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shortFLIX, Creative England’s cutting-edge short film-making programme today announces its final five young filmmakers, who will each make a short for broadcast on Sky Arts in 2020.
The flourishing short film making scheme, in conjunction with Sky Arts and ScreenSkills, is a valuable opportunity for new voices to create diverse and representative films for broadcast, working with experienced professionals and benefiting from further training, mentoring and support.
This year’s finalists hail from Newcastle, Cheshire, Wakefield and London, bringing a rich slate of short films with culturally relevant and powerful stories exploring family, friendship, rivalry, loss, survival and recovery in contemporary Britain.
The finalists include Carrie Battram from Wakefield who presents Left Behind, a tender short about 15-year-old Johnny who, after the death of his mum, finds connection and hope through the things she left behind.
Coming out of Newcastle, Johnny Massahi will make High Tide, a psychedelic rollercoaster comedy following the dysfunctional relationship between two brothers trapped in a sinking campervan.
Next on the list is Danny Seymour from Cheshire who brings Offended to the table, the story of a middle-aged man who embarks on his first ‘date’ for years in a near-future where people express their reactions in a very surprising way.
Joining them will be Londoner John Akinde with If I Die Today, and the story of David who is caught between friendship, revenge and doing the right thing when he is swept up in neighbourhood gang warfare.
Isabella Culver, also from London, gives us Seven Sisters, a tale of modern-day witchcraft where protagonist Juliet seeks out an unusual form of therapy for the PTSD she is experiencing.
Following 300+ applications and an initial development process that included a cohort of 26 shortlisted filmmakers, the five outstanding projects have been selected by a panel of commissioners to receive a production award of £10k each.
The programme, run by Creative England in partnership with Sky Arts and ScreenSkills, actively seeks aspiring filmmakers aged 18-25 who are not in employment, education or training, with a focus on underrepresented voices.
This programme is supported by the ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund with contributions from UK film productions.
Noel Clarke, shortFLIX ambassador, says: “These types of programmes are so important for young filmmakers to gain the opportunity for hands on experience along with funding to bring their ideas to life. This industry is renowned for being hard to get into, so it’s great to see that shortFLIX is supporting fresh, new talent.”
Karla Crome, shortFLIX ambassador, says: “I am delighted to offer my support to the shortFLIX initiative. Our industry is crying out for diverse voices with original stories to tell… but taking that first step toward your dream job can feel daunting. shortFLIX is designed with you in mind – you don’t have to be a seasoned professional to get involved.”
Ellie Kendrick, shortFLIX ambassador, says: “shortFLIX is a brilliant way to get into the industry, to make the contacts you’ll need to gain experience. I would urge anyone who is eligible for this project to apply, not only does it give you the funding to get your short film made, it also gives you support and workshops to help in the development of your film, which is really invaluable.”
Rachel Shenton, shortFLIX ambassador, says: “shortFLIX is an exciting programme and one that’s very important right now. Turning your ideas into reality can feel intangible – it certainly did for me. So it’s awesome that this programme helps to fund and support the whole process and it’s open to all young creatives. It’s a great opportunity and I’m super happy to be supporting it.”
Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills’ Head of Film and Animation, said: “We’d like to congratulate all five finalists – and we’re delighted to see such a wide range of voices included. Working with shortFLIX on the scheme is part of our ongoing work to help build a more inclusive workforce in the industry, with the experience to tell a range of stories with authenticity and cultural relevance. We look forward to seeing the finished shorts in the new year.”
Creative England, Sky Arts and ScreenSkills have again joined forces for this initiative, providing training and mentorship from industry professionals to ensure young filmmakers gain practical skills and experience as they take their first steps in the industry, in collaboration with Leeds-based independent production company True North through the production of the films.
Applicants were challenged to come up with a brilliant idea for a short film that will engage audiences. ShortFLIX exists to offer opportunities to underrepresented voices in the film, bringing diverse voices and stories representing life in the UK as it really is. Mentorship, guidance, care and nurture are a crucial part of the training and production process.