Shorts and features from new and emerging Bristol talent are continually generating a buzz with critics and audiences, in the UK and further afield. Here are just a few recent successes.
THE THING THAT ATE THE BIRDS (written & directed by Sophie Mair & Dan Gitsham)
Funded by BFI NETWORK South West, this rural-set horror short made by Bristol filmmakers Sophie Mair and Dan Githsam (Sketchbook Pictures) was selected for SXSW 2021, screening in the Midnight Shorts programme. It is produced by Jude Goldrei of Lunar Lander Films (hailing from Sheffield), and Rebecca Wolff of Grasp the Nettle Films (based between Devon and London) whose production companies were named in Creative England’s 2019 top ‘CE50’ companies.
HUNGRY JOE (written & directed by Paul Holbrook & Sam Dawe)
After winning the top prize at The Pitch film competition for short film submission Hollow, Bristol filmmaker Paul Holbrook has continued to attract attention with his horror short Hungry Joe, co-directed with his cousin Sam Dawe, which was selected for a long list of BIFA and BAFTA-qualifying festivals in 2020 including the BFI London Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival (where it won Best Director & Best Horror awards), British Urban Film Fest (where it scooped the Best Short award) and Manchester International Film Festival (which also named it Best Short) and the London Critics’ Circle Awards.
GIRL (dir. Lowri Roberts)
UWE Film alumni Lowri Roberts’ graduate short film Girl, which tackles issues around immigration, homelessness and periods, won the 2019 BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Short Film after screening at the BFI London Film Festival 2019. Lowri aims to make work that tackles social and environmental issues and has gone on to work with Calling the Shots’ New Creatives scheme on her new project Bad Bitch, a short doc focusing on all-female rock band Dream Wife.
BAIT (dir. Mark Jenkin)
Directed by Mark Jenkin and produced by Bristol company Early Day Films, Bait was the only UK film selected for the 2019 Berlinale Forum, described by The Guardian as “intriguing for its distinct visual style”, by Screen Daily as “ravishing cinema” and by The Hollywood Reporter as “one of the most original and stylistically bold films to world premiere in Berlin.”
Bait went on to screen at numerous festivals and premiered in the UK in June 2019 at Edinburgh International Film Festival where it was nominated for Michael Powell Award for Best British Film. It was released in UK cinemas on 30 August 2019.
Mark won the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer and the London Critics Circle Award for Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year. Kate Byers and Linn Waite won the British Independent Film Awards’ Breakthrough Producer award. Bait also went on to win the Screen Awards’ Best British Film of the Year award. Early Day Films was named as one of 20 recipients of a 2020 BFI Vision Award.
CARGO is an independent creative collective producing films and creative resources which illuminate untold stories of the African Diaspora. CARGO’s core project is CARGO Classroom, an openly accessible set of education tools distributed in partnership with the National Education Union. Other projects include The Peoples Platform augmented reality installation supported by Apache and 8th Wall, and universalcity.co.uk, an interactive site developed in partnership with the University of Bristol. In 2021 CARGO opened CARGO Loft, a professional studio in central Bristol which is freely accessible to local creatives of African and African Diaspora heritage.
CARGO is led by poet, co-founder and Executive Producer Lawrence Hoo, and co-founder and Creative Director Charles Golding. CARGO is delivered with the support of Arts Council England and Thresholds.
BOYS LIKE US (dir. Mikael Tichane)
Spoken and directed by Bristol-born filmmaker Mikael Techane, Boys Like Us is the response to Mikael’s experiences, thoughts and feelings, shedding light on issues surrounding his identity combined with the experiences of others he holds dear. The short film has garnered widespread praise in Bristol and was selected to screen at Late at Tate Britain, an event exploring film making, photography and social documentary.