by Ethan Soffe
Halfway through Southampton Film Week 2018, the “Short Story Cinema” event aimed to demonstrate the significance of short form storytelling. Comprising seven short fictions and documentaries, the event was a particularly engaging and engrossing experience that showcased what a short film can accomplish.
The seven shorts screened were: short drama SAFE SPACE (Ben S Hyland 2018), poetic documentary LETTERS TO BRITAIN (Rosie Baldwin 2018), science fiction comedy TAKING DELILAH (Rachel Stephens 2018, pictured), racial drama FARSIDE (Ash Morris 2017), reflexive documentary LET ME BE BRAVE (Asten Holmes-Elliott 2016), romantic drama ME AND YOU: A LOVE STORY (Sorcha Anglim 2015) and coming-of-age drama THE NIGHT THE WIND BLEW (David Alamouti 2018). The majority of the films offered a social and political commentary that advanced their narratives and reinforced their principal messages.
SAFE SPACE centres on a social worker Sarah (Rebecca Grant) and her relationship with her client Amne (Marlene Madenge), a victim of human sex trafficking, as it unfolds over a nine-month period. LETTERS TO BRITAIN explores various pensioners recounting their experiences of significant moments in history. FARSIDE, one of the standout films of the evening, deals with a Syrian refugee’s relationships with two siblings who have contrasting political views. LET ME BE BRAVE investigates the presence of transgender people in sport. Containing this political commentary in a short form strengthened their impact. The Short Story Cinema event not only showcased timely political stances, it additionally demonstrated how much could be achieved in such a short amount of time.
TAKING DELILAH, ME AND YOU: A LOVE STORY and THE NIGHT THE WIND BLEW are short stories with great substance. TAKING DELILAH presents a couple’s troubled relationship and their dog through the sci-fi genre. ME AND YOU: A LOVE STORY, another standout film of the event, depicts a couple’s entire relationship from the first date to their break-up. THE NIGHT THE WIND BLEW deals with a young boy’s connection with his brother, whilst simultaneously exploring themes of identity and the challenges of early adolescence. Collectively, the films were impressive to experience, exhibiting sophisticated and carefully constructed narratives.
Short Story Cinema was a truly unique experience. The programme offered innumerable benefits for not just the filmmakers presenting their distinctive capabilities in storytelling but also for the audience. Having the filmmakers present for a Q&A afterwards supported the evening’s value as they discussed their specific modes of filmmaking and imparted advice for future filmmakers. Moreover, their presence made for an interactive and encouraging evening. The Southampton Film Week event was a remarkable way of introducing new filmmakers and their stories but also, notably, sharing with the audience something creative and inspiring.