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Sponsoring our 2017 Documentary Category
DIRECTOR: Mat Johns, UK, 10 mins
SYNOPSIS: Today is special. Apocalypse or not. Unexpectedly reunited with his daughter amongst the ruins of the world as they knew it, a father is determined to make this day special, even if they are already dead.
FILM INFO: Written and directed by Mat Johns and produced by Chris Lane, A Father’s Day was made with the support of Creative England’s iShorts, an initiative delivered as part of the BFI NET.WORK.
Featuring special effects make-up from Shaune Harrison (Harry Potter, Star Wars) the film has been selected for over sixty film festivals internationally to date, including five BAFTA eligible festivals (Encounters Film Festival, Brest European Film Festival, Leeds International Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival) as well as numerous top tier horror festivals (Screamfest Horror Film Festival, Fantasporto, Sacramento Horror Film Festival).
On the festival circuit the film has won six awards including Best Short Film and Best SFX at HorrorHound Film Festival, the largest horror convention in the United States.
A Father's Day was recently picked up for distribution by Shorts International, owners of Shorts TV, a cable and satellite television channel dedicated to short film including Academy Award nominated short films.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: A Father's Day is a twist on a short genre piece exploring the duality of the living and the dead in a post-apocalyptic world. Instead of a film following a group of hardened survivors, we follow the losers.
I love the idea of telling a short, emotional story that explores a father-daughter dynamic with lead characters who are usually the punchline in films like this. Audiences will hopefully be engrossed by the bizarre but relatable nature of the story as the characters rediscover one another in the remains of their town.
Mirroring the beautiful and the macabre has always fascinated me and in my previous films I have tried to marry the two. Previous projects have all been self funded and I see this film as a way to expand my body of work and hope that with A Father's Day I have created a short, sharp and ambitious piece that feels cinematic and packs an emotional punch.
Making A Father's Day was as incredibly rewarding as it was challenging. Limited time with child actors, the need to consider special make up effects and the need to have control over and dress predominantly exterior locations were some of the challenges that we faced. There were also a lot of visual effects and audio work to be done in post-production. However, this film has the biggest and best crew that I have ever worked with, and with the likes of Shaune Harrison on board leading our special effects make-up team it has been an incredible experience. I’m grateful to have been surrounded by such talented and committed artists in all departments.
DIRECTOR: Meloni Poole, UK, 16 mins
SYNOPSIS: She’d rather not speak and prefers life as a horse, but the girls at school just won’t leave her alone.
STORY: TRiGGA follows a young girl Mae who turns the tables on a gang of bullies with the help of her horse. As physical assaults become a daily reality, Mae retreats into a silent world and stops talking. Even her comedian father fails to get a laugh from her. Mae escapes the harsh reality of school by galloping out at twilight on her trusty steed Trigga.
With girl to girl cruelty escalating, girls are now bigger bullies than boys with many teenage girls suffering in silence. TRiGGA looks at the power of silence and one girl who learns to accept herself and her difference.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: Inspired by events from my own life, I confronted the girls who were bullying me by taking my horse to school. Horses gave me the confidence to be myself and not disappear but say ‘Here I am.’ I was lucky my horse saved me, but many girls are not so lucky and I wanted to make a film where love wins out over cruelty and meanness.
TRiGGA is an inspirational story with an empowering central character and filmed like a modern day western is told with humour and audacity. The film shows how with true grit it’s possible to overcome bullying and finds new friends. Mae’s story is an uplifting portrayal and will hopefully inspire girls to be brave and not suffer bullying in silence.
DIRECTOR'S BIOGRAPHY: Meloni made poetic documentaries for Channel 4, BFI and The Arts Council of England before moving into drama. Her Film4 and Film Council funded short films Lap and Dish were selected by the British Council and screened in competition at International Film Festivals.
Based on events from Meloni’s own life, TRiGGA follows a young girl who confronts her bullies with the help of her horse. TRiGGA was commissioned by Creative England’s and BFI Network I-Shorts3. After a world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, the film has just won Grand Prize for Children's Live Action at Oscar Qualifying Rhodes Island International Film Festival. The film also won at Best Directing Award at the Women's Independent Film Festival in Hollywood and has officially been selected for BAFTA qualifying London Short Film Festival, Galway, Busan, Taiwan, and Underwire (nominated for Best Composer). Meloni was one of twelve filmmakers selected to develop Shy Bird through Creative England, BFI and BBC Films I-Features scheme and was recently selected for Guiding Lights 9 as a directing mentee.
DIRECTORS: Daisy Jacobs and Chris Wilder, UK, 8 mins
SYNOPSIS: A loving, close-knit family falls apart as we hurtle through the Seventies into the divorce boom of the Eighties. Many years later, when the family home is sold, hindsight and fragments of childhood memory combine to reveal the full story.
STORY: We meet protagonist, Toby, and an Estate agent. They are viewing the house where Toby has lived since he was five. In those days, his family (Mum, Dad, sister and Uncle Derek) were close and happy.
One day, Toby overheard the adults discussing a family that had broken up. Dad found it amusing. Toby was shaken and became afraid his dad would leave. Desperate to maintain his 'happy family', Toby spent years to hold Dad's attention, but always failed.
The Estate Agent considers the house an ideal family home. With hindsight, Toby can see his family was far from 'ideal', not least because Dad left them on Christmas Day.
In the new life without Dad, Toby and his sister were nasty to Mum. When she re-married, the children were nasty to the new dad too. Toby was even nasty to his sister, in the end. He was left hurt and unhappy, and he still is. He knows he can't go back in time and put things right.
As they view the house where he grew up, Toby admits he'll never know the full story. He remembers his dad was inconsolable when Uncle Derek died, and that Mum wished Dad had died instead. Is that why Dad left?
Mum, Dad and Derek are long dead, and Toby is alone. Although in his forties, inside he is still that unhappy boy. He tells the Estate Agent he has been in this place for forty years. The Estate Agent whistles at this. Toby realises he has to let go of the past. With this admission, he is free to move on.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: Not yet available.
MAKING OF VIDEO:
DIRECTOR: Jack King, UK, 15 mins
SYNOPSIS: Battling infertility and failing to cope with the breakup of his relationship, Terry is plagued by recurring nightmares and a profound uncertainty about his future. When a chance encounter with his ex-reveals he's been permanently left behind, Terry is forced to confront his anxieties head on.
STORY: The Crossing is a psychological drama about Terry, a delivery man who, after discovering he was unable to have children, finds himself alone and struggling to cope with the breakup of his long-term relationship. Now Terry has resigned himself to a life of bitter isolation without a future. Bottling up his feelings and suffering alone and in silence, Terry is plagued by a recurring dream of a little girl on an empty island she’s desperate to leave. On a routine morning collection from his local depot, a package with his long since seen ex-fiancée Kesh’s new address lands on his lap, filling Terry with the hope of a fresh start…
Seeing this an act of fate, Terry sets out on a journey to the island where Kesh lives in order to put things right. But when he finds her Terry is shocked to discover that Kesh has not only moved on but now has a child of her own. This sets off a chain of events that plunges us deeper into Terry’s past, his mind, and his recurring dream until things begin to merge in a way that allows Terry to make a decision that will change his life forever.
PRODUCER: Garry Paton is a Scottish producer based in Manchester. After setting up film production company, Finite Productions, he has produced an array of short films, some of which have gone on to be selected at festivals worldwide including Edinburgh International Film Festival and London Short Film Festival.
His filmmaking has progressed to a bold, cinematic and entertaining style of story-telling which has been strengthened by his work on Creative England and BFI-backed short film, The Crossing, which was shot in Manchester and North Wales. Garry’s strong work ethic, determination to tell gripping stories and keen attention to detail ensures that his entertaining and thought-provoking films will excite audiences.
DIRECTOR: The Crossing is written and directed by up-and-coming Bradford filmmaker, Jack King, who recently wrote and directed Pit Stop with the support of UNESCO’s City of Film initiative. It subsequently premiered at London Short Film Festival. The film starred Aqib Khan who is known for West is West. Before making the move into shorts, Jack made his name directing music videos with a strong, narrative bent for the likes of EMI, Universal and other major labels under representation by world-leading agency 'colonel blimp' among others. Jack has amassed over a million views on his work which saw regular acclaim from the likes of Vimeo staff picks, hunger TV, 1.4, young directors award, promo-news and Vevo.
Jack is interested in telling layered stories with real issues and locations at heart, films with a social-realist filter but expanding into imaginative and often dark, hyper-real situations which reveal real psychological and emotional truths about the characters in them. Stylistically Jack uses and experiments with genre and tone to tell a story in an original and surprising way.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: The idea behind writing The Crossing came, potentially, out of the fact that I am reaching an age where having kids is a notion that’s becoming more noticeably a part of everyday dialogue. I’m asked about it in conversation, I notice just walking through town that most new parents are either the same age or more often younger than me. There has been a definite shift in the last few years as I find myself reaching ‘parent’ age, and I’m aware of the fact that many people have not only dreamt about parenthood for a long time, but naturally centre a large part of their identity on themselves as a parent when they become one. This is when they come into their own, fulfilling maternal and paternal potential is a large part of how some people are validated, how some are given a new sense of deeper purpose in their lives, and so I became interested in what might happen to a person when they learn that they will never tap their potential, they will never get that sense of purpose or validation through becoming a parent. Ultimately the desire to have children is the one of most natural impulses we all share, it is a product of the hard-wired, biological mechanics that drives us, both on a conscious and subconscious level, and so I wondered if in some way, a sufferer might experience a kind of existential depression with the death of their genetic legacy.
It’s not often that we see the male perspective on this, and the reason I wanted to position the film from a male point of view is that, given the stats, I wondered why infertility is more commonly seen as a woman’s problem, with men remaining relatively silent on the issue. The more I dug the more it became clear that infertility can erode some men’s sense of virility, despite the fact that there is no evidence that the two things are genetically linked.
The subsequent sense of shame, inadequacy and even jealousy might cause a man to try and repress his feelings, perhaps for fear of being judged by society or giving cause to his feelings of inferiority. I wondered about the destructive impact that male responsibility could have in a relationship where the female partner desires and is able to have her own genetic child. Without the potential for in-vitro fertilisation or the dependable support and insight of their male peers, I wondered whether this could drive a man to become isolated and alienated. Regardless, a desire so ingrained into the very fabric of our DNA would be hard to repress, and I wasn’t surprised to find that it can surface in other ways, on a subconscious level. I read about men who talk candidly about becoming plagued with visions of a child, both in their dreams and waking lives, and so this struck me as a psychologically and visually rich starting point for the film’s central motif.
What is interesting about Terry is that he’s a man who not only prides himself on his masculinity, but has a strong paternal instinct and isn’t equipped with the reasoning and emotional faculties to deal rationally with the profound fallout of infertility diagnosis. As a result he has fallen into a deep depression. Thinking about all of these issues and how they might impact Terry in his past, his present and his dreams has helped me to create a three dimensional character who I want to take on the painful but cathartic journey of facing up to his problems and finding a way to move on with his life and attain a renewed sense of hope in the face of childlessness.
DIRECTOR: Catriona MacInnes, UK, 17 mins
SYNOPSIS: A young mum runs away with her fragile son to a woodland hut community in Scotland and door steps a random boy she has recently met. When hope of acceptance in his community quickly fades, she loses control, whilst her son finds solace in a mysterious wolf.
TRAILER: Not yet available.
FILM INFO: Not yet available.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: Not yet available.
DIRECTOR: Alex Forbes, UK, 15 mins
SYNOPSIS: Belle and Bamber are inseparable friends. She, a 10 year old girl with a thirst for adventure; he, an imaginary blue monster. They while away their youth exploring and getting into mischief, however, when Belle’s Mother tires of Bamber’s influence, she pressures her to grow up and forget him.
FILM INFO: Belle and Bamber is a dark comedy about a child afraid of growing up and the dangers of psychotic imaginary friends.
Alex Forbes - Director
Alex has been making films since he first picked up a camcorder, starting from the back garden kung-fu movies of his childhood to the weird mix of dark comedy and drama that he now concocts with the team. He is filled with the insatiable desire to tell stories… usually ones with a little sex, vulgarity and/or gratuitous violence sprinkled in just to spice it up.
Starting his film making career at the University of the Creative Arts where he directed the RTS award winning short film Sunday Dinner with the Morgans (2014), this short went on to win 6 awards and be screened at 25+ international film festivals. Since then Alex has been directing films along with collaborator Jack Pollington, including a short sci-fi No Trace (2015), a zombie-comedy I Dream of Zombies (2015) and most recently
Belle and Bamber (2016).
Jack Pollington - Producer
Jack found a love for producing when getting together his mates to shoot short comedies on Sunday afternoons, cultivating a passion for collaboration which has never left him. Jack's work spans fiction, documentary, comedy, drama and plenty in between. Whilst working closely with Alex and his team at Fancy a Jam Pictures he produced Sunday Dinner with the Morgans (2014), an award winning short which has been screened at Camerimage festival in Poland, the BFI, the Skinny awards in Edinburgh and New Filmmakers Festival in LA to name a few.
Most recently Jack has produced I Dream of Zombies (2015) and Belle and Bamber (2016) in collaboration with Random Acts, Screen South, the BFI and Creative England respectively. His work has been screened on Channel 4 and Sky Arts.
Daniel O’Flaherty - Director of Photography
Daniel is a 'Guild of Television Cameramen' award winning cinematographer. He has been working with the team at Fancy a Jam Pictures since 2014 and has been the director of photography on all of their major projects since including Sunday Dinner with the Morgans (2014), No Trace (2015), I Dream of Zombies (2015) and Belle and
In 2014 Dan had his work featured at the prestigious Camerimage festival of Cinematography in Poland. Dan currently works in Dubai as a commercial DOP for 815 Studios.