Emmeline Kellie’s heartfelt short Do You Care? kicked off this month’s showcase, bringing to light the difficult lives of young carers. Made in collaboration with The Children’s Society, it was a sincere, well-meant and well-shot short film about young children who, whilst still at school themselves, have to care for parents with mental and physical disabilities. Following Do You Care? was another short, The Hidden Truth, written and directed by Ben Bloore and starring Jenn Day. A tense espionage thriller set in the aftermath of an attack on Mi5, it was an ambitious, atmospheric short made with the intention of a subsequent feature film.
The first music video of the evening came with The Shy Project’s Bad Feeling, beautifully shot by Simon Dymond, his third project with the London band. It was followed by Liam Banks’ sci-fi short Chasing Time, originally made as part of the Five Lamps Film Festival and written, shot and edited in only 24 hours. The hyper-violent, retro fight scenes were well choreographed and made all the more impressive given the short production time.
Following on from Harry Wilding’s Slacker-inspired political short Withdrawing in Disgust was Luther Bhogal-Jones’ intriguing Pick Ups. During his introduction, Bhogal-Jones described the Don Quixote-esque production period, which spanned almost four years and included just about every problem imaginable. This result of his lengthy endeavor was a charming, funny and beautifully shot short film about an English man travelling to Copenhagen to meet a Danish girl.
Andrew Griffin’s Sprite and Graham Lester George’s The Weighting Game were the next two short films in the line-up. The first, an eerie story of a young girl and a middle-aged man with a dark secret was beautifully paced and wonderfully creepy. The latter was a light-hearted comedy about a middle-aged man whose bathroom scales interact with him. These two shorts were followed by a trailer for James Bushe’s fan-made film Predator: Dark Ages, the subject of a successful Kickstarter campaign with over 300,000 views already on YouTube.
Mark Devenport’s brilliant Gary the Rapper vs. Stefan Blix, which was shown as part of the last ever Bang! at Broadway Cinema last year, drew one of the best crowd reactions of the night. The story of a has-been music producer’s collaboration with a local young rapper (Scorzayzee) amidst the breakdown of his relationship, career and mental wellbeing.
Two more music videos, Merrick’s Tusk’s Kepler directed by Jordan Morris and Keto’s Change by Christopher Bevan began the second half. Following on, Will Price’s Waitress, a horror-short starring Emmeline Kellie, was beautifully shot and well acted, with a grim twist at its conclusion.
Having been chosen as a Staff Pick on Vimeo, Luke Condor’s creepy drama Keith is clearly already developing a good reputation. Innovatively using nothing but images from his computer, including Skype, Facetime, Gmail and Facebook, the film was made in just seven days without a camera. It’s tense, original and beautifully different to anything I’d seen before. Robert Dawes’ comedic short Jump, which also featured at the last Bang! as well as opening for Birdman at the Bristol Film Festival came next, drawing another great reaction from the audience.
Following the latest project from Videomat, ‘I’m Fockin’ Walkin’ Here’ by Hiphop’o’mite, the final short film of Short Stack 3 was Chomp by the Horton Brothers. A darkly comic, zombie romance story, it starred Marc Pickering, the actor who played the younger version of Nucky Thompson in the final series of Boardwalk Empire.
Short Stack will be taking a break next month, before returning in August with a line-up of exclusively female directed films.