Whilst mainstream cinema is easily accessible, finding somewhere to watch short films on a regular basis can often be a challenge. Luckily for Londoners, a free weekly short film night is in operation at Café 1001 on Brick Lane.
Short and Sweet has been running since May 8 2006, and it certainly lives up to its name. The atmosphere hits you as soon as you walk through the door – its warm, friendly, vibrant and full of life.
The night is run by Julia Stephenson and Jordan Crute, both of whom work within the industry and are passionate about finding and displaying the work of talented young filmmakers from around the world. Stephenson’s introduction at the start of the evening is full of enthusiasm, and focuses everybody’s attention on the screen.
The directors are usually present in the crowd and will often introduce their films, which adds a personal touch to the screenings and sets the night apart from an ordinary trip to the movies.
The number of films shown ranges from night to night, but usually totals between eight and 10. They’re split into two halves by a short interval, which is an excellent networking opportunity, as the room is filled with people who work within TV and film production at various levels, and everyone is encouraged to turn around and speak to someone they’ve never met before.
The evenings are designed to showcase a variety of genres, including drama, comedy, music videos, documentaries, animation and horror, to name a few. The dramas manage to capture and hold the audience’s attention whilst tackling a range of issues, including euthanasia and bullying. Music videos have included the intricately planned and very well executed OK Go track ‘This Too Shall Pass’, directed by James Frost. There have been a number of marvelous comedies, including three video poems, Boxing, Malcolm, and The Duel, written by Tim Keys and directed by J Van Tulleken. The wonderfully dark and atmospheric computer animation, Pivot, directed by Andre Bergs and the lighthearted animated tale of an elderly stuntman, Crash! Bang! Wallow!, directed by Jon Duleavy, are just two of the amazing animations that have made it onto the screen.
The standard of each short is very high, with many being entered into competitions around the world, including Cannes and the Sundance Film Festival, with some going on to win a variety of awards. The quality of the acting involved is also exceptionally good, with notable performances from James Corden and Imelda Staunton in director Jim Field Smith’s wonderful comedy Where Have I Been All Your Life?, and an early outing for Sam Worthington in director Vanessa Caswill’s drama A Fairytale of the City.
Short and Sweet has been allowed to show BAFTA nominated shorts for the past few years, and this year was no exception with special screenings being held on March 22 and 29. Some of the shorts shown included, Jonathan van Tulleken’s suspenseful horror Off Season, Gili Dolev’s comedic animated adventure The Happy Duckling, and the winner of this year’s Best Animation category, Mother of Many, directed by Sally Arthur.
Stephenson and Crute have also organized a unique screening of short films to be held in 3D at the Barbican on July 16 2010, which they believe is the first time a group of short films has been presented in 3D in London. Tickets are due to go on sale shortly.
This is a night that offers something special for everyone. For filmmakers, it’s an excellent opportunity to show their work to a wider audience and meet people who are more than willing to help with their upcoming projects. For film fans, it’s an opportunity to observe the starting points of new talent that in the past has been hard to see outside of the larger film festival circuit.
First published on Little White Lies‘ Blog (6th April 2010)