BAFTA Short Film nominations – not so Male, Pale or Stale

A “careful and detailed review”

As BAFTA announces that it is conducting a “careful and detailed review” of its voting system due to the “infuriating” lack of diversity in this year’s nominations it’s worth directing attention toward the British Short Film Nominations.  Not so MPS are they?


Our friends at The Norwich Film Festival introduced us to Kamali, by Sasha Rainbow. They recognised the film as outstanding and awarded it ‘Best Documentary’. The film is unsentimental. It tells the story of a 9 year old Kamali, a skateboarder in Mahabalipuram, a coastal town in Tamil Nadu. Rainbow discovered Kamali whilst filming a music video in Southern India and took up her story for this exceptional short.

“On Day 1 of the shoot, we saw Kamali, who was as tall as her skateboard. She had this magical energy which lit up the entire skate park. Before we knew it, she was going up and down the ramp. It was such an electrifying moment”

We follow Kamali’s progress as she overturns preconceptions in a male dominated community. The journey is not hers alone though, Suganthi – her mother – simultaneously takes a pilgrimage in a quest for self-discovery.

The film was one of our highlights of 2019 and in a strange twist, clearly demonstrating that the mechanisms of the judging process is not tampered with, Kamali is not the only skateboarding girl nominated for Best British Short.

Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl)

Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl) by Carol Dysinger follows a class of girls at Skateistan, a nonprofit that began as a skate school in Kabul in 2007 and grew into a multinational educational initiative. Dysinger is also known for her feature length documentary CAMP VICTORY, AFGHANISTAN, compiled from 300+ hours of footage gathered over the course of three years. She is currently developing a semi-autobiographical interactive piece depicting her experience with war.


Myriam Raja’s powerful coming of age short Azaar tells the story of a spirited young girl who yearns to wear a veil and become a woman, despite the costs this may entail. It is a film which explores the tension between personal desire and societal obligation.

The Trap

The Trap is Lena Headey’s second project as a director and her first as a writer. The film was bound to get attention with a stellar cast and Headey at the helm. The British born actress is probably best known for her role as “Cersei Lannister” in Game of Thrones. If you are reading this on Saturday 11th January and you are in London you can watch it tonight at the London Short Film Festival

I wrote a film that I wanted to direct and I sent to various people, had many No’s… many. Then last year.. I met a women @nicola6190 , who gives NO fucks, she said, let’s make it. About 2 weeks later we did, we made a film.

So that’s four down. All directed by women, all with women and girls at the heart of the film.


Then there’s Goldfish, by Hector Dockrill, which explores themes of mental health in young men, violence, and cultural stereotypes. Set against the gritty backdrop of south London, it’s also the story of one brave girl who goes on a journey of discovery in search of courage, resolve. And her big brother’s heart.

Short Films are the Future

We may have mentioned, just a couple of times, that we believe short films are the future and this list of nominations shows that Bafta’s hands are tied when it comes to features,  but there’s hope in the short film category. The ‘disappointment’ that Amanda Berry and our own team feel is with the archaic culture of some studios. Film critic Anna Smith believes it boils down to unconscious bias.

“Some studios might consider a female director more of a ‘risk’ than a male director, whether they admit it or not” she says. “So if a film is directed by a man, and financed by male studio heads, you may be more likely to see a gender imbalance.”

Independent festivals can take a positive role in encouraging diversity and Short films allow filmmakers to be freed from some of the constraints inflicted by the need to jump through marketing hoops. Data journalist Miriam Quick did some number crunching for the BBC in a fascinating article in 2018, it’d be interesting to see what the figure would show as we enter this new decade.

And just to reiterate, here’s what the BAFTA British Short Film rules and guidelines say:

BAFTA and BFI are looking for British shorts to meet the spirit of the Diversity Standards, and to do as much as they can within the cast, crew size and budget they have. With BFI, BAFTA the will be tracking how British short-filmmakers are engaging with the Diversity Standards.




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