64th BFI London Film Festival 2020 – Short Films

From 7 to 18 October the BFI London Film Festival will be the first ever edition to be widely accessible wherever you are in the UK, with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and cinema screenings across the land.

2020 has been the most extraordinary year and the London Film Festival follows the trend in bringing something completely new to the year. The 64th BFI London Film Festival this year is not bound by London, you can see films all over the country. To add to that, the festival this year is providing many opportunities to see over 50 virtual premieres via the BFI’s online platform. It’s a change that may affect the festival for many years to come which isn’t a bad thing. It’s great that the festival can go ahead this year even though the World has had the Coronavirus pandemic to deal with. So many things ground to a halt, but it hasn’t stopped the festival, and in this landmark year, there are still loads of films to see, immerse yourself in and live through.

In addition to the short films and feature films, the BFI London Film Festival is offering LFF Expanded – a set of films and experiences – an augmented reality, and AI-driven Virtual Reality -experiment. Some of the content on offer is best viewed via a VR headset, but many also offer direct viewing via your web access.


Here is our 2020 selection of short films at the festival.

Short Films – available to watch for free on the BFI Player.

Available 7th-18th October 2020


Kids Will Be Kids

Children worldwide can be unruly, wild and unmanageable. This is all part of growing up, even if it sometimes means going beyond the limits. These films, from the backstreets of Accra in Ghana and the Australian Outback, to rural life in India and Wales, and the dog-eat-dog world of a British estate, perfectly illustrate this.


Young Barbara’s mother has just been overcharged at the local supermarket and it’s up to her to go there and sort it out.

Content warning: this film contains scenes of racism.

Australia 2019 | 9 minutes

Directed by: Alana Hicks

Featuring: Mariah Alone, Wendy P. Mocke

Good Night (Da Yie)

Two kids chasing chickens and playing football in the backstreets of Accra make friends with a rich guy. Their joie de vivre brings about a change in him.

Content warning: this film contains scenes of animal harm.

Ghana, Belgium 2019 | 20 minutes

Directed by: Anthony Nti


My Time to Shine

Whether or not the world is a kind and accepting place, these films present grand visions of strength and self-discovery. And on life’s rocky road, there is something to be said for being certain about the person you are.


Lynn is caught in a heady mix of depression and self-determination. After a debauched night of setting boundaries and crossing others, he realises his path is his own to define.

Content warning: this film contains scenes of drug use.

USA 2020 | 14 minutes

Directed by: Elegance Bratton, Jovan James

Featuring: Malik Shakur, Biko Eisen-Martin, Simbi Kali


A story of young love, as a transgender teen and a cis-gender teen spend their time together on a regular night, doing regular things. Or not.

United Kingdom 2020 | 5 minutes

Directed by: Abel Rubinstein

Featuring: Pete MacHale, Ludovic Jean-Francois, Atlanta Hayward

Panthers (Panteres)

Joana and Nina are 13-year-old girls on the brink of womanhood, provocatively confronting their female gender, queerness and social norms.

Spain 2020 | 22 minutes

Directed by: Èrika Sánchez Marcos

Featuring: Laia Capdevila, Rimé Kopoború


During a sizzling summer in the noughties, a gang of South London schoolgirls face strange sexual awakenings, which culminate in a visceral fate.

Content warning: this film contains scenes of violence.

United Kingdom 2020 | 18 minutes

Directed by: Luna Carmoon

Featuring: Ruby Stokes, Frankie Box


Secrets & Lies

Less peaks, more troughs. Whether it’s secrets or lies, these very personal stories range from the everyday to the far out, with characters who exude resilience and self-determination.


Shaq returns to his hometown for the first time in six months with a lot of baggage. This beautiful and dreamlike exploration of young black manhood explores loss and depression, brotherly love and pure joy.

USA 2019 | 22 minutes

Directed by: Jamil McGinnis, Pat Heywood

Featuring: Shaq Bynes, Karon Tracey, Jihad Marshall

The Spark (Brûle)

Maya likes her boss a little too much. As things come to a head she has a choice: to stay quiet or take matters into her own hands.

France 2020 | 23 minutes

Directed by: Elvire Muñoz

Featuring: Lyna Khoudri, Adeline D’hermy


This is the Rhythm of My Life

Music, film, faith, costumes and colour lift our spirits and allow us to dream. Strip them away and life might be simpler, but it’s the strength we find in these things that brings us together and, like the characters in these films, makes us eternally interesting.

Henet Ward

As her daughter Ward plays, a Sudanese henna painter prepares an Egyptian bride for her wedding. As she paints, complicity is replaced by blame and suspicion.

Egypt 2020 | 22 minutes

Directed by: Morad Mostafa


Through the power of vogueing, a group of young dancers in a favela in Rio de Janeiro try to find their way in the world in this pulsating documentary.

United Kingdom, Brazil 2020 | 21 minutes

Directed by: Jas Pitt, Kate Stonehill


In a Buenos Aires’ hairdressing salon clients, dancers and reggaeton singers find their community. This subtle documentary says a lot, with very little, about the inclusive nature of music.

Argentina, Portugal 2020 | 13 minutes

Directed by: Igor Dimitri

Featuring: Estarlyn Rafael, Jannik Mioducki, Nehuen Zapata


UK Focus

A chance to see some of the best in UK filmmaking talent, with a varied and diverse selection of stories. Crossing genres and styles, from horror and comedy to animation and powerful drama, this is a vital snapshot of new British filmmaking that’s not to be missed.

Dolapo is Fine

This rewarding and thoughtful depiction of an ever-relevant issue finds a young black girl about to leave boarding school and encouraged to conform to white beauty standards for a job in the City.

United Kingdom 2019 | 15 minutes

Directed by: Ethosheia Hylton

Featuring: Doyin Ajiboye, Joan Iyiola, Gina McKee

Expensive Shit

Tolu has a choice: save herself or save her friend. As a nightclub toilet attendant, she is both overlooked by and integral for a group of depraved men set on a hideous act.

Content warning: contains racist slurs.

United Kingdom 2020 | 15 minutes

Directed by: Adura Onashile

Featuring: Modupe Adeyeye, Kim Allan, Nebli Basani

Good Thanks, You?

The swirling timeline and strong central performance convey problems in suppressing a traumatic event that is often so hard to talk about.

Content warning: this film contains scenes of sexual abuse.

United Kingdom 2019 | 13 minutes

Directed by: Molly Manning Walker

Featuring: Jasmine Jobson, Micheal Ward, T’Nia Miller


It’s a sweet day for two drug dealers. Heading out to parties, selling to insanely posh folk and eating patties, these are the little things that make people more than just friends.

Content warning: this film contains scenes of drug use.

United Kingdom 2019 | 10 minutes

Directed by: John Ogunmuyiwa

Featuring: Bradley Banton, Stevie Basaula

Two Single Beds

Two London comedians find sanctuary in each other after a show in Doncaster. Is 170 miles as far from reality as they’re willing to let themselves go?

United Kingdom 2019 | 16 minutes

Directed by: William Stefan Smith

Featuring: Daniel Kaluuya, Seraphina Beh


We Built A World

In a year that has faced many challenges, we look to the perspectives of those we often do not see. In doing so we hold a mirror up to the world we live in. These films offer a moment to reflect and question, as well as engage with communities and their stories.

Dafa Metti

In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, Senegalese migrants seek to create a better life for themselves and the ones they love.

United Kingdom 2019 | 15 minutes

Directed by: Tal Amiran


Juwon, an 8-year-old girl with an ability to sense danger gets ejected from Sunday school service. She unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a Mega Church in Lagos.

United Kingdom, Nigeria 2020 | 17 minutes

Directed by: Akinola Davies Jr

Featuring: Pamilerin Ayodeji, Osayi Uzamere, Rita Edward

Loose Fish

A group of boys spend their days seeking work daily in a Moroccan fishing port. Concerned about their future, they decide to save enough money to escape.

Argentina, Morocco, USA 2020 | 15 minutes

Directed by: Francisco Canton, Pato Martinez


Speculative Futures

This programme considers the futures we might gift, extrapolate or create from our present tensions, through the eyes of those bequeathed. An odyssey of desires from queer to Afrofuturism to the posthuman: all have a stake in this planet and demand a request for a better tomorrow.


Portrait based on the first cinematic representation of Afro-American intimacy in the 1898 film Something Good-Negro Kiss.

USA 2020 | 2 minutes

Directed by: Kevin Jerome Everson, Kahlil I. Pedizisai

Featuring: Sabrina McPherson, Hakeem Sharif

Here Is The Imagination of the Black Radical

Afrofuturism and carnival as resistance at the Junkanoo festival in the Bahamas, from Aesthetica Art Prize winner Rhea Storr.

United Kingdom, Bahamas 2020 | 11 minutes

Directed by: Rhea Storr

The End of Suffering (a proposal)

An interplanetary symphony for Sofia.

Greece 2020 | 14 minutes

Directed by: Jacqueline Lentzou

Featuring: Sofia Kokkali

No Go Backs

Two teenagers traverse a post-apocalyptic California in this tale of an inherited wasteland, unprepared resilience and compassion, which points to the beginnings of a new future.

USA 2020 | 33 minutes

Directed by: Stanya Kahn

Featuring: Lenny Dodge-Kahn, Elijah Parks, Marisol Prietto, Serafina Prietto


Exposing Territories

These films bear testimony to oppressive histories of confinement, restriction, violence, and their consequences. The artists use artefacts of the past to transform our comprehension of historic injustice and to expose colonial strategies of oppression that sought to destroy cultures. Resistance and creativity inevitably immerge in new vibrant ways.

Leave the Edges

A deep and rich exploration of the complex ancestries of African diasporic cultural expression, inspired by post-colonial African spirituality and artistic practices from West Africa to the Caribbean and Europe. It mixes subtle and exquisite film with live choreography to create a visual poem of dynamic interactions between image, dance, ritual and music.

United Kingdom 2020 | 40 minutes

Directed by: Baff Akoto

Featuring: Yane Mareine, Yinka Esi Graves, Julien Béramis

King of Sanwi

Re-worked footage from an unfinished film by Senegalese director Mamadou Johnny Sekka forms a re-examination of The Jackson 5’s 1974 trip to Dakar.

USA, Ghana 2020 | 7 minutes

Directed by: Akosua Adoma Owusu

No Archive Can Restore You

An imagining of lost films from the Nigerian Film Unit archive, with distinctive soundscapes, juxtaposed with images of the abandoned interior and exteriors of the building that housed it.

United Kingdom 2020 | 6 minutes

Directed by: Onyeka Igwe

The Map Makers

Abstracted footage and audio of bombs dropping on Biafra in 1967 set against a speech by leader Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, illustrates the ironies of post-colonial warfare.

Nigeria, France 2020 | 17 minutes

Directed by: Newton Aduaka

Missing Time

A new formation of history that includes the fantastical as well as the political in the context of Britain’s decolonial process in Kenya and during the Cold War.

United Kingdom 2019 | 14 minutes

Directed by: Morgan Quaintance

Strange Object

An archival investigation into the imperial image-making of the RAF ‘Z Unit’, which determined the destruction of human, animal and cultural life across Somaliland, as well as Africa and Asia.

United Kingdom 2020 | 15 minutes

Directed by: Miranda Pennell

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