First Light Festival takes place over 24 hours, on the summer solstice weekend, in the most easterly point of the UK. The sun rises over the sea here first and the films in this programme have been chosen for their tidal or temporal themes. Here the passage of time can be distorted and separated from the inevitability of gravitational forces. Films include:
TAKING THE WATERS is a sumptuous documentary about people trying to change their lives for the better through the restorative powers of the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool.
SEVEN occupies the liminal space where wilderness and culture, tradition and modernity collide. The film unfolds in a surreal and stunning Arctic landscape of rearing cliffs and vast seascapes at the edge of civilisation.
LATE AFTERNOON Emily finds herself disconnected from the world around her. She drifts back through her memories to relive different moments from her life. Looking to her past helps her to fully understand the present.
IN WONDERLAND is the story of a life together. It begins and ends in the same place and time - on a beach where Alice has come to reflect on her relationship with Michael. It’s both the story of that one moment and the story of their whole relationship, seen through the shifting sands of Alice’s memory.
These films all have an East Anglian connection. They have either been shot locally, feature key talent from East Anglia or have a story set in Norfolk or Suffolk. Suffolk Shorts aims to provide a showcase for local filmmakers as well as introducing our audience to International films, so this is an important programme that will be developed for the main festival launch in 2020. Films include:
SYLVIA, a story about love, loss and a car, is based on a heartbreaking true story from the American Midwest. Richard Prendergast based his film in the flat and barren landscape of east Norfolk, which brings its own lonely character to the narrative.
DON’T SELL THE TIGER follows Annette as she returns from London to her semi-rural home, to help her sisters pack up their father’s house after his death. But the siblings in this ten minute comedy can’t agree on the fate of one family heirloom - a mysterious bronze tiger.
C SHELLS documents a lifelong friendship re-found through recovery. Two inspiring women, friends since childhood, reflect on illness and the strength derived from a simple ongoing creative process, when their shell line became part of their recovery.
THE KNACKERMAN is a contemporary Western set in the heart of rural East Anglia that tells the story of Ron - an ageing Knacker who is responsible the disposal of ill horses and livestock. When his own horse falls ill, Ron must decide its fate and in doing so, face his own mortality.
Short journeys into the imagination for all the family. Curated with the help of 7 - 11 year olds, these films were chosen because they charmed everyone with their stories of adventure, heroes and the uncontrollable urge to dance. Films include:
LITTERBUGS features a young inventor who, using her self-made flying mechanical creatures, helps a pint-sized superhero defeat the town bullies who try to steal his power.
CURING ALBRECHT isn’t easy. He’s afflicted with an urge, and try as they might the experts in the Acute Assessment Unit don’t seem to be able to help him shake it off.
A WHALE’S TALE was commissioned as part of a wider message of hope on World Children’s Day and tells the story of a whale and a fisherman’s daughter both looking for help to clear up the oceans.
TWO BALLOONS Two travelling lemurs return to a place crossed by stars and clouds where love is the beginning of everything and the full moon watches over their perilous journey.
Claire developed her muscle as a runner hauling film cans across Soho and after years in film and TV production she became part of the team that launched the FilmFour channel, where she discovered her love of short film through the Short Attention Span Cinema strand. She went on to produce The Shooting Gallery with Mark Kermode, profiling filmmakers and introducing new short films to a late night audience on Channel 4. Claire currently works as an editor and videographer, supporting conservation and mental health charities. She’s dedicated to bringing international short film to Suffolk and determined to encourage investment in local talent.
Rachel spent ten years in London working for ITV, also starting as a runner, and worked her way through the ranks to become Producer/Director on a number of factual entertainment programmes. Since moving back to Suffolk she has worked as a Suffolk-based location manager and location scout. She currently works part-time for Screen Suffolk, the county’s official film office, supporting and promoting filmmaking in the county. Her aim is to raise the profile of filmmaking in East Anglia, and to create a fund specifically for that purpose through The Suffolk Short Film Festival.
Acclaimed Director Sophie Fiennes, originally from Suffolk, will be actively taking part in programming the festival as well as sitting on the jury. Well known for her documentary features, most recently Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, Sophie’s unique way of looking at the world brings insight into the lives of philosophers and artists. She has also contributed to Hopper Stories, a collection of shorts in 2012.
Creative Director Rob Bevan was a founding partner at online drama production company XPT, and director of XPT’s BAFTA-winning Online Caroline, he also co-founded and was creative director at NoHo Digital. Rob began his interactive media career in the late 1980s creating educational CD-ROMs for Apple’s Renaissance project and The MultiMedia Corporation, the BBC’s former Interactive Television Unit. He is a member of the BAFTA British Short Film category longlisting group.
Executive Producer Tracey Gardiner has over twenty years’ experience developing and making documentaries and low budget feature films. Her production company Iridescent Films recently co-produced feature doc 100 Men (Netflix). Her award winning films include: Keys to the Castle (Scottish BAFTA and RTS), How M&S Lost its Millions (Wincott Award - Best Documentary), and the Grierson Newcomer Award for Send Me Somewhere Special.
Jim Horsfield has worked internationally on events and festivals for 15 years, specialising in projection and AV Project Management. He has worked with numerous clients including Brighton Festival, The Banff Mountain Film Festival UK, NESTA, Max Cooper and the Samsung Olympic Torch Relay. Originally from Birmingham, Jim now lives in Ipswich.