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Film of the Week:  Monsters by Steve Desmond


Monsters by Steve Desmond (2015) (USA) (14m)

Monsters was the co-winner of the Grand Prize in the 10th FILMSshort competition. Directed by Steve Desmond, who co-wrote it with Michael Sherman, it is a sci-fi thriller that tells the story of Jenn, who lives in a bunker with her family because the world outside is full of monsters. Her parents and elder brother do not allow her to venture out with them but she dreams of fighting the monsters herself. So she forms a plan and today is the day she goes out...

Speed Dating by Isaac Feder (2007) (USA) (8m)

With the launch of the new competition, we look back at previous People's Choice winner Speed Dating, a romantic comedy about Greg, who has recently broken up with his girlfriend so trying out speed-dating. He is confronted with a series of comically incompatible women until he meets one woman who is different from the rest and keen to have an honest conversation with him. Is this the girl for which Greg is waiting? With a great script and wonderful acting, short films don't come much better than Speed Dating.

Rate Me by Fyzal Boulifa (2015) (UK) (17m)

Rate Me played at Cannes as well as many other festivals around the world, picking up several awards along the way. Rate Me presents us with a bewildering array of different possibilities as to the true nature and identity of a young woman who is being rated by punters who claim to have used her services. The film highlights the difficutly of knowing what is real in our post-truth, online world. Are these people even talking about the same person?

Rate Me


Yardbird by Michael Spiccia (2012) (Australia) (13m)

Its title refers to the film's heroine, a young girl who lives on her father's scrapyard. It soon becomes clear that she has special telekintic and healing powers (and using them causes a nosebleed). When she comes across a group of teenage boys torturing a cat she feels obliged to save it and uses her powers to intervene and, despite apparently being aware of the girl's awesome powers, the boys come to the scrapyard to take their revenge. Bad idea.

The Bigger Picture by Daisy Jacobs (2014) (UK) (7m)

The Bigger Picture won the BAFTA for Best Short Animation, and was nominated for an Academy Award and the Palm d'Or at Cannes (see Omnibus for the only film to have ever won all three awards). It uses a unique mix of 2D and 3D animation to tell the story of a son struggling to look after his elderly mother, while his more career-minded elder brother breezes in and out. Jacobs made it while studying at the National Film and Television School.


Best Man by Freddie Hall (2016) (UK) (4m)

BEST MAN HAS WON THE 12TH FILMSSHORT COMPETITION! It tells the story of the newly engaged Donald, who wants his good friend, Patrick, to be the best man at his wedding. The caveat is that, if Patrick is to be his best man, his first task is to get Donald out of the marriage, which, as well as being somewhat contradictory, leads Patrick to believe that Donald has in fact lost his mind. When the bride-to-be turns up, Patrick faces a problem.


Bus 44

Bus 44 by Dayyan Eng (2001) 15 Certificate(China) (11m)

Written and directed by Dayyan Eng, Bus 44 (Che si shi si, 车四十四 ) is one of my all time favourites. A nation of one billion souls should also appear in these pages. Bus 44 is one of those dramas that questions the human race. A bus travelling through rural China is boarded by robbers, who then turn their attention on the female driver. But who on the bus will put themselves at risk to help her? Bus 44 won an honourable mention at the Sundance Film Festival.


Rabbit and Dear by Peter Vacz (2013) (USA) (16m)

Rabbit and Dear (Nyuszi és Öz) was a big hit on the festival circuit. Made as his graduation film, it tells the story of Rabbit, a sensitive female, and Deer, a more pugnacious male, who live together in perfect 2D harmony until an argument breaks out and Deer glimpses the possibility of a third dimension. Deer quickly becomes obsessed with finding and entering a 3D world. However, his success puts his relationship with the 2D Rabbit under further strain. Can they find a way to make the new z axis work for them both?


Piper by Alan Barillaro (2016) (USA) (6m)

With the support of the entire Pixar team, Piper won the Best Short Animation Oscar in 2017. It is a sweet story about a young piper (bird) learning how to feed on the beach and, with the help of a young crab, discovering that there is a better way to pinpoint its food. The computer animation - which at times is indistinguishable from live action - is beautifully done and a faux documentary camera style gives it a sense of realism.


Soft by Simon Ellis (2007) (UK) (14m)

Simon Ellis won the International Short Filmmaking Award at Sundance and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2008 with his great short film, Soft. It is the gritty story of a son and father tormented by a gang of 'happy-slapping' youths, but with neither apparently being brave enough to fight back. Simon Ellis went on to make the feature film, Dogging: A Love Story, in 2009 but scored less success with this film.

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