FILM REVIEW: Sunderland Shorts Film Festival @ Empire Cinema, Sunderland (08.05.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Jordan Stories: Blue

If day one of Sunderland Shorts Film Festival proved anything, it’s that this is a must attend event for anyone interested in watching films, or in the process of filmmaking.  As I found out, it may also be a must attend event for anyone interested in raising their expectations of the possibilities of short films.

Running as a four-day festival, Sunderland Shorts is a celebration of filmmaking talent from all over the world.  Spanning a range of categories from comedy to horror, its manifesto is to show case some of the most original, and though-provoking, contemporary pieces available. I was fortunate to attend most of Day One of the event, the categories of which included Young & Emerging (part one) and Drama (part one). 

Set within co-ordinated sittings, each category is broken down into an hour and a half running time, consisting of a number of short films shown back to back; Young & Emerging consisted of nine films; Drama of five.

Proving a desire to showcase diverse topics, my key takeaway was the quality of each short, particularly in the Young & Emerging category, and their desire to impact the audience. From hard hitting documentaries (transgender rights in Stealth, free-running in Motus), to twisted comedy (I Was Called 40 Years Ago) the cinematography, screenwriting, acting and visual effects were all first class. Hiba Nabulsi’s investigation into Arabic culture’s shame of depression, Jordan Stories: Blue was particularly impactful.

Particular mentions need to be given to Dimitris Tasakleas Yawth and Jon Burton’s Our Catherine, both in the Drama category, for inspired film-making about the social media generation and the impact of Catherine Cookson on the local region; both were ‘shorts’ you wished were ‘longs’.

Proving diverse in terms of content, duration and style, Day One of Sunderland Shorts was an absolute knock out.  There’s still three days to go, don’t miss out.

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival runs until Saturday 11th May. Click here for tickets.


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