16 short films greenlit through BFI Shorts 2012

At the 18th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol, the BFI and Lighthouse today announced the 16 short film projects to receive production funding through BFI Shorts 2012, the BFI’s one year scheme to support emerging UK filmmakers.


Spanning genres from drama to comedy, thriller to sci-fi, and featuring filmmakers from a range of creative disciplines including film, TV, documentary, commercials and theatre, the 16 ambitious live action films have been selected for their strength of artistic vision and potential audience appeal.

With budgets of up to £50,000, each project is helmed by an emerging filmmaker with a strong track record of creative work. The BFI Shorts 2012 scheme will give these exciting new filmmaking voices, with the strong support of their producing teams and also Lighthouse and the BFI Film Fund, an opportunity to demonstrate their potential to create feature films that will entertain and engage audiences.

Today’s announcement follows an open call for applications in February. After receiving almost 1000 applications Lighthouse and the BFI embarked on a rigorous selection process, taking a number of films through to long-list stage and providing a development period to further hone a number of projects before selecting the final 16 films. The combined production budget for the scheme is up to £800,000 and the completed films are due to be delivered in 2013.

“The current state of short filmmaking in the UK is something to rejoice,” says Honor Harger, Director of Lighthouse the digital culture agency which is managing the scheme and overseeing production of the films.

She continues:

Several high profile events this summer have highlighted the growing public appetite for short films. From feature directors Mike Leigh, Asif Kapadia and Lynne Ramsay’s half-hour commissions as part of the Cultural Olympiad, to BBC film critic Mark Kermode’s epic relay of shorts, the Hansel of film, which played to audiences cross-country from Shetland to Southampton, British shorts are a dynamic and all-embracing art form to be explored and celebrated in their own right.”

Chris Collins, BFI Film Fund Senior Executive comments:

The slate of short films announced today is an exciting prospect for anyone interested in the UK filmmakers of the future. All 16 films are ambitious in scale and we hope this diverse range of projects will tell stories reflecting life in the UK and beyond in ways that will surprise, engage and entertain audiences. Supporting emerging UK filmmakers is a key priority for the BFI and today’s announcement marks the beginning of an exciting journey for 16 emerging British directorial voices. Our warmest congratulations go to all the successful teams and we look forward to working with them and Lighthouse as the films enter production.

The successful applicants include BAFTA winner Adrian McDowall, BAFTA Scotland Animation winner and Screen International 2012 ‘Star of Tomorrow’ Jamie Stone, and BAFTA Cymru winner Chris Forster, who will direct his brother Ewan Forster’s script. The filmmakers include a number of BAFTA nominees: Alex Winckler, 2011 ‘Star of Tomorrow’ Michael Pearce, Faye Gilbert, Corinna Faith, and Jonathan van Tulleken who will collaborate with Edinburgh Comedy Winner Tim Key. Independent on Sunday film critic Jonathan Romney will direct his third short, and other selected filmmakers include: Stephen Fingleton, Karan Kandhari, Jane Linfoot, Stephen Leslie, experienced TV director Michael Keillor, Screen International 2012 ‘Star of Tomorrow’ Mustapha Kseibati, and award-winning documentary director Eva Weber who makes the transition to drama with her new short set in Eastern Europe.

Emily Kyriakides, Programme Producer at Lighthouse, is working in partnership Neon Films’ Nicky Bentham who co-produced Duncan Jones’ BAFTA award-winning Moon, and independent development producer Becca Ellson, to oversee the executive production of the films. Between them, they have credits on 28 short films and 43 feature films that have screened at leading international film festivals, and have won several prestigious awards including a BAFTA and two BIFAs, and been nominated for many more, including an American Academy Award.

The 16 selected BFI Shorts and filmmaking teams are:

Black Comedy
Christmas Eve. An enormous explosion tears through Lapland. Santa and his Elf, Anthony, have crash-landed in the middle of nowhere on their busiest night.
Writer/Director: Jonathan Van Tulleken
Producers: Dan McCulloch and Camille Gatin

Field Study
A story about the latent poisons in power, knowledge and innocence. A young, shy student on a field trip to post-communist Poland very abruptly comes of age when he makes the choice to withhold a truth.
Director: Eva Weber
Writer: Line Langbek
Producer: Claire Neate James

After discovering that his biological father could be any one of the desperados from a 1980s video-dating tape, 15-year-old Adam embarks on a suburban quest to find the man he can now call ‘Dad’.
Director: Adrian McDowall
Writer: Andrew Yerlett
Producer: Michelle Eastwood

Keeping Up with the Joneses
Black Comedy
MP’s wife Celia discovers her husband’s true colours when she is taken hostage by his criminal business associates, but both her and her kidnapper also end up learning a thing or two about themselves.
Director: Michael Pearce
Writer: Selina Lim
Producer: Megan Stuart-Wallace

A man becomes obsessed by the sight of his own double in an Italian film from the early 1960s.
Writer/Director: Jonathan Romney
Producer: Carey Born

Liam + Lenka
On the run and in trouble, a desperate young criminal falls for a bored Polish waitress in a remote highland hotel.
Writer/Director: Michael Keillor
Producer: Ally Gipps

Comedy Drama
12-year-old Adam finds his 31-year old, wrestling obsessed brother with learning difficulties a nightmare — until he sees a chance to use him to gain friends.
Writer/Director: Mustapha Kseibati
Producer: Michael Berliner

Orbit Ever After
Sci-fi Romance
The distant future. Two star-crossed lovers overcome all probabilities sacrificing everything they have in order to spend one perfect moment together.
Writer/Director: Jamie Stone
Producers: Chee-Lan Chan and Kurban Kassam

Sea View
A contemporary portrait of a teenage girl trying to navigate her way through the trials and tribulations of a brief encounter with an older man.
Writer/Director: Jane Linfoot
Producer: Anna Duffield

Comedy Drama
A melancholy comedy about a burnt out French builder reduced to handyman work in a backpackers’ hostel, an Indian exchange student turning thirty, and a teenage girl just looking for a beer at the end of a long night.
Writer/Director: Karan Kandhari
Producer: Rebecca Wolff

Thriller Drama
A middle-aged divorced father obsessed with ‘voyeur pornography’ discovers someone taking pictures of own his teenage daughter. Unable to tell her the truth or go to the police, he must find the snapper himself and assert his own moral justice.
Writer/Director: Stephen Fingleton
Producer: Matt Wilkinson

The Beast
Thriller Drama
A girl is captivated by the romantic myth of a beast on a moor — but a real beast is closer than she realised.
Writer/Director: Corinna Faith
Producer: Laura Hastings-Smith

The Line
Thriller Drama
A teenage girl and young boy run for their lives to cross ‘The Line’, but are they running away from danger or towards it?
Writer/Director: Faye Gilbert
Producer: Yaw Basoah

The Portrait
When a young art student paints a portrait of her ageing grandfather, her mother is forced to confront a past she had been trying to forget.
Director: Chris Forster
Writer: Ewan Forster
Producers: Clive Myer and Lynda Myer-Bennett
Co-Producer: Katie Holly

Comedy Drama
Despite assurances that his condition is common and will pass; thirteen year old Sam is horrified to find he has grown a pair of breasts. His terror intensifies when the resident school bully sets in motion a tense game of cat and mouse, as he subtly threatens to expose Sam to the school; building inexorably towards a confrontation that neither of them could ever have imagined…
Director: Alex Winckler
Writer: Duncan Barrett
Producer: Patrick Howson
Co-Producer: Lauren Dark

To Leech
Comedy Drama
A black comedy about two men trying to resolve an argument in a rather unusual, anachronistic fashion. They meet on a field at dawn to fight a duel.
Writer/Director: Stephen Leslie
Producer: Seb Loden

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