The Shortest Nights @ The Yard Theatre, June 2019

The Shortest Nights @ The Yard Theatre, June 2019

Blanka Douglas reports on a celebration of high-quality shorts from exciting British filmmakers!

Short Sighted Cinema is born of a passion for short films. In 2015, with their first running of The Shortest Nights, Gem Carmella and Kate Williamson featured over 50 filmmakers working across the short film medium in seven different categories. The event has become an annual fixture, and around the shortest night of the year each summer they curate a programme to platform the most promising short films.

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This year may have seen the best lineup yet of high quality shorts from exciting British filmmakers. Hosted at East London’s Yard Theatre (Hackney Wick), the 2019 edition drew a diverse audience, from those actively pursuing careers in film and TV, to film enthusiasts.

The Short Sighted Cinema team scheduled the day so that the audience could stay for the whole day – watching almost five hours of short films, and becoming one of The Shortest Nights survivors! – or just pop in to one or two of the screenings.

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The day opened with a theme: one of those days where – as Kate Williamson described – characters had just ‘had enough’. The film choices, and their allocation to the various segments – Chills and Thrills, Each Other, Opinionated, Love Bites – were smart but not obvious. With 36 films in the programme, the programme showcased a variety of approaches to the short film format: animation, live action and documentary.

It was great to observe how this London-based organisation gives emerging filmmakers a platform to show their work. The films were not in competition, but a couple of films stood out as deserving of special mention.

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Oksijan, directed by Edward Watts, tells the story of a young Afghan refugee crossing border in the back of a refrigerated lorry. This beautiful story, with a great cinematography by Michael Paleodimos, evokes multiple emotions, and definitely stays with you long after the 18 minute running time.

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Black comedy Comeback Kid, directed by Ian Robertson, is an absorbing story written by Sam Steiner combining elements of comedy thriller and romance – not your standard coming-of-age story!

The day offered a great opportunity to speak to the cast and crews of the featured films, and to find out more about the projects. This type of event is not only a great way to watch a good amount of new cinema, but also a perfect way to make new contacts and exchange business cards! After all, these people are the future of filmmaking!