Our London Short Film Festival Highlights

A WIDER SCREEN – Joe Hunting, 13mins (UK, 2019)

This exceptional documentary by Joe Hunting (a.k.a. Little Poe in VRChat) is billed as “An intimate insight into how virtual reality (VR) is affecting peoples social lives for the better.” 70% of the film is shot within VRChat, a VR social platform that connects those prepared to invest in the technology, and allows them to interact in their chosen worlds, in their chosen forms. We meet two Shiba Inu dog avatars, Floppy and Pluto, two men who are exploring human form free relationships. I’d never seen anything like it before. (CW)

SHORT CALF MUSCLE – Victoria Warmerdam, 13 mins (NL, 2019)

Just imagine the elevator pitch for this short film: a rather tall 30-year-old finds out that the rest of the world is under the impression that he is a gnome as a seemingly insignificant visit to the physio gets completely out of control. And yes, it works. It works so well that the audience at the screening we went to at the Regent St Cinema could not contain themselves. A real highlight of the Funny Shit screening. (CW)

MANEATER – Sandra Isacsson/ Caroline Wallén, 8 mins (SE, 2019)

A genius concept, made all the more awkward by subtitles, inverts the male gaze to cringingly comedic effect. A group of middle aged men are cast in a music video, all given the same instructions by the female directors: eat bananas in front of the camera. Now where have we seen this before…? (CW)

THE PLUNGE – Simon Ryninks, 10 mins (UK, 2019)

Falling in love can be a pain in the arse. Funny tag line, funny film. How Simon Ryninks got such subtle performances out of his excellent cast is hard to imagine. Are there hours and hours of outtakes with Lydia Wilson and Omar Khan corpsing somewhere..? It’s vaguely gross, and there was a fair amount of buttock clenching from the audience, let alone the script. (CW)

IMBUED LIFE – Ivana Bosnjak / Thomas Johnson 13 mins (HR, 2019)

Imbued Life is a beautiful film about a young woman’s connection with the life force of nature. The opening shot (not pictured above) is a work of art in its own right. As the scenes start to drift it’s not entirely clear if this should be categorised as animation. Showing the film in the House in Motion Screening: Space, the physical self, and emotional states all metamorphosize in these multiform ruminations on territory, death and desire amplified that delicious ambiguity. (CW)

ALL CATS ARE GREY IN THE DARK – Lasse Linder, 19 mins (CH, 2019)

All Cats Are Grey In The Dark is intimate portrait of an unconventional household, ‘Catman’ Christian, and his two feline companions Marmelade and Katjuscha. Eccentric, middle-aged, Christian’s journey to expand his family, as he takes Marmelade abroad to be impregnated by a tomcat, and fusses throughout her pregnancy like an expectant father, is beautifully composed, extremely funny, and a poignant exploration of one man’s obsession with his cats. (RB)

LONG FRIEND – Marie Dutton / Benjamin Spike Saunders, 3 mins (UK, 2018)

A tale of unrequited love featuring a dead raccoon and a dead badger. Need I say more? This short is wonderfully weird and hysterically funny. For those with a quirky sense of humour, Long Friend is not to be missed. (HDM)

MOLLY’S SINGLE – Ariel Gardner, 30 mins (US, 2019)

Molly’s single. She cheated on her ex and now (perhaps as a form of self-punishment?) suffers several dates with oddballs. The short is funny, sad, and, above all, feels real. (HDM)

CULT FILM – Alastair Cummings, 14 mins (UK, 2018)

Space. The unknown. Two friends join a cult in the hope of being transported into a galaxy far, far away. The entertaining short makes expert use of hand-held cameras, positioning the viewer right in the action. In a similar vein to Molly’s Single (above) the film plays upon the vulnerability of lonely individuals, hoping to find their place in this world (or outside of it). (HDM)

TIC – Josef Bates, 15 mins (UK, 2019)

Dave struggles to keep his tourettes on the down low while on a date with Jess but he’ll learn that keeping his tic hidden may not be the best plan and he’ll have to learn the hard way. That is an understatement. TIC goes to hilariously unexpected extremes. Fans of Netflix original series Sex Education will enjoy seeing cast member Emma Mackey as Dave’s concerned date. (HDM)

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