FEATURE: Sunderland Shorts Film Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Still from Peak, by Cool Girl Pictures

The short film is an artform that often and quite unjustly gets overlooked, but the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is looking to change that and shed some much-needed light on the world of mini-movies! The event returns for its fifth consecutive year from Wednesday 8th-Saturday 11th May, and showcases a selection of films from some of the very best international short filmmakers working today. With an estimated eighty films from all across the globe, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy at this eclectic celebration of the humble short. Films within the comedy, horror, drama, sci-fi and documentary genres will all be on show, as well as plenty of material from young filmmakers who will be looking to explode onto the silver screen.

As with the previous year, Sunderland Shorts will be cultivating a great selection local talent through their connections with Newcastle, Sunderland and Northumbria universities and South Tyneside College. Cool Girl Pictures return after last year’s successful entry, Sycamore Gap, became a firm audience favourite. This year, they’re hoping that their latest entry, Peak, will garner a similar reception. It’s an introspective and deeply compelling cinematic journey centred around a person’s attempt at confronting their unpleasant past, set against a collection of absolutely breath-taking visuals.

The world of stop-motion animation also comes to life in Tone Death, a startlingly original piece of work which tells of a gifted pianist who suddenly loses control of his left hand, resulting in a gruesome yet hugely entertaining outcome. The brainchild of UCA Farnham University graduate, Sinéad Stoddart, this zany short has already started to cause quite a stir on the national awards circuit and seems set for further success.  

With an estimated eighty films from all across the globe, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy at this eclectic celebration of the humble short

The Young & Emerging category is particularly strong this year, with films about everything from dystopian futures (Refined), male mental health (Falling), homelessness and the welfare crisis (Deleted), teen pregnancy (On The Edge) and gay acrobats (Stretch).

Other films that you really don’t want to miss include the harrowing yet moving On The Edge; the odd but nevertheless hilarious black comedy Think Of The Worst; Learning To Swim, which tells the tale of Ingrid and her son Ross who welcome Syrian refugee Ahmed into their home; North East graffiti and street art flick Broken Window, by emerging filmmaker Rob Kilburn; true story comedy Metroland, which deals sensitively with family and death; the world premiere of Old Beginnings, featuring music by Leo Abrahams who wrote the scores for Hunger and The Lovely Bones; and the energetic and fast-paced free-running documentary Motus.

The films this year will all be screened at the Empire Theatre, providing access to interesting and thought-provoking films to a wider audience. Each day will offer screenings covering different genres, with Young & Emerging, drama and documentaries on Wednesday 8th; more Young & Emerging and comedy on Thursday 9th, along with screenings of the current BFI award-winning films; there’s art, drama and horror and sci-fi on Friday 10th; and documentary, more drama and local films screened on Saturday 11th May.


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