Shorts On Tap hosted an evening of short film about identity – ANY COLOUR YOU LIKE – as part of their regular monthly programme – 19 SEP 2017.
Shorts On Tap is a regular evening of short film with a social conscience. Last night’s films were all about diversity, particularly LGBT+ identity with a couple of segues into mental health and (illegal) immigration.
The set up is simple – and very Shoreditch. There’s a bar, an international selection of short films, Q&As with the filmmakers, an interval with ample networking potential, more films and then home. This time, there was also a glimpse behind the curtain of the 25th Raindance Festival (20 SEP to 01 OCT 2017) and a new platform for live music, Act One.
Our sequinned host Pia Jackson – a couple of G&Ts away from being the Pat Butcher of short film – gave brisk and breazy introduction, and we were straight into the programme. First up was DUSK (UK / 2017 / 15.00m / d. Jake Graf), a moving evocation of memory and a life lived in the shadows of momentous decisions. Beautifully staged across several decades, this honest drama explored how “the problem of living in your memories is you can never be sure what’s real”, offering both the bitter and the sweet of transgender lives.
Then there was an animated documentary short film from Turkey. INVISIBLE WALLS: TALES OF INSECURITY (Turkey / 2017 / 07.35m / d. Nurbanu Asena) used several different artists to bring to life tales of inner turmoil. As filmmaker Nurbanu Asena admited in the Q&A, subtitling both speech and visual content made her film slightly hectic for a non-Turkish speaking audience, but this was a fascinating example of creative collaboration.
Hero short of the night was WONDERKID (UK / 2016 / 31.21m / d. Rhys Chapman). Tackling a very live issue¹, Rhys Chapman’s “short that feels like a feature” is the story of a gay professional football player coming out as he hits the big time. This handsome film was shot in 5 days with budget for big stadium special effects, putting it in a league of its own. Chapman is clearly passionate about the issues tackled in his short and has already completed some 50+ screenings with Q&As. He’s now working with Kick It Out and others to show the film in football training academies. It’s even taken him to Russia (“pretty scary”).
Films after the big break (more about that later) included CHECK OUT (France / 2016 / 05.00m / d. Benoit Masocco), a spirited study of a lesbian couple keeping things fresh. Beautifully shot and edited, this is one of those short films that occupies a specific (short) moment in time. SANCTUARY (Sweden / 2017 / 15.00m / d. Farid Zarrinbal) is a thriller with social chops about the lives of undocumented peoples in Gothenburg whilst THIS MIGHT NOT MAKE SENSE NOW, BUT DON’T WORRY, IT WILL (USA / 2016 / 01.31m / d. Ji Sub Jeong) is a striking animation about being different.
The final film of the night took us back to LGBT+ themes. MX.ENIGMA (USA / 2016 / 07.31m / d. Je’Jae Daniels) offers rare insight into gender identity in an Orthodox Jewish community. Somewhat plagued by a glitchy codec (or a series of frustrating creative choices by the filmmaker, it can be hard to tell…), this was a heartfelt account of the compounding Russian doll differences of being a minority within a minority.
And then we were on our way home.
It’s great to have a regular (bargain) night for short film in London and fans of the format should flock to Shorts On Tap. One minor gripe: in past lives, we have performed on stages no-one cared about… Our heart went out to poor singer/songwriter Jacob March who played stoically through the networking. Serenading other people’s career conversations can never be fun, but March’s stunning guitar playing is enough to merit a follow @jacobmarchmusic.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- Shorts on Tap continues next month with DRAMATHON – A SHORT FILM MARATHON, THU 05 OCT 15:00 – 23:00, Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, London E1. Tickets £3 in advance.
- Shorts On Tap are taking submissions from short film makers. Head here if you have work you would like to get seen.
- We’ll be researching a GUIDE to London’s short film nights and festivals soon. Head back for more movie miniatures.
Featured image: DUSK (2017).
¹ As we were writing this post, BBC BREAKFAST featured an article about Charlton Athletic, the first professional football club to give its name to an LGBT+ team. Cue groan-inducing BBC commentary: “They may be called Invicta, but they are all about being United.”