Think David Bowie! Think Alan Rickman! Think the British Shorts Film Festival!

BRITISH SHORTS Film Festival, 2016.

Just over a fortnight ago, the world lost two very important British icons.

Men who were true artists of their craft and who didn’t shy away from the experimental. Men who at first glance weren’t considered classically handsome chaps or the type of men for leading roles, but who made a huge significant impact on British film, music, art and popular culture. Men who knocked you for six at their sparkling performances.

David Bowie ©Alpha Press.
David Bowie

True performers who wouldn’t bat at undertaking complex non-traditional roles.

The type of film that one might be inclined to call an independent film.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

An independent film that can be found in such an event as the British Shorts Film Festival!

I Am Here by David Holmes.
I Am Here
by David Holmes.

This film festival has been around since 2007 but I only found out about it in 2015 and it’s a funny story. You can read all about it here!

Honestly, it’s great being British in Germany ‘cos you get to participate in all kinds of stuff. Only last week, I was honoured to be invited to the Friedrichstadt-Palast for a British evening of talks with distinguished guests, a room full of up-coming bloggers and interesting hacks, a look behind the scenes of the world’s largest theatre stage and an opportunity to watch the latest performance of the hit production THE WYLD which was still as brilliant as the first time that I watched it!

If you remember, I was awfully impressed and wrote all about it right here!

Yet again, the Film Festival started on 21.01.16 which was a Thursday so I went on Friday and pretty much made it a weekend to remember lol! This time, the German organiser Jürgen Fehrmann knew exactly who I was and was delighted to have me on board!

WHAT IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL?

Three Brothers by Akleem Khan.
Three Brothers
by Akleem Khan.

The British Shorts Film Festival is a collection of 155 British and Irish short films shown within a span of five (5) days from the 21st – 25th January, 2016!

This was the 9th edition of British Shorts with the publicity title: Shorts. Now. Forever. And this film festival didn’t disappoint!

British Shorts Film Festival Logo.

The British Shorts Film Festival has evolved to become a true international audience festival with one of the most interesting platforms for British and Irish short films outside the UK and Ireland. There were showings of short exciting films embracing drama, comedy, animation, thriller, horror, experimental, documentary, and music videos. There were also concerts, parties, a free film workshop (including a 48-hour film project), Open Screenings, talks and an exhibition that created an atmosphere of festivity and involvement imbibing both a jury award, and an audience award. In fact, the 2016 retrospective was dedicated to the animation department of the world-famous National Film and Television School who include such talent as the Wallace & Gromit inventor Nick Park!

RETROSPEKTIVE - Wallace and Gromit - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.
RETROSPEKTIVE – Wallace and Gromit – British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

WHO IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL FOR?

Mr Madila by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!
Mr Madila
by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!

Well, this film festival is for established film-makers, promising newcomers, talented film students, and anybody else who has an interest in the making of short films. Indeed, the likes of Judi Dench (James Bond – 007), Michael Fassbender (The X. Men), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock Holmes (BBC) & The Hobbit) have all appeared in previous festival films. And this year, we seemed to have a who’s who’s from Games of Thrones (Michelle Fairley & Liam Cunningham) and the BBC’s Dr. Who (Arthur Davill)!

It doesn’t matter if you have a large budget, a low-budget, or no budget at all (like we had LOL)! I very much like the British Shorts Festival because not only, were the films of the highest quality and really gripping but also, at the end of the festival ANYONE at all can present a film to be judged by a respected jury, as well as the audience.

Gulp!

BUT WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

Well, the film screenings have the following categories:

Drama.

Comedy.

Experimental.

Documentary.

Don't Fear Death by Louis Hudson
Don’t Fear Death
by Louis Hudson

Animation.

Mockumentary.

Romance.

Thriller.

Surgery (Horror) by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.
Surgery (Horror)
by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.

Horror.

Fantasy.

Film Noir.

Mystery.

Sci-Fi.

Holding The Strings by Benjamin Cowie
Holding The Strings
by Benjamin Cowie

Music Videos.

Retrospective: An evening’s screening dedicated to the National Film and Television School (NFTS), London showing big successes from the past four decades four (4) decades in “Directing Animation” followed by a Q&A.

DON'T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.
DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

And an exhibition featuring photographs, and experimental films. This year’s selection was the photography and short film series DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

Oops!

The film documents the rise of Grime, an angst-ridden and confrontational sound that emerged from the UK. The photographer and filmmaker Simon Wheatley was present for Q&A and during the entire festival, the film was shown in loops.

Paaaaaarty!
Paaaaaarty!

We live in Berlin.

Berlin is an exciting city filled with young inspiring talent so there were other interesting and exciting events and items such as:

A free festival workshop & a 48-hour film project.

Concerts & Parties.

Exhibitions.

Talks with film-makers, directors, producers and writers.

An an Open Screening for ANY short film.

Open Screening.
Open Screening.

WHERE DOES THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!
At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!

This is the 9th year and the festival always takes place at the home base cinema called Sputnik Kino in the suburb of Kreuzberg, with some screenings taking place at the Badehaus Szimpla in Friedrichshain, Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding. All delightful cinemas who show art and independent films!

I went to the Sputnik Kino which has many cool memories of stone-distressed seating made of bricks! Yes, you heard me.

Bricks!

Not to worry though as times have changed, and seating is now covered with leather, cushions and plastic beer crates!

Acudkino.
Acudkino.

This year, I also went to the Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding.

I’ve only been to the Acudkino in Mitte perhaps once or twice, which is embarrassing as it’s only about 15 minutes from my home! In the olden days when I didn’t actually live in Prenzlauerberg, I used to go on that street all the time as it has a place called the Weinerei Forum.

In those days, the drinks were free!

Sortof!

The Weinerei in Berlin!
The Weinerei in Berlin!

It’s shabby chic daaaarling!

I hadn’t been to the City Kino at all as it’s in a dodgy neighbourhood, but right next to the French Cultural Literature Centre! I was surprised to discover that the venue was quite nice.

City Kino. This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. 'Good thing I was on the press list!
City Kino.
This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. ‘Good thing I was on the press list!

Once you stepped in!

I really enjoyed the films as many were recognisable respected British actors in my opinion! The films I saw were of excellent quality and we were able to observe a Q&A session with two directors of the film that we had just seen! This is why I really love going to film festivals. Not only do you see outstanding films worthy of each and every award, but you get the opportunity to be close to the Directors, Producers and Actors too!

 

Open Screening - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

The Sputnik Kino has a lovely reputation of supporting aspiring independent film-makers and once a month, every third (3rd) Wednesday, has an Open Screening. This Open Screening allows film-makers to show their movies to a live audience, and is in both English and German.

No appointments are necessary, no application forms, no testings made, it doesn’t have to be “finished,” any language is accepted, no previous qualifications necessary.

It’s a forum whereby you can “test” your film, and a live audience can ask questions, make comments, positively criticise or praise your film.

The requirements?

Not more than 25 minutes. And members of the public are the judges of the film.

Cost?

Absolutely nothing! For both the film-makers and the audience!

Stutterer by Benjamin Cleary.
Stutterer
by Benjamin Cleary.

I’M INTERESTED IN FILMS BUT I’M NOT A FILM-MAKER.

Room 55 by Rose Glass
Room 55
by Rose Glass

I’m not a film-maker either but I do love independent films.

I saw various clips of film between 2 and 23 minutes. Most were really interesting and clever, and some were downright disturbing, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see them!

I watched a whole host of Festival Screenings / Documentary Specials / Retrospective Screenings and an amazing number of short Animation Films, after which I dragged myself home, using the über-efficient German public transport system in the wee hours, and chatted with the pretty friendly Berlin punters!

Edmund by Nina Gantz
Edmund
by Nina Gantz

The performances were completely packed out, showing British and Irish talent in a Berlin setting.

CAN YOU MAKE A FILM YOURSELF?

Make it yourself!
Make it yourself!

You sure can!

The attraction of British films for an international crowd is either historical drama or gritty down-to-earth films. I like British films because of the grit and the reality concept, as I do Berlin films.

The Man Who Fell to Earth. David Bowie.
The Man Who Fell to Earth.
David Bowie.

At the British Shorts Film Festival, we even got to watch a part of Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi masterpiece The Man Who Fell To Earth with the main character played by a young David Bowie about an alien on an elaborate rescue mission, to find water for his planet.

At the film festival we booked into a workshop on film-making!

Last year, I went for the fun of it and to see what it was all about but this year, I decided to take it more seriously.

We only had 48 hours and this time I wanted to go it alone as the workshop was centred on the idea of a journey. Sadly, I couldn’t find enough inspiration that would satisfy my lust for quality.

I went for the Screening of the workshop films and the standard of the film-making workshop collection was amazing. Thank goodness I didn’t submit my sorry piece of video work. It would have been shameful!

The films produced were good quality stuff with many meeting for the first time, deciding to work together, and yet managing to create, produce, edit and design, in only a few hours, even editing right before the submission deadline!

They say, stick to what you know.

I like independent films and I love film festivals.

I’m a good writer and I don’t mind writing about films, or speaking and performing in front of a camera, but I’ll leave the art of film-making to the experts!

British Shorts Film Festival.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO PARTICIPATE?

Manomann by Simon Cartwright
Manomann
by Simon Cartwright

Nope!

All literature and instruction is in both German and English. It’s a British & Irish Film Festival so the films are of course, in English!

MY VERDICT?

Just Desserts by Michael Yanny
Just Desserts
by Michael Yanny

Lots of fun and learning and a really good project!

At a time when large budgets and big stars are the norm, it’s quite nice to see, support, and encourage a non-profit film-making project.

In our city.

In Berlin.

I salute you David Bowie & Alan Rickman. RIP.

For more information. Please contact: British Shorts Film Festival.

For more information about Open Screenings. Please contact: Sputnik Kino.

The back of me - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The back of me –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

This article is not sponsored and although I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the film that I attempted to make are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing Part II of the Berlin Fashion Week supplement!

On 04.02.16, I will be at a private dinner organised by the Thai Embassy!

The 66th Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale – will be taking place from 11.02.16 – 21.02.16 and for the first time, I will be an accredited member of the press force. I’m so excited!

Cinestar Original will be showing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on 25.02.2016, presented by the National Theatre LIVE!

In March, I’ll be travelling to England, Spain & Portugal!

February is going to be bursting!

Watch this space!

British Shorts Film Festival 2016!

Have you ever been to the British Shorts Film Festival? Do you like British films?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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15 thoughts on “Think David Bowie! Think Alan Rickman! Think the British Shorts Film Festival!

  1. Do I like British films? Heck yes. Whilst I am not a film buff I much prefer British to Hollywood films. Okay, I may have some bias but there is reason too. I find British drama to be more gritty, true to life and easier to relate to than Hollywood blockbusters which are all explosions or a cultural life different to my own.

    It seems it is still great for you to be a Brit abroad in Berlin, what a cool place to be. I remember a few years ago being invited to the Japanese film festival in Hamburg. The Germans do love their film festivals!

    January was a sad month for all these losses of great talent. I dare say you’ve also heard that yesterday we lost the great Sir Terry Wogan. Also to cancer – a horrible killer of great people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much The Guy! I’m glad that you like my piece. I agree! Hollywood does have it’s uses but British films are more geared towards reality. Grim sometimes, but nevertheless, more truthful!
      And it’s brilliant being a Brit in Germany or a Brit abroad! Now I come to think about it, Germans do love their film festivals and I’ll be going to 3 more before the summer’s over! 🙂 I guess, it’s because they’re more cultured, appreciate the backstory of making a film, and are eager to share it with others. I mean, the film-making workshop was utterly free of charge, you’d be hard-pressed to get that in New York or London!
      p.s. I didn’t know that Sir Terry Wogan had passed away last night. Only the best. Ay. Only the best.

      Like

    1. Absolutely! British films tend to centre more around reality rather than to fantasy. The darkness tends to be laid bare, as is the fact that the budget is limited! You make a good film and then you walk away and let it breath! Thanks for making comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a big fan of British films. As you mentioned, they all tend to center more around reality than to fantasy! I’ve never been to a film festival, but that’s something I should do soon. Is London a place to be for a film festival or you would recommend another city?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Agness! Me too lol! Film festvals are so interesting and revealing about that society or community. Yes, there are many in the UK and London has loads, such as the London Short Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival, etc. In other parts of the UK such as in Manchester – the International Festival of Fantastic Films. In Sheffield – the Sheffield Doc/Fest. In Chichester – the Chichester Film Festival. In Cambridge – the Cambridge Film Festival. In Bradford – Bradford Animation Festival (BAF) & the Bradford International Film Festival. There’s just loads!

      In Amsterdam where you are based there is: the Amsterdam Film Festival, the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, the Amsterdam Film eXperience, the CinemAsia Film Festival, the Dejima Japanese Film Festival, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), etc. Pick your poison! 🙂
      p.s. Have fun in India. Where are you now?

      Like

  3. I love British productions. I especially love the fact that there is not a whole lot of money to hide behind, special effects and all to try and hide the fact that the story is shite! :-). I always laugh and tell Federico that the people that give the okay to most films are high on drugs. You gotta be! British movies on the other hand make you think. The stories are usually very good, even though they are sometimes bleak. The actors do films because they love the craft, certainly not for the big payday. I’ve never been to any festivals, but they all seem like fun. I think l would like this one.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much kemkem! I absolutely agree. I mean, Hollywood has it’s uses. It’s not called La-La-Land for nothing lol! 🙂 And sometimes, we do want the beautiful boy and the sexy girl but whichever way you look at it, as you say, British films & features make you think. And it ain’t for the money either as BBC productions typically don’t go further than 2 seasons no matter how fabulous! And that’s it! Keep them mean. Keep them keen!
      Give me grit, blood, sweat and tears any day lol!

      Like

  4. I love independent films and film festivals! I studying film at uni in Bristol and took full advantage of all the festivals when we lived in London, it’s one of things I miss about living there. This shorts festival sounds awesome, I would love to go 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Amy! I can’t believe that you studied Film at uni. In Bristol! Bristol is brill. by the way. Such a lovely town. 🙂
      Yep! I really am lucky. I get to watch all the really good stuff without having to pay English prices. And you can bring your drinks in too. So civilized! 🙂
      p.s. The Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) is just starting and that is really something with top actors, celebrities n’ the like. But more independent and more far-fetched.

      Like

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