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Film of the Week: Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy

Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy by Lewie Kloster (2016) (USA) (4m)

Legal Smuggling With Christine Choy, directed by Lewie Kloster, was in competition at Sundance in 2017. This is perhaps due to the fact that Christine Choy has previously been nominated as a documentary filmmaker at Sundance. It tells the short story of Christine's penchant for Benson & Hedges' cigarettes, and how she discovered the cheapest way of feeding her habit was to buy a cheap flight to Toronto and buy the cigarettes in a Duty Free shop. However, she discovered a problem in Canada

I Am An Actress

The Day I Got Lost by Ali Hazmati (2018) (Iran) (6m)

The Day I Got Lost follows the travails of famous actress Mozhdeh Gilani (Hengameh Qaziyani) as she wraps up a television interview to discover her husband has called her mother-in-law while involved in a brawl. Mozhdeh is unable to get through to her husband and, with a conspiracy apparently taking place, she is in a rush to get home to discover what has happened. She is in for a shock.

Hedgehog's Home'

Slapper by Luci Schroder (2017) (Australia) (15m)

Slapper was in competition at Sundance and won several awards in Australia. With lots of mature content, it follows the story of Taylah, a rebellious (pain-in-the-ass) and broke teen from a rural Australian suburb populated by dropouts. After having sex without protection - which she blames on the man - Taylah must find the money for the morning-after pill to avoid a pregnancy. However, as she tries to get money out of her various sexual partners, she is also having to babysit a five-year-old girl.


Backseat Driver by Rich Peppiatt (2018) (UK) (8m)

Backseat Driver is a very well-written, dramatic short film from UK production company Naughty Step. It takes place over the course of an early morning drive into the City of London. But the chauffeur does not intend to drive the banker to his work place quietly. Instead, the banker becomes the target of the chauffer's fury. It seems the increasingly angry chauffer is keen to vent his rage over how the bankers live in a vacuous, gilded tower. But there seems to be something a little odd about their relationship.


Love by Reka Bucsi (2016) (Hungary/France) (14m)

Love was in competition at both Berlin and Sundance, and won several awards at other festivals. Its arcane nature is not necessarily to my taste, but it is certainly engaging and I think it is important to see what kind of animations are being selected for - and winning awards at - prestigious short film festivals. Set on an alien world adorned with a smiley face and with creatures similar to those found on Earth, the animation is broken into three parts (though there is a narrative running through all three): Longing, Love and Solitude.

Small Deaths


It Crawled In Through The Window by Ruth & Petre (2019) (USA) (2m)

The horror short film It Crawled In Through The Window has been selected as a finalist in the 14th FILMSshort Competition. Nicole and Mark are asleep when something crawls in through their bedroom window. It is now apparently in their living room. But what is it and what does it want? Mark glimpsed it but struggles to put it into words what he saw. As their fear grows, the unknown entity comes closer... but how will this nightmare end?

Ouija Sex by Mondo Ghulam (2017) (UK) (4m)

Ouija Sex was a success on the short film festival circuit, picking up several awards, before being selected for the 14th FILMSshort Competition. It tells the story Ryan, who is heart-broken after his girlfriend dies. He manages to make contact with her using an ouija board and things soon turn rather saucy. But there's a time and place for such things. By day, Ghulam works as an animation director in the video games industry.

Don't Be A Hero by Peter Lee (2018) (USA) (15m)

Don't Be A Hero, shown in Sundance (and thus SXSW), is a drama streaked with black comedy. It tells the story of a lonely and bored, middle-aged woman stuck in a menial job who robs banks dressed as a cowboy during her lunch breaks. When she sees the cashier from her last heist in a local bar, she sees a chance to relieve her loneliness through a personal relationship. However, it seems unlikely that she escape the reality of her life unless she dresses up as a cowboy.


Locked In by Gioacchino Petronicce (2018) (Italy) (8m)

Locked In is a nightmarish piece with compelling visuals and an arresting soundtrack. It tells the simple story of a man waking in his car in an underground car park and discovering he is locked inside it. When he sees a little girl at a vending machine not far from him he sees an opportunity to be rescued. However, even if he escapes his car, can he really escape what put him there in the first place? Locked In offers no reason as to why the man is trapped but that was a deliberate choice by the filmmaker.


Lost & Found by Slabe and Goldsmith ('18) (Australia) (8m) *

Lost & Found follows two knitted toys, a dragon and a fox, who have built a life for themselves after being left behind in a Japanese restaurant. However, when the female fox falls into a barrel of water, the only way the dragon can save is apparently through an act of suicide. The fox is determined not to let the dragon sacrifice himself for her. What will be the outcome in this high-stakes story?


Films marked * contain no dialogue. Search the entire website below.

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