Our man on the ground, Adam Cook, has reviewed the short films that made the final screening programme from this year's call for submissions. They are a wide and varied bunch, which we think you will enjoy. We hope this helps you plan your visit to XpoNorth...
Director: Kartik Gupta, Varun Nair, Bhanu Khandelwal, Eshana Multani
“Magarwasi” is yet another entry from a recent animation graduate. Kartik Gupta’s comedic short film follows Inspector Lobo, a drunk police officer on his way home, who encounters the malicious Magarwasi tribe. Featuring excellent lighting the computer-generated animation is certainly impressive considering the inexperience of the director whilst the kinetic action and larger than life characters should entertain young and old viewers alike.
Director: Romain Richard
This award-winning French comedy follows the eponymous Michel, a cantankerous old man who is forced to share his home with Pierre, a young student. Trying to organise an intimate dinner date with his girlfriend, Pierre must appease his difficult and nosey housemate. Romain Richard’s film is a beautifully observed comedy that plays on this fractious odd couple relationship. The performances are excellent, particularly Albert Delpy as Michel, whilst the gentle comedy springs naturally from the well rounded characters.
Director: Chris Cronin
Chris Cronin’s “Moments” is a brightly coloured romantic-comedy that is destined to put a smile on the face of even the most jaded filmgoer. It is the story of a young man who always misses out on life’s special moments. A chance encounter with a mysterious woman could change all that, but can he win her heart? Set in a world where characters spontaneously burst into dance and fall in love at first sight, “Moments” is an unapologetically feel-good film with an infectious charm that is sure to get your toes tapping.
Director: Muzappar Osman
Directed by New York Film Academy student, Muzappar Osman, “Money Box” features a simple high-concept premise and excellent production values. A man discovers a vending machine on a quiet street that gives out more than just bottles of cola. Yet, as is the way with humans, greed gets the better of him until he learns a costly lesson. “Money Box” is one of the shortest films in this year’s main programme, not wasting a single second in this tightly edited lesson in morality.
Director: Ziba Arzhang
An innovative mixed media short from Iran telling a tragic true life story.
Norman is Lost
Director: Joseph Felton, Jenny Harrington
A children’s book brought to life as a lost boy searches for a lighthouse.
Nose Of The Fairy Hill
Director: Arun Sood
A poetic and touching remembrance of a small Scottish village.
Not Anymore - A Story Of Revolution (Film Contains Swearing)
Director: Matthew VanDyke
“Not Anymore” is an emotionally gripping documentary about the Syrian conflict as experienced by a rebel commander and a young female journalist. In their own words we discover lives torn apart by war, their personal sacrifices and their hopes for an uncertain future. Featuring graphic and unflinching footage of the conflict, the short documentary proves to be difficult yet vital viewing and arguably one of the most important films on the festival programme.
Director: Salvatore Centoducati, Eleonora Bertolucci, Giulio De Toma, Ruben Pirito
Italy seems to be a growing force in animation this year with several shorts from the country making it into the main festival programme. “Office Kingdom” is certainly one of the most accomplished efforts with a compelling story that is matched by bold art direction and character designs. Salvatore Centoducati’s film is a delightful blend of comedy and action as a downtrodden clerk sets out on a dangerous journey in order to complete her paperwork. Featuring dynamic action and well-timed comedy, “Office Kingdom” is destined to be a crowd-pleaser.
On The Edge
Director: Roy Zafrani
Alona emigrated from the Ukraine to Israel when she was 13. Never feeling like she belonged anywhere she spiraled downwards until she took control and turned her life around. This award-winning documentary from Roy Zafrani is a moving study of a young woman who had the strength and courage to fix a life dominated by drugs and mental health issues. Alona is an engaging subject speaking frankly about her life and her struggles to feel connected to society.
One in a Million
Director: Darren Langlands
Some people are born unlucky, even those that win the lottery.
Out - A Coming Out Documentary
Director: Tommy Fletcher, Olivia Malesco
Coming out to friends and family must be one of the hardest things to do for a gay teenager, even in these more tolerant and accepting times. “Out - A Coming Out Documentary” interviews two such teenagers who talk candidly about how they felt before, during and after this monumental moment. The film’s unfussy and traditional documentary style allows the words of the teenagers to take centre stage as they speak openly and honestly about their feelings and how they have been received since
Director: Lian Furness
“Pebble Moon” is a sweet and heartwarming story set on the Yorkshire coast. Seven year-old Lilly sees the world through the fantasy stories her two fathers read to her. When a mysterious woman enters their lives she must discover what true family means. Narrated by Lilly, the film remains firmly fixed to her perspective as she struggles to understand the complicated adult problems unfolding around her. Despite the short tackling potentially heavy themes it retains a pleasing lightness and naivety that is in perfect keeping with its young protagonist’s perspective.
Director: Rohit Gill
Made for a mere £100, “Planet X” is an ambitious sci-fi short on a shoestring budget. Employing a mock-documentary style, Rohit Gill’s satirical film documents the aftermath of a foreign planet appearing in Earth’s atmosphere. The arrival spreads fear amongst the population and is used for political gain by the government. Despite the non-existent budget, “Planet X’s” special effects are surprisingly accomplished whilst the fake news reel footage and panicked interviews with the public create an effective atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.
Director: Aleley Belyakov
Alexey Belyakov’s graduation film is based on a short story by acclaimed author, Vladimir Nabokov. In a chance encounter, a concentration camp survivor is reunited with a sadistic former officer of the Wehrmacht. However, now he has all the power and a razor blade to the throat of his former captor. “Razor” is a tense and emotionally charged film backed by compelling performances and striking cinematography. It is a film that will grip you until the closing credits.
Roses Are Red
Director: Abbey Sacks
A brief moment of kindness captured on the streets of Washington, USA.
Director: Martin Smatana
In a woodland clearing a young boy witnesses a dreamlike circus performance. However, he soon discovers that the price of admission to the performance may be too high. There is something magical about stop-frame animation that makes it the perfect medium for a story like this. This is an impressive debut film from Slovakian animator, Martin Smatana, with its oneiric atmosphere and colourful characters, you can’t help but be entranced by the show.