65th BFI London Film Festival 2021 – Shorts

The 65th BFI London Film Festival builds on the online only festival of 2020’s ‘year of the pandemic’ and continues to include the newer streams of augmented reality, and AI-driven Virtual Reality content in LFF Expanded, plus TV Series’ reflecting on the changes and developments in the way we consume content. PLUS, loads of Short Films to see for Free.

The festival is on from 6 to 17 October 2021, with films available in cinemas with screenings around the UK, available virtually, and with access to free events and films.

Also see our selection of FEATURE FILMS.


Here are our 2021 selection of SHORT FILMS: Small but perfectly formed.

6-17 Oct: Watch for free on BFI Player


Find Me Here | Thu 7

Local community lies at the heart of this programme. From a late-night Ugandan town, New Orleans hair salon and musically-oriented Brazilian delivery culture to the bricks and mortar of British housing and the cruel nature of unbridled capitalism, we witness everyday lives.

Nsenene: Late at night in the Ugandan town of Masaka, grasshoppers descend, alien-like, into the community, in this lyrical and visually stunning documentary.

Director-Producer: Michelle Coomber, Countries: Uganda-UK

BABYBANGZ: In a New Orleans’ natural hair salon where self-care and communal reflection intertwine, Anastasia Ebel hosts dynamic and enjoyable discussions. A stylish window into the heart of the bayou.

Director-Producer: Juliana Kasumu. Countries: USA-UK


Short Film Award Nominee

Fantasma Neon: (See LFF Awards) An all-singing, all-dancing musical fantasy set in the busy urban world of Brazil’s takeaway food delivery bike community.

Director-Screenwriter: Leonardo Martinelli. Producers: Ayssa Yamaguti Norek, Rafael Teixeira, Leonardo Martinelli. Country: Brazil


It’s Not That Easy | Fri 8

Life isn’t always a well-choreographed montage and the stumbles are often why we reflect on it. It’s how personalities are made and that makes for the richest of dramas.

Kabibi: A schoolgirl in the DRC is resembling the woman she wants to become, in a tale that explores the solace we find in the clothes we wear and the shoes we walk in.

Director-Screenwriter: Elaisha Stokes. Producer: Horeb Bulambo Shindano. Countries: DR Congo-USA-Canada

The Right Words (Haut les coeurs): If you’re looking for some sweet romance you’ve come to the right place, as we follow 13-year-old Mahdi and his undeclared love for Jada while on the school bus run.

Director-Screenwriter: Adrian Moyse Dullin. Producer: Lucas Tothe. Country: France

Sunshine City: Three best friends are racing across town to get to a rap gig where they’re meant to perform, but numerous obstacles delay their journey.

Director: Evan LaMagna. Producers: Dylon Peven, Evan LaMagna, Dal LaMagna, Aaron Jones. Screenwriters: Evan LaMagna, Dylon Peven. Country: USA


Weird and Wonderful World | Fri 8

Filmmakers showcase the strange in this selection that veers between the weirdness of folk horror to a wonderful celebration of Afro-futurism.

Earthbound (Jordbundna): At the end of the world, Max is desperate to be with the woman he loves. But his destiny lies less in some dystopian space odyssey than an Afrofuturist dream.

Director-Screenwriter: Baker Karim. Producers: Olivier Guerpillon, Frida Hallberg. Country: Sweden


For Better or Worse | Sun 10

Marriage as an institution can be suffocating and the works here explore the more negative side to the vows taken between two people, particularly around how individuals can control and bully.

Imuhira (Home): Kanama’s dream-like journey back to her family does not offer the homecoming she hoped for. The initial solace of familiar surroundings and presence of friends is no comfort when she still feels tormented. (This film contains scenes of domestic violence.)

Director-Screenwriter: Myriam Uwiragiye Birara. Producers: Myriam Uwiragiye Birara, Shema Deve, Remy Ry, Moise Ganza. Country: Rwanda


My Identity, No Crisis | Tue 12

From home to the back of a taxi and back again, these stories encompass self-exploration and negotiating the importance of identity, while choosing a path to be proud of.

Play It Safe: Suffocating in the whiteness of drama school, Jonathan realises others’ discomfort is a trivial consequence of momentary cogency.

Director-Screenwriter: Mitch Kalisa. Producer: Chris Toumazou. Country: UK

Nasir: Musician Nasir calls several family members by phone to discuss the decision to transition.

Directors: Jackson Kroopf, Nasir Bailey. Producer: Jackson Kroopf. Country: USA

Egúngún (Masquerade): When Salewa has to return home, she finds herself back in a place where she once had to hide herself. But now she goes in search of her own peace.

Director-Screenwriter: Olive Nwosu. Producer: Alex Polunin. Countries: Nigeria-UK


Your UK or Mine? | Sat 16
This selection of shorts shows how varied and impressive new British filmmaking is, through stories of community, love and personal acceptance.

Short Film Award Nominee

Precious Hair & Beauty: With observant commentary on the changing landscape of London communities, this is a witty and energetic snapshot of an odd day at a Black hair dressers.

Director-Screenwriter: John Ogunmuyiwa. Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager. Country: UK


Short Film Award Nominee

Femme: In a tense late-night journey, Jordan encounters a drug-dealer in a dangerous den populated by a gang of men and stifling with toxic masculinity. (This film contains scenes of drug use and strong violence.)

Directors-Screenwriters: Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping. Producers: Sam Ritzenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienkje Attoh. Country: UK


The Other End: Shona’s boyfriend hasn’t come home. She fears the worst, so ventures out into the sodium-orange glow of London’s streets at night to find him.

Director-Screenwriter: Nia Childs. Producer: Alexandra Da Silva. Country: UK

We’re Too Good for This: Stereotypes are overturned in this story of physical disability, where a group of friends on a council estate find a way to assert their independence using the gifts others see as flaws.

Director-Screenwriter: Missy Malek. Producers: Sam Barnham, Camilla Arnold. Country: UK


Short Film Award Nominee

For Love: In this beautiful drama, a couple battle for a future where they can find a home and freedom that is not determined by where they’re from.

Director-Screenwriter: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Producer: Emily Morgan. Country: UK


LFF FOR FREE

London Calling
A selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, weaving bold cinematic narratives in surprising, sometimes playful, but above all honest ways. Funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.

London Calling: Speaking Your Truth | Sat 9 | Sat 16 | Sun 17
Stories of people confronting injustice and pain, and finding their voice –

Born Again

A British Nigerian woman tormented by her inability to have children experiences a transformative baptism, leading her on a journey of healing and rebirth.
Writer-Director: Candice Onyeama


London Calling: Hopes and Visions | Sun 10 | Sat 16 | Sun 17
Stories of people – and objects – holding onto hope of something better.

Colby: 22-year-old Colby rebels against feeling stifled by everybody because of her pregnancy. But then she meets a guy at a diner.
Writer-Director: Rashida Seriki

Canvas 5: When gallery director Ruth is accused of using her position to exploit people of colour, she protests her innocence. But her doubt turns to paranoia when anonymous portrait Canvas 5 starts to exert a power of its own.
Writer-Director: Karla Crome


Film4 and Fruit Tree Media present: Foresight | Sat 9 | Sun 10
Five short films that explore alternative realities for Black and Brown people in the UK.

Foresight is a compilation of short films, set in the UK, which imagine the future for Black and Brown characters. They are written, directed and produced by culturally diverse filmmakers who call the UK home. Foresight is an urgent anthology that explores alternate realities through the lens of five Black British directors. This time capsule collection contributes to a perspective and point of view continually missing from our screens – a future where people of colour exist!

They Heard Him Shout Allahu Akbah: Zaid, recently released from prison for an unknown crime, tries to reintegrate into his previous life only to find that the arms of the state extend to controlling what he says and does.
Director: Nadia Latif. Screenwriter: Omar El-Khairy

X US: Two unaccompanied brothers embark on a journey to a new settlement on moon planet Titan. Their interactions reflect the subtle naivety and anxious fear this huge moment means for each of them, amidst an industrial-sized group of migrants.
Director: Akinola Davies. Screenwriters: Akinola Davies, Wale Davies

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be: By the year 2080, climate change has forced human beings from the Earth, with the last vestiges that remain forced into an isolated nomadic existence. In the desolate landscape, Dez forages for survival until they unearth a morsel of the past that leads them on an unexpected mission.
Director: Adeyemi Michael. Screenwriter: Courttia Newland

Twice As Good: The night before her son Dee Dee’s seventh birthday, Grace receives an unexpected intruder in her kitchen. As she discovers who the intruder is, she must decide how to protect her son while navigating the complexities of Black parenthood in modern Britain.
Director-Screenwriter: Jeremy Ngatho Cole

Digging: Ziba, Ché, Neela and Kofi use their devices to take trips through their memories to settle an argument.
Director: Elliot Barnes-Worrell. Screenwriters: Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Hasti Crowther


NETWORK@LFF Shorts Programme 2 | Sun 10 | Sat 16
NETWORK@LFF is our flagship talent development programme based at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival, and delivered by BFI NETWORK.

Vacant Bass: This short charts the impact of Black culture and clubbing on British multiculturalism, and the sense of loss as club culture has come under threat in recent times and was then wiped out entirely by the Covid crisis.
Writer-Director: Isaac Tomiczek


AFRO-FUTURES

A visual artist, sound artist, writer and editor come together to create a short Afrofuturist film, layered with their singular talents. Join us as we screen this short film and then host a panel discussion with its creators.

Sun 17

Panellists: Xana, Simisolaoluwa Akande, Nse Asuquo
Host: Ramatoulie Bobb
BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Commission artists: Xana, Simisolaoluwa Akande, Keisha Thompson, Nse Asuquo
BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Curators: Ramatoulie Bobb, Ruby Murphy and Hazel George.


LFF AWARDS

SHORT FILM COMPETITION
The Short Film Award recognises short-form works with a unique cinematic voice and a confident handling of chosen theme and content..

6-17 Oct: Watch on BFI Player for Free

Fantasma Neon: An all-singing, all-dancing musical fantasy set in the busy urban world of Brazil’s takeaway food delivery bike community.

Director-Screenwriter: Leonardo Martinelli. Producers: Ayssa Yamaguti Norek, Rafael Teixeira, Leonardo Martinelli. Country: Brazil

Femme: In a tense late-night journey, Jordan encounters a drug-dealer in a dangerous den populated by a gang of men and stifling with toxic masculinity. (This film contains scenes of drug use and strong violence.)

Directors-Screenwriters: Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping. Producers: Sam Ritzenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienkje Attoh. Country: UK

For Love: In this beautiful drama, a couple battle for a future where they can find a home and freedom that is not determined by where they’re from.

Director-Screenwriter: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Producer: Emily Morgan. Country: UK

Precious Hair & Beauty: With observant commentary on the changing landscape of London communities, this is a witty and energetic snapshot of an odd day at a Black hair dressers.

Director-Screenwriter: John Ogunmuyiwa. Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager. Country: UK


Immersive Art and XR CompetitioN
The Best Immersive Art and XR Award recognises the most innovative work from artists and creators who are boldly exploring the intersection of art, film and extended reality to fully immerse audiences in the moment.

(All part of the EXPANDED Strand: Step into a new dimension of storytelling with Immersive Art and Extended reality.)

6-17 Oct, 11am-9pm. Book a slot at 26 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN.

Container: This immersive film project makes us aware of how closely modern forms of economic enslavement compare with earlier forms that ‘civilised’ society claims to have cast aside.

Lead Artists: Meghna Singh, Simon Wood. Country: South Africa

Noah’s Raft: Acclaimed Nigerian filmmaker Joel Kachi Benson’s VR documentary shows how one person with a vision can transform a whole community by means of education.

Lead Artists: Joel Kachi Benson & Tal Michael Haring. Country: Nigeria.

Virtually There: Leon Oldstrong’s first VR film shines a light on a violent knife crime from multiple perspectives in an attempt to empathise with all parties involved.

Lead Artist: Leon Oldstrong. Production Company: Solaris2 Media. Country: UK


STRANDS

EXPERIMENTA: Films by artists that revolutionise and reshape our vision of cinema.

Screening with: Lago Gatún in te Experimenta Strand (Fri 15)

The I and S of Lives: In Black Lives Matter Plaza, Washington DC, the camera follows a lone skater’s graceful moves. His clothes match the colours of the mural he skates on.

Director: Kevin Jerome Everson. Producers: Kevin Jerome Everson, Madeleine Molyneaux

Country: USA

Memorials of Meaning (Short Film Collection)

Mudança: A dreamlike territory of imagery sensations in music, painting, poetry, and dance – inspired by the people of the Bijagó archipelago in Guinea-Bissau – speak of revolution.

Sun 17 (Also watch this short for free on the BFI Player)

Director-Producer-Screenwriter: Welket Bungué

Country: Portugal, Guinea Bissau, Germany

FAMILY: Films for the young… and young at heart.

The Wonderful Story of Aisha, Ali and Flipflopi the Multicoloured Dhow Boat – Short film in Animated Shorts for Younger Audiences

Sun 17


TREASURES: Revived and restored from the world’s archives.

Four short films in From the Caribbean to West Africa: Edric Connor’s Travelogues

Jamaica – Third Test: Connor’s coverage of the first-ever test won by England in the Caribbean, from an overcrowded Sabina Park, features authoritative narration by British-Guyanese commentator Ernest Eytle.

Caribbean Honeymoon No.1: ‘My People!’ Connor returns to his birthplace of Mayaro to celebrate his homeland’s natural beauty and manufacturing, capturing pre-independence Caribbean islands in all their glorious warmth.

Caribbean Honeymoon No.2: Shown at the 1960 Edinburgh international Film Festival, this dazzling travelogue records Guyana’s idyllic flora and the industries that supplied raw materials for British homes.

Bound for Lagos: Commissioned in 1960 to mark Nigeria’s independence, Connor directs and stars in this troubled production about shifting social relations in an emergent West African middle-class.


FAMILY: Films for the young… and young at heart.

Animated Shorts for Younger Audiences (Short Film Collection)

The Wonderful Story of Aisha, Ali and Flipflopi the Multicoloured Dhow Boat: Aisha and Ali must decide what to do about abandoned plastic, in this film from Kenya that deals with a global problem.

Sun 17

Director: Kwame Nyong’o. Producers: Wanzilu Maingi, Dipesh Pabari. Screenwriter: John Sibi-Okumu. Country: Kenya

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