The Sundance Festival returns to London this May offering inhabitants of the UK’s capital a chance to experience some of the best short films that played the US edition earlier this year. Once again carrying on its tradition of celebrating fresh work from both emerging and established independent filmmakers through two short film programmes (including a branch dedicated to UK shorts), this year’s selection features a number of stand-out films, including a few Short of the Week alums.
2018 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour
Featuring a new short from Kangmin Kim, a director we’ve twice featured on the site with 38–39ºC and Deer Flower the ‘2018 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour’ programme features a number of award winners from the main festival. Álvaro Gago’s Matria, Mariama Diallo’s Hair Wolf and Jérémy Comte’s Fauve all scooped prizes at this year’s fest, but for me the two most exciting films in this selection are the two animations. Kim has long been a firm favourite here at Short of the Week towers and his new short 점 JEOM once again showcases his trademark style, whilst Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s Min Börda (The Burden) has been one of the undeniable hits of the festival scene in recent times.
UK Shorts Programme
A screening dedicated to ‘visionary new shorts’, the ‘UK Shorts Programme’ offers up films from some of the exciting new filmmaking talent emerging from the UK – including works from Charlotte Wells (Laps) and Charlotte Regan (Standby). Wells’ Blue Christmas is a surprisingly compelling period piece that follows a debt collector who heads off to work on Christmas Eve, whilst Regan’s Fry-up is the simple but emotive tale of a families last day together. Other standout films in the screening include Georgi Banks-Davies’ sweet and relatable Garfield (check Short of the Week later in 2018 to see the full film) and Harry Lighton’s BAFTA-nominated Wren Boys – probably one of my favourite short films of recent times.
Eager to find out more about what being selected for Sundance means for up-and-coming filmmakers, I spoke to twice S/W featured filmmaker Charlotte Regan, who headed out to Park City, Utah earlier this year:
“It’s not necessarily about the size and prestige of Sundance (which is of course amazing though) its just the way they work and how welcome you feel once you’re a part of it. So many of the filmmakers alongside you in the festival reach out and vice versa, it feels like a proper community where everyone is really down to help each other and make great work”.
“It’s inspiring and I always leave wanting to make another film”
“Sundance feels like the most supportive festival I have ever been a part of and that support comes from both the festival team and the other filmmakers. It doesn’t feel like a competition where we’re all up against each other in a race to make a feature, because all our work is so different, it feels like somewhere where we are all genuinely motivated by one another’s success.
“The exposure you get from such a big fest is obviously great, but it’s also kind of a nice feeling to be amongst people who’s work you honestly do love. It’s inspiring and I always leave wanting to make another film”.
“Its really nice to have Fry-up play in the London Sundance fest too. I have always wanted to have a film play at Picturehouse central so thats a nice bonus (I’m hoping it means you get free snacks!), but to do so with a Sundance programme is amazing. Their reputation really draws people to the event, so you know its going to be seen by a different audience and its real great to get another chance to spend time with all the other UK filmmakers.”