15 outstanding LGBT+ films; 15 diverse stories representing the past, present & future of queer life here in the UK. These are your 2018 Iris Prize Best British Short nominees, sponsored by Pinewood Studios.
Director: Joseph A. Adesunloye
UK, 15 mins
Friends Adam (Guetan Calvin Elito) and Luke (Adam Strawford) are the life of the party. When they decide that Luke should host a party at his house, what was meant to be a fun, carefree night without responsibilities turns out to be a nightmare.
Joseph a. Adesunloye is an award winning British-Nigerian Filmmaker. Joseph graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a Masters of Arts English Literature & Film Studies. He later attended the London Film Academy where he completed a filmmaking diploma, focusing on directing and screenwriting. Joseph’s new short film 46 had its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in 2017, where 46 was nominated ‘Best UK Short’ for its outstanding and bold treatment of the subject.
A Long Line of Glitter
Director: Asten Holmes-Elliott
UK, 16 mins
With contributions and participation from over 50 members of the LGBT+ community in and around Glasgow, A Long Line of Glitter is an often-touching overview of Queer life in Scotland’s largest city. Some interviewees grew up there, others saw Glasgow as a place of refuge, whether it was from hometowns further down the line or even – in one case – the far side of the world.
Asten Holmes-Elliott is an artist and filmmaker whose work examines ideas of identity, otherness and belonging. They use a variety of mediums including illustration, painting, photography and filmmaking to research, archive and historicise fringe communities and resist their erasure and exclusion. Asten uses unconventional gallery space to encourage accessibility and approachability whilst amplifying visibility and community cohesion. Many exhibitions are interactive, where both artist and audience become performer and subject. They have worked with the BBC, The Wellcome Collection, the GOMA and the Tate Artist Rooms – their work has been shown worldwide.
Director: Angela Clarke
UK, 15 mins
Bryan Bale grew up in Cardiff at a time when homosexual acts between men were still illegal. As a young man in the 1960s he moved to London, enjoying everything the city had to offer, and he met the love of his life. With stories that are funny and intensely moving in equal measure, Bryan reflects on the past, while embracing his present and future.
Currently Head of Development at Avanti Media, Angela has 14 years factual experience producing, directing and developing international co-production documentaries for television. In 2017, she decided to branch out into the world of independent filmmaking, and produced and directed her first independent short film, Bachelor, 38. She was also selected by Sheffield Docfest to attend their Future Producer School programme in 2018, and with her second short in production, she is now developing her first independent feature.
Beyond ‘There’s always a black issue Dear’
Director: Claire Lawrie
UK, 30 mins
From photographer and filmmaker Claire Lawrie, this charming documentary is a timely exploration of the role black British people played in the LGBT+ movement and how their voices and experiences were often airbrushed out of Queer history.
Claire Lawrie’s background is in still photography, her portraits and visual art projects often foreground the construction of identities. Claire Lawrie received her BA in Photography from the London College of Communication in 2011. She has won Bartur, Birth Rites, Life Framer and BJP Portrait of Britain. She lives in London, with her two teenage sons and her husband and works as a freelance photographer, and will be studying at UCA Farnham to gain her MFA photography this year.
Director: Jesse Lewis Reece
Producer: Ike Newman & Ania Polewiak
UK, 25 mins
Teenager Jay (Elijah Harris) moves to a new town and joins the local boxing gym, Sharky’s, where he’s taken under the wing of its owner, the aggressive disciplinarian Shane (Kru Lundy). But Jay and Shane have a shared history and a bond that goes beyond the ropes of the boxing ring, and secrets that will cause them to question everything they think they know.
Clothes and Blow
Director: Sam Peter Jackson
Producer: Sam Peter Jackson & Ricardo Noel Frutuoso
UK, 23 mins
For American voice over artist Daniel (David Menkin), life in London is one long autopilot ride of demanding clients and awkward Grindr meets. But when his mother Stephanie (Nancy Baldwin) decides to visit with less than 24 hours’ notice, Daniel is forced to re-evaluate how fully and authentically he is living his life.
Sam’s play Public Property premiered at Trafalgar Studios and earned a 2010 WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best New Comedy. A Berlin production and tour followed in 2014 and 2018. In 2013 he was selected for the BFI’s Think-Shoot-Distribute. His films Trick or Receipt and Baklava were nominated for the Reed Short Film Award and Trade Marked won Best Comedy at the Geek Short Film Festival. His film The Bathroom premiered at the BFI for LOCO 2015 and is regularly broadcast on Shorts HD. Sam recently worked as a Performance Director on Breaking Fourth’s new VR film Lucid.
Director: Andres Heger Bratterud
Producer: Devorah Corona
UK, 22 mins
72-year-old Stuart has been suppressing his sexuality since childhood. He is a Jehovah’s Witness, and a member of a tightly knit community, but going door-to-door to spread the word risks exposing his secret life to those around him, leading to their judgement and condemnation.
After studying philosophy and psychology at the university of Oslo, making shorts and commercials on the side, Andres got employed as a writer, producer and director for Gyro Media in Oslo, where he’s made award winning brand related films for small and big screens since 2007. In 2009/2010 he studied film production in NYC, and his screenplay for the feature film BOUND earned him a distinction on his MA at the London Film School. In 2017 he signed with Sølvsuper as a commercials director, and he is currently developing a drama series with Ape&Bjørn in Oslo.
Director: Emma Gilbertson
Producer: Amir Majlessi
UK, 4 mins
Two young men meet on an inner city housing estate, against a backdrop of high rises residential buildings. Are they about to fight or kiss? Crashing Waves explores the tension between both possibilities through expertly choreographed dance in the unlikeliest of settings.
Emma Gilbertson is a UK filmmaker originally from Liverpool. She has a keen interest in films about working class, queer and female identity. She graduated from the University of Creative Arts last year, where her graduation film “DECKED” was nominated for a learning on screen award. With the support of Screen South, Emma recently completed “Crashing Waves” – a queer dance film which explores sexuality and working class themes. Emma currently interns for Hurricane Films where she reads scripts to review them for potential production. Her ultimate ambition is to be a feature film and music video director.
Fleshback: Queer Raving in Manchester’s Twilight Zone
Director: Stephen Isaac-Wilson
Producer: Anais Bremond
UK, 16 mins
From the galvanising effect of “Section 28” through to the alternative fringe of the Second Summer of Love, nights such as HomoElectric and Flesh became a hub of the queer rave scene in Manchester. Fleshback is a celebration of those eventful times, exploring the vivid history, enduring legacy and present landscape of this colourful world.
Stephen Isaac-Wilson is a London based director who has directed films for Channel 4, i-D, Victoria Miro and the Tate, and worked with artists including Jorja Smith, Isaac Julien, Jay Boogie and Klein. Stephen grew up in south east London, and in 2013 was accepted onto the BBC’s prestigious production trainee scheme, where he began his filmmaking career. In 2015-16, he worked across the Emmy award-nominated series about LGBT rights, ‘Gaycation’, presented by Ellen Page.
Last year he was commissioned to direct a portrait film for the Tate’s Queer British Art exhibit and also produced a 40-minute Mykki Blanco documentary about black queer alternative culture in Johannesburg. Stephen combines both his journalistic background with his visual art sensibilities, to tell beautifully emotive and thought-provoking stories. His work has been screened at the ICA, Tate and the Barbican, as well as a handful of independent festivals.
Director: Abena Taylor-Smith
Producer: Loran Dunn
UK, 9 mins
Amma (Savannah Steyn) is paying a visit to the hairdressers. On the doorstep, she refuses a kiss from her girlfriend Jade (Jade Avia), in case anyone inside should see them. What follows is a slice of life, observed from the salon chair, as Amma dodges questions about why she hasn’t got a boyfriend and listens to the conversations of the women around her, which head into some uncomfortable territory.
Abena Taylor-Smith is a UK based writer and filmmaker from Sheffield. Her work has been published in award-winning magazines such as gal-dem, Black Ballad and Diva. Ladies Day is her first short film. It was made through ShortFLIX- a Creative England, Sky Arts and National Youth Theatre talent development scheme for new entrants to the film industry.
Director: Nathalia Syam
Writer: Nathalia Syam and Neetha Syam
Producer: Dominique Unsworth
UK, 4 mins
While a young man, Jas (Harvey Dhadda) prepares to impress his potential bride, his mind strays to a painful secret. In the briefest of snapshots, director Nathalia Syam highlights the conformities of tradition along with the freedom allowed by embracing your true identity.
Nathalia is a filmmaker who works on films between the U.K and India and has directed a total of four short-films, which has been screened at festivals. Her films often portray social themes where viewers can relate and connect to the characters through real-life situations that are plausible. Nathalia hopes to continue making films that reflects the conflicts faced by characters within their own diverse and socio-cultural environment.
Director: Dean Anderson
Writer: Matthew Bates
Producer: Sungjun Youn
UK, 16 mins
18-year-old Aaron (Aiden Nord) is stuck in a small town, helping his father Terry (Howard Harling) in a job he hates. His life is soon turned upside-down when he meets Mike (Miles Higson) at a party. Aaron tries to deny his feelings but an unexpected kiss changes everything. Soon, he discovers that some secrets are harder to keep than others.
Dean is a writer/director. He is studying his MFA in Filmmaking at the Northern Film School, where he is specialising in Directing. Dean has directed a number of micro shorts in the past but considers Poof his first major project. He is directing his next short in the coming months and is working on writing his first feature film.
The Unlimited House of Krip
Director: Garry Robson / Jane Farley
Producer: Adrian Turrell-Watts
UK, 28 mins
Mark Smith (Deaf Men Dancing), Garry Robson (Director of Fittings Multimedia Arts) and legendary Vogue “Mother” Darren Suarez formed the first ever “House” of deaf and disabled performers to walk in the Legendary House of Suarez Vogue Ball in 2017. The company, and this film, explore the traditions of the international Houses of the Vogue movement while bringing their unique perspective to the party.
Garry is one of the most respected directors and innovators in Disability Led performance, working both in the U.K. and internationally.
He’s directed over 30 professional productions, receiving Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards and a Herald Angel. He has been a Drama advisor for both the Arts Council of England and the Scottish Arts Council and was an Unlimited Awards panel member for the Cultural Olympiad. He was Artistic Director of DaDaFest International 2008 and 2010 , establishing DaDaFest as the key International Festival for Deaf and Disability Arts and performance worldwide.
Director: Kenneth O'Toole
Producer: Darren Baba and Kenneth O'Toole
UK, 8 mins
Nathan (Asan N’Jie) and Zoe (Merika Vine) are catching up in a late night café and discussing plans for Zoe’s wedding and hen party, but when Nathan dons a feather boa, he catches the attention of another customer, Omar (Michael Fatogun). What follows is the story of two possible outcomes, one of hatred and one of desire, but which is the fantasy and which is the reality?
Born and raised in the city of Liverpool, Kenneth is a London-based director. His first film, DENISE, a silent short about an ageing drag queen, played at ten international film festivals including OUTFEST. Kenneth worked throughout production on several feature films, including A UNITED KINGDOM and GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, before writing and directing TWO, his second short film.
Director: Harry Lighton
Writer: Harry Lighton & John Fitzpatrick
Producer: Sorcha Bacon
UK, 11 mins
It’s the day after Christmas, and Father Conor, a priest from County Cork, drives his nephew to prison to visit one of the inmates. This is modern Ireland, a country that’s often critical of tradition and willing to embrace modern values, but within the prison walls different rules apply, and life is often overshadowed by the threat of violence.
Harry is an BAFTA-nominated writer and director based in London. His first short film, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, was nominated for Best British Short at the U.K. Film Festival and Iris Prize Festival and officially selected by BAFTA and Academy recognised festivals including Edinburgh, East End and New Orleans. In 2017, the BFI named him as one of six emerging LGBT filmmakers to receive year-long mentorship. Wren Boys is his second short which premiered in competition at the BFI London Film Festival and went on to be nominated for a British Independent Film Award. Since then it’s won a number of awards including Best Short Film at the UK Film Festival and the London Calling Jury award, as well as being nominated for a BAFTA. Harry is currently in development for his first feature with BBC Films.