Wasp, starring Natalie Press (My Summer Of Love) and Danny Dyer, follows a caring but wayward single mother as she struggles to care for her kids while also going out to meet a man she fancies. Andrea Arnold, from the Home Counties of England, began life as an actress before moving behind the camera and has made several features, including Red Road and the critically acclaimed Fish Tank.
The Academy has been rewarding longer short films for most of the last decade, and Two Soldiers is an extreme example. However, it is to its credit that it does not feel particularly long. Set during WWII, it is a touching account of a young boy who wants to join his brother in the "war at Pearl Harbour". It's very American but a great performance by Ron Perlman (aka Hellboy) makes you more likely to cry than anything else by the end.
Written by Johan Verschueren, Gridlock (Fait d'hiver) is a perfect short film. It was Oscar nominated in 2003, but I wanted to show it to you here because I like it so much. It tells the story of a businessman stuck in traffic (gridlock), who calls home only to be told by his little girl that mummy is in the bedroom with 'Uncle Wim'. His little girl carries out his instructions with amusing and tragic consequences.
Election Night (Valgaften in Danish) is a short comedy drama by Danish filmmaker Andres Thomas Jenson, best known now as a writer (he scripted The Duchess). It follows the last minute attempts of the liberal Peter to vote in Denmark's general election. He has to put up with a series of xenophobic taxi drivers but remains lost in the politically correct maze even after he reaches his destination.