After by Anu Valia (2016) (USA) (13m)

A winner at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, the film opens with a Michael Haneke inspired scene (a one-shot wide), and tells the story of a highschool girl who travels on her own to an abortion clinic hundreds of miles away from her home. She is surprised to learn that she will have to wait a further 24-hours after the initial consultation before she can have the procedure. With no money and nowhere to stay, how will Lucia spend the intervening time, and how will she change after the wait is over?

The Shore

Orbit Ever After (2013) (UK) (20m)

Written and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone, Orbit Ever After was nominated for a BAFTA in 2014. It tells the story of Nigel (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), who lives with is family in a small spacecraft in an eternal orbit around Earth, and who has fallen in love with a girl in another orbiting spacecraft. The only problem is that the girl's spacecraft is orbiting in a different direction and the only way for them to unite is to make a risky space jump.


Last Call Lenny by Julien Lasseur (2016) (USA) (12m)

Announced as the Grand Prize winner in the FILMSshort competition, Last Call Lenny did very well on the short film festival circuit. It tells the story of Gabe, who has decided to end his life, but needs a little help. Lenny offers his services for people in such a situation. However, the talkative Lenny does not like to make things too simple, and also has to avoid being the one to actually pull the trigger. It seems that Lenny is a disaster looking for somewhere to happen.

Helium by Anders Walter (2013) (Denmark) (23m)

Helium won the Best Short Film Oscar in 2014. It is a touching and beautifully made short film about a terminally ill boy, Alfred, who is not particularly enamoured with the prospect of Heaven. The new janitor invents an alternative place called Helium, which is more to Alfred's liking, and forms a relationship with the boy. Anders Walter went on to make the feature film I Kill Giants starring Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar).

The Shore

Boogaloo And Graham by Michael Lennox (2014) (UK) (14m)

Nominated in 2015, Boogaloo And Graham tells the story of two boys growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, whose father saves two male chickens from a hatchery and gives them to the boys. When their mother falls pregnant, she insists that the chickens must go to avoid endangering the health of her unborn baby. However, the two boys are determined to save the chickens from the chopping board. How will their father find a compromise?

The Shore

The Naughty List by Paul Campion (2016) (USA) (9m)

A competition finalist, The Naughty List reminds us that Santa Claus will visit all the world's children on Christmas Eve, even if the child in question - Vince - is an adult mobster hiding out with his partner-in-crime in a secluded cabin. The problem is that Vince's partner does not believe in Santa Claus and, fearing the stranger could be a hitman, is tempted to put a slug in him. For his part, Santa Claus is no saint, but how will this unusual situation end, and will the rest of the world's children get their presents tonight?

Small Deaths

Argentine Tangos by Guy Thys (2006) (Belgium) (14m)

Arguably the best Christmas short film yet made, Argentine Tangos (Tanghi Argentini), was nominated for a Best Short Film Oscar in 2008. In Argentine Tangos, a beautiful comedy drama full of Christmas spirit, we follow a middle-aged office-worker trying to fulflil his Christmas passion and conceal a snowy-white lie. I promise you will thank me for showing it to you. It is in Dutch with English subtitles.

City Lights by Ed Wiles (2016) (UK) (9m)

City Lights is a romantic comedy about a nighttime security guard in a London office tower who finds a unique way to gain the attention of a cleaner in an opposite tower. But with his job on the line, will he be able to invite her for an early morning coffee? An almost entirely dialogue-free short film, with seemless VFX, City Lights premiered at the LA Shorts Fest in 2016 before playing at many more major international festivals.

Feast of Stephen

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