A number of great short films were screened at the London Film Festival this year, covering a whole range of topics. Here were some of the queer shorts (and a few more I just enjoyed).
Dawn of a New Gay by Rosie Gaunt-Mathieson
Jack Rooke walks us through his first sexual experience as an 18 year old uni student with a gentle wit (and live musical accompaniment by Alex on the harp, obviously). Told simply in the confines of a university dormitory room, Jack and director Rosie, fill the story out with great observational asides that kept me chuckling.
Interstice by Oskar Willers
A hard hitting short about emotional manipulation between an older/younger gay couple. The promise of being “taken care of” leads younger Micke into making a dangerous compromise. The final scene is laiden with emotional and physical ambiguity; haunting and disturbing. In the space of 11 minutes filmmaker Oskar Willers lays out the complexities of the scenario with a lot of emotional tension. I had to quickly watch a comedy afterwards to raise my spirits.
Sweater by Nick Borenstein
This is a bad day from the POV of an optimistic gay man. From the lows of a depressing date and questionable fashion choice, to the highs of a simple act of kindness, Nick Borenstein squeezes the 5 minute running time for all the fun he can. Both melancholic and uplifting, Sweater is a lot of fun.
Miller and Son by Asher Jelinsky
Asher Jelinsky demonstrates a great visual sense in telling the story of Ryan (played by non-binary performer Jesse James Keitel), a transwoman mechanic, who compartmentalises her life, presenting as male during the day and only expressing her femininity when out with safe friends. It’s a beautifully told piece that shows great restraint, determinedly grounded. Find out more on the film’s website.
Between by Ana Carolina Marinho, Bárbara Santos
Two women start a steamy, voyeuristic affair from their windows across a creek, but when one of the women gets locked away from view, the other goes on a mission. Things get very serious and dangerous in this dialogue-free film, but Marinho and Santos keep things almost comically light.
Nor queer but…
The Trap by Lena Headey
Did you wonder what Lena Headey was up to while Queen Cersei did nothing but stand on a balcony for the whole last season of Game of Thrones? She was plotting her career as a writer/director. The fruits of which have become The Trap a short film starring fellow Game of Thrones alumnus Michelle Fairley. A woman, who has cut herself off from the world, comes alive when a stranger’s car breakdown in front of her property. Headey keeps the story tight and focused on the emotions, giving Fairley a lot to work with, the story reveals itself to be more complex than it at first seems. A full-length feature definitely seems to be in Headey’s future.
#21XOXO by Sine and Imge Ozbilge
A girls journey through dating in the digital age. This animated short is bright and amusing with sharp teeth poking fun at the world of Tinder, Twitter and other apps ending in ‘er’.
Keep Breathing by Mark Corden
A couple get stuck in a lift. He talks about their awkward one-night stand… only to discover that she sees the evening very differently. A sharp and effective take on how different consent can look to two people. Great performances by Damien Molony and Emmerline Hartley.
By Chad Armstrong
All these shorty films played at the 2019 BFI London Film Festival.