Michael Jobling, Ryan Harvey, Jack Booth and Oliver Blair – better known as Them Pesky Kids – recently held a second showcase of their work at Nottingham Contemporary. The filmmaking collective, whose previous work includes short film The Chestnut Effect and the music video for BUD’s Sugar, were all present to showcase the fruits of the last twelve months of graft to a sold out audience. Harvey, who produced all four projects, welcomed a clearly excited crowd before introducing the first film.
Director: Oliver Blair
Starring: Michael Jobling, Ryan Harvey, Jack Booth
Running time: 3 mins
Created as part of their Sunday Shorts programme, Expressions exposed the talents of Them Pesky Kids both in front of and behind the camera. Directed by Blair, and featuring the acting abilities of Jobling, Harvey and Booth, the short presented the story of a dining couple whose romantic evening is persistently interrupted by a flirtatious waiter. Entirely dialogue-free, the narrative unfolds with a collection of well-timed facial expressions, pregnant pauses and physical comedy that beautifully echoed the early silent short film tropes of Chaplin's The Rink and Making a Living. All three actors played their parts to perfection, with Blair's subtle direction providing them with the perfect platform to perform.
Director: Jack Booth
Starring: Julio E Lewis, Rosanne Priest
Running time: 4 mins
Jack Booth's proof of concept short film trawls through the psychological tunnels of a man who's squandered his life to drugs and is seemingly at a crossroads in his existence. The creation of an unreliable narrator ensures that what's real and what's imagined is never clear, constructing a film that's equal parts grimy and ethereal, whilst always remaining emotionally engaging and brutally effective. Beautifully shot, and featuring a brilliantly convincing lead performance from Julio E Lewis, A Broken Mind displayed a huge amount of promise for the planned feature film.
Director: Luke Radford
Starring: Aaron Lodge, Kelly Jaggers, Esmeé Matthews
Running time: 8 mins
Luke Radford's love letter to Saturday Night, Sunday Morning skilfully transferred the feeling of disenfranchisement and the tedium of working life that ran through Karel Reisz's adaptation of Alan Sillitoe's 1958 novel into a contemporary setting. Aaron Lodge's leading man was every inch the the Arthur Seaton of 2018, as we witness him toiling in the doldrums of a bland lifeless office, before exploding into life in a series of drinking sessions and romantic encounters, including a convincing rendezvous with the excellent Esmeé Matthews. Radford's direction is electrically kinetic, creating a fast-paced, evocative short that was perfectly backed by the music of MST and Who Do You by The Ruffs. There was a palpable sense of excitement from the audience as it raced to its conclusion, leaving more than a few of us hoping for a longer version to come in the future.
Director: Michael and Jack Jobling
Starring: Johann Myers, Hannai Bang Bendz, Dominic Wolf
Running time: 24 mins
As the highlight of an already impressive showcase, the official Premiere screening of Ariella didn't disappoint. Funded by a successful £10,000 Kickstarter campaign, the dark crime short told the story of two criminals meeting in a late night bar following a robbery several nights previously. One of them is there for a routine catch up but, unbeknownst to him, his partner has been sent by the notorious gangster they robbed, Big Wicked. Co-director Jack Jobling explained in his introduction that the film has been a passion project from a young age, and it clearly showed. As the availability of technology has made filmmaking increasingly accessible for more people, the overall quality and craft of short films has gone down as the quantity has increased. It was therefore incredibly refreshing to see a short so lovingly and carefully crafted from its opening frame, with an impressive attention to detail evident in everything from the perfect casting choices to the stunning set design. All four members of Them Pesky Kids were keen to point out the efforts of director of photography Will Price, who shot three of the four projects - including Ariella - whose cinematography beautifully contributed to creating an overall aesthetic of general unease and relentless tension. Credit must go to all involved the excellent production, especially the Jobling Brothers for their adroit, innovative direction. It's genuinely exciting to see what Them Pesky Kids will do next.