Best Short Film
The black cop
BAFTA nominee: Cherish Oteka (director/producer)
Current concerns about working culture in London’s Metropolitan Police – along with ongoing conversations about racial profiling within the police – make this an opportune time to The black cop. Cherish Oteka’s docu-drama explores a former Metropolitan Police officer’s experience of being both victim and perpetrator of racism in the police force, taking audiences into the usually private world of policing, told through an unknown perspective. “I’ve made documentaries that explore identity, discrimination and institutional bias, but never through the lens of someone who sits on all sides of the conversation,” says Oteka, whose credits to achievement include numerous short documentaries and the 2019 BBC TV documentary Too gay for God?. “In a person and a story, we introduce a villain, a victim, and a hero, and begin to understand the potential we all have to be one of them, or even all three.” Commissioned by Guardian Documentaries and supported by the BFI Doc Society Fund, The black copproduced by Emma Cooper, screened at festivals in the UK and US, including the Raindance Film Festival in London and the American Black Film Festival in Miami.
Bafta nominees: Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping (directors/screenwriters), Sam Ritzenberg, Rienkje Attoh, Hayley Williams (producers)
The day before the start of the four days of filming scheduled for Women, the cinematographer and the entire film and lighting crew were exposed to Covid-19. “We had to find a new cinematographer and a new crew that night,” says Ng Choon Ping, who co-wrote and co-directed the fictional drama with Sam H Freeman. “It was terrifying, but James Rhodes, the new cinematographer, was brilliant and was able to quickly absorb and execute our vision for the film.” The short film tells the story of a homosexual woman, played by Paapa Essiedu (a 2017 Screen Star of Tomorrow who was Bafta and Emmy nominated last year for I can destroy you), whose evening takes a menacing and tense turn when he gets into the car of a flirtatious drug dealer (Harris Dickinson, also a 2017 Screen star of tomorrow). Ng’s background is in theater directing and Freeman’s in screenwriting (BBC/HBO series episodes Industry). “When we arrived on set, we could roll out and talk to different departments simultaneously, confident that we were both harnessing the same vision,” Ng explains. Women won Best Short at the 2021 British Independent Film Awards after running at SXSW and BFI London Film Festival
BAFTA nominee: Jo Prichard (director/producer)
A month after filming her debut as a documentary director The palace – a portrait of regulars and the owner of London Palace Bingo Club in a shopping center in the city’s Elephant & Castle area – Jo Prichard has been told that the club, long threatened with closure amid a billion dollar redevelopment books was nearly finished, had two weeks before it would be forced to close permanently. The filming deadline focused Prichard’s mind and pushed away any idea of turning his passion project into a feature-length documentary. “I had about a month and a half of shooting indoors and I stepped up and started shooting as much as I could,” she says. A documentary producer by day, Prichard’s work includes non-fiction projects for Netflix, Discovery and the BBC, and includes a 2021 feature-length documentary. Dettori for Sky Documentaries on champion jockey Frankie Dettori. Prichard hopes Bafta’s recognition for his self-funded passion project will help open doors to realize more of his own documentary ideas.
Bafta nominees: Theo Rhys (director/screenwriter), Joss Holden-Rea (screenwriter)
Theo Rhys had originally planned a four-day shoot for his short musical about a taxidermist who dreams of stuffing a human, but his lighting van got stuck in traffic on the way to Gloucestershire, wiping out a day. “We were lucky to find a filming house that no one had been in for 10 years,” says Rhys, who was able to do a day and a half of shooting on the film a few months later. “It was completely run down and gave us some amazing textures to work with.” For Rhys and his regular collaborator, co-writer and composer Joss Holden-Rea, Stuffed comes from the couple’s love of musicals coupled with their longtime ambition to create something darker and more grounded in reality than the norm. Stuffed enjoyed a 2021 festival littered with accolades for the duo, including the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival’s Best Short Film and People’s Choice Award, the Nashville Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and awards recognition from the public and the special jury at SXSW. “We weren’t sure anyone wanted a grotesque musical about a taxidermist, but it turned out they did,” says Rhys.
Bafta nominees: Michael Woodward, Max Barron (director/screenwriter), Daniel Wheldon (producer)
Jones – the director nickname of commercials and music video directors Michael Woodward and Max Barron – shot Three extraordinary committee meetings in two days on site in Bulgaria, in black and white and in Bulgarian. “It seemed like the right setting for our story, which we wanted to remove from a British or American context, but preserving the themes that inspired it – deindustrialisation and the failure of hope.” The film is set in Dobre, a town whose dairy farmers face a stark choice when a vendor of “unicow” comes to town – a revolutionary bovine creature that produces the same milk as 2,000 normal cows. For Jones, who made the micro-budget feature earlier Everyone will die (a 2013 SXSW premiere), a Bafta nomination feels like validation as filmmakers. “The nomination feels like someone is listening to what we’re trying to do as filmmakers,” the duo say. “That’s all we ever wanted.”
Best Short Animation
Bafta nominees: Joanna Quinn (director), Les Mills (producer/screenwriter)
art business from director Joanna Quinn and producer/writer Les Mills was a long time coming. It continues the series of award-winning British animated films which began in 1987. Girls’ night1991 follow-up Gorgeous body and 2006 Dreams and Desires: Family Ties. The short sees the belated return of recurring character Beryl, a 59-year-old factory worker totally obsessed with drawing, and sketches out stories about her adult son, multi-divorced sister, and husband. Mills creates detailed character profiles for Quinn, who then scripts and creates hand-drawn 2D paper animatics. “It was two years of animatic work and six years of drawing and scripting,” Quinn explains. Launched in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, art business won numerous international awards at festivals such as the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and was nominated for the Oscar for Animated Short Film in addition of his Bafta nomination.
Don’t Feed The Pigeons
Bafta nominees: Antonin Niclass (director), Vladimir Krasilnikov (screenwriter), Jordi Morera (producer)
Antonin Niclass and Vladimir Krasilnikov embarked on Don’t Feed The Pigeons after a late-night reconnaissance mission at London’s Victoria Coach Station in 2020. Niclass’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) graduate short uses animated cutouts to depict a disparate collection of weary, lonely travelers waiting for one last delayed trainer, who find themselves magically linked for a moment by the resident cooing and diving pigeons. “I’ve always been drawn to portraying feelings of loneliness and melancholy,” says Niclass, who describes his animation technique as quirky and shabby chic for his film, which took just over a year to complete. to end. “For me, the Bafta nomination is motivation to continue exploring different forms of storytelling in animation, because it seems to have found an audience,” he says. Niclass takes on fellow NFTS graduate, ex-roommate and good friend Ida Melum, who is nominated in the same category. “I never imagined the film would get this kind of recognition, but we’re thrilled and excited to see it travel to festivals around the world.”
Living Dread Night
Bafta nominees: Ida Melum (director), Laura Jayne Tunbridge, Hannah Kelso (screenwriters), Danielle Goff (producer)
Ida Melum says she’s always had a turbulent relationship with sleep and has also dealt with her fair share of anxiety and overthinking. Her first animated short tells the story of Ruby, who finds herself haunted by unwanted visitors after her bedtime routine is ruined by a power outage. “I definitely had a lot of embarrassing moments to put on the table,” Melum says. “It was a fun developmental moment as the producer, writers, and I shared our most embarrassing stories, some of which ended up in the movie.” Melum’s NFTS graduation film includes Stephen Fry in its voice cast and took a year and a half to make. On the road to Bafta, Living Dread Night earned a nomination for Best British Short Film at the British Independent Film Awards and a nomination for Best Student Film at the Annies. “I can’t wait to be at the festivities and to be able to celebrate with everyone,” she says of the Bafta recognition. “The other two nominated films are both amazing, and I’m proud to be nominated alongside them.”