Some of the short films that I was able to watch from the comfort of my own home went on to win Jury Awards. I want to highlight a few of those award winners and encourage you to keep an eye on these filmmakers in the future.
No More Wings (UK)
Directed by Abraham Adeyemi
Winner – Best Narrative Short
Jury Comments: “It checked every box in terms of authenticity, and heart, and it was funny!” “It’s such an elegant piece of filmmaking.”
This film is the only narrative short film to be selected from the UK and really impressed at the Festival. Before this film went into development, writer and director Abraham Adeyemi won a 2019 script competition where he was praised by Oscar- winning writer Barry Jenkins (Moonlight). The press notes include this quote from Jenkins on the film, ‘No More Wings does an absolutely wonderful job of taking a scenario that is extremely grounded and using the form to imbue it with an elevated sense of emotion and spirituality’. When the short was being filmed Adeyemi also had the opportunity to be mentored by Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (1917). For an up-and-coming filmmaker there is really no better company to be in and the final film reflects Adeyemi’s dedication to perfecting his craft.
The film is really a personal story between two friends in South London, who are reuniting at their favorite fried chicken joint. These lifelong friends have chosen different paths for their lives and the film explores what it looks like when friends grow apart and how long the bonds of friendship really last. It’s a beautifully acted and directed story that is heartfelt and also feels significant. The two characters have different points of view, but they are both relatable and compel the audience to lean in and listen. If Abraham Adeyemi continues to pour his heart into his work and share his vulnerability with the audience, he will have a fascinating career ahead.
Directed by Inga Sukhorukova
Special Jury Mention – Best Narrative Short
This a very sweet little narrative film by first-time Russian director Inga Sukhorukova, which received a special Jury mention at the festival. A touching portrait of a father and son relationship that is complicated and messy. Similar to No More Wings, this film explores the depths of a relationship through a bond over food. In this case it is a bowl of soup that tries to unite the characters. Soup is very symbolic of healing, but Sukhorukova does not tie her story up in a neat little bow. While there is a hopeful aspect to the film it is does not shy away from feeling uncomfortable and awkward and ultimately succeeds in portraying a real and nuanced relationship between its two characters.
Directed by Florian Grolig
Winner – Best Animated Short
Jury Comment: “Gorgeous, sparse, monochromatic animation.”
This animated film made by German director Florian Grolig, who is also a producer and game designer, feels vintage and timeless. The animation has a hand-drawn look to it, while being mostly black and white and minimalist. The frames are dominated by two characters - one very big and one very small - who become friends despite their difference in both appearance and behavior. As these two characters navigate the world in which they live, the bonds of their friendship are tested. The story is told beautifully with no dialogue and is very affecting in its simplicity.
Directed by David Oesch
Winner – Student Visionary Award
Jury Comment: “It’s rare to see in a student festival something very real with a great Macabre climax that’s really sticky.”
This narrative film is a very effective and heightened look into what it’s like for a young chef to prove herself in the kitchen. Expertly directed by Swiss filmmaker David Oesch, it is both hectic and engaging with a twist at the end that’s honestly a little hard to stomach, but quite cheeky and provocative. The most engaging part of this short is how the camera moves seamlessly through the kitchen and how the sound design makes the audiences really feel every chop and taste every sizzle. Oesch’s main character, played by Luxembourgish actress Jeanne Werner (Colonia), is quite compelling and captures the audience’s attention and imagination in ways that seem almost unaffected by the chaos surrounding her. The whole setting is extremely real and believable, and much credit should be given to this young filmmaker’s attention to detail and cinematic intelligence. He’s currently working on writing his first feature film.