Short Films - BFI Future Film Festival

The BFI Future Film Festival 2023 returns from 16th – 19th February, both live at BFI Southbank and, for the first time, all 55 short films in the programme will be available to watch globally, for free, on the BFI YouTube channel...

Press Release

The UK’s largest festival for young, emerging filmmakers, this year’s BFI Future Film Festival will include four jam-packed days filled with masterclasses, workshops, screenings, and networking opportunities, with events programmed across three strands: Storytelling, Business of Film and Career Ladder. With a host of industry experts and screen creatives leading the sessions, both online and in-person, the BFI Future Film Festival is the best way for filmmakers aged 16 to 25, across the UK and beyond, to break into the screen industries. The full industry programme will be announced on 25th January.

The films from the festival will also be available to view for free worldwide on the BFI YouTube channel. Separated into 8 strands – Art & Performance, Family & Friends, Funny, Identity, Immigration & Belonging, Music, Our Planet and Society – the film programme is a collection of fifty-five shorts by talented filmmakers from across the globe, selected by the Festival team from more than 1000 submissions.

All of the films screening throughout this year’s BFI Future Film Festival will be in contention for the prestigious BFI Future Film Festival Awards. The nominees will be announced soon, alongside juries of industry experts who will judge each category. The winners will be revealed on the final day of the Festival.

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Here's what's on the film programme listing:

Patched, knitted polar bears

Our Planet
– This collection of films highlight the order and the chaos which define not only our planet, but our universe. From climate change to galactic catastrophe, these films ask how humanity is impacting itself, and our environment, through our actions.

DARKSIDE (Spencer Zimmerman, 2022) sees astronaut Sam accept an interstellar mission to save the lives of a missing crew on a deep space voyage, abandoning his life on Earth.

In DON'T GO LITTLE DOE (Justin Fargiano, 2022) an energetic little doe unknowingly awakens a massive force of nature. When her enchanted playground turns wild, she must act quickly or meet an unwelcome fate.

MIGRANTS (Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, Lucas Lermytte, Zoé Devise, 2022) follows two polar bears driven into exile due to global warming. They encounter brown bears along their journey, with whom they try to cohabitate.

In PLAY ON: FOOTBALL'S CLIMATE STORY (Tom Zaranko-Carver, 2022) we see how climate change is affecting the beautiful game through two British towns and their clubs.

SOMEBODY TAKE THE WHEEL (Kenzie Sutton, 2021) sees a monotonous cycle highlight the absurdity of everyday life.

Two people in bright crocheted clothes sitting in front of a white sheet

-These films explore the way identity can be shaped by factors both internal and external: questions of sexuality, race and gender. Whether it’s coming out, overcoming racism, or standing up for what’s right, these stories spotlight the joy of being yourself in a world that tries to stop you.

AS ABOVE (Kemi Anna Adeeko, 2022) is a love letter to Blackness, which celebrates Black love, Black beauty and Black glory through authentic relationships.

BEAST (Aileen Ye, 2022) is a martial arts inspired dance-fight between a lion dancer and a queer performer, reflecting the tension between traditional and modern identities.

CONCRETE ANGELS (Rafael Contreras, 2021) is a documentary about three Dublin skater girls touching on femininity, their backgrounds and their relationship with skateboarding.

In HALF (Jacob Roberts, 2022), bisexual, half-Jewish Jonah comes out to his girlfriend, launching a tragicomic exploration of love and religion in New York City.

LONG LIVE SOMALILAND (Hallie Primus, 2021) takes an experimental approach in exploring and reflecting on the complex history of Somaliland from 1960 to 2021.

MY FATHER'S SON (Charles Whiteley, 2022) sees a traditional gamekeeper’s expectations challenged when his son begins to explore his sexuality.

SPEAK FOR HERSELF (Nick Willis, 2021) follows a debt-ridden woman who turns to a mysterious social study for money. The prize may be big, but the sacrifice is even bigger.

Two people sitting in a darkened living room at a dining table, arguing

Immigration and Belonging
- These films ask what it is to belong to a place, and demonstrate the alienation, as well as the joys, of leaving your home while having to make a new one somewhere else.

"I LIKE IT HERE" (Tom Anson, 2022) sees a young Kyivan refugee in London miss the last bus home to his host family. Lost, he must navigate the dark city and his emotions alone.

AFTER THE RAIN (Chelsea Li, 2022) is the animated tale of April, who returns to her hometown of Beijing after years away and meets up with a childhood friend who never left.

In BUSAN, 1999 (Thomas Percy Kim, 2022) a pregnant Korean-American woman returns to Korea and her mother. They bathe and scrub each other, hoping to heal past wounds.

In HONEYBEE (Emilio Vazquez Reyes, 2021), an undocumented Mexican immigrant in the US receives a heart-warming yet heart-breaking phone call from his daughter across the border.

HOW I GOT MY NAMES (Yuqi Tang, 2022) uses family photos and hand drawn animation to tell a personal story about dealing with a traumatic childhood while navigating adulthood.

SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE (Jane Chow, 2021) sees a lonely teenager try to help her parents keep their seafood restaurant afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles.

Animated still of people sitting around on beanbags

- This collection of films is concerned with the breaking down of societal boundaries. Characters lament the roles given to them by society, whether as a woman, person of colour, or any other categorisation, and begin to transcend these stifling expectations.

CANNED (Clemente Lohr, 2022) follows a mid-20s raver, desperately searching for something hidden in her flat, while her friend attempts to teach her the meaning of love.

COUNTRY LIFE (Luis Hindman, 2022) is a playful, tongue-in-cheek film about not wanting to leave your bedroom.

HER FIGHT (Phoebe Stapleton, 2021) is an experimental short which blends movement, symbolism and dynamic imagery to examine the safety of women and girls in public spaces.

IF HER WORLD ENDS (Zinha, 2022) is a micro-documentary that asks how the intimate need for Reproductive Justice is threatened by the USA’s restriction of abortion rights.

MENTAL ROOTS (Nathan Addai, 2021) is an animated journey into the mind of a young Black man who is wrestling with his identity.

OKOSHKO (Georgy Krasnokutskiy, 2021) follows a young boy from a far-away town in the middle of nowhere, who stumbles on a capitalistic fragment which he sees as a window to a better life.

SAFE (Aleah Scott, 2021) examines the first-hand true accounts of women who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, and the long-term effects of such violations.

STILL (Alex Shipman, 2022) is an experimental documentary using real testimonies from women on their experiences of being in night clubs, visualised through interpretive dance.

THE SEINE’S TEARS (Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Philippine Singer, Alice Letailleur, 2021) is set on 17 October 1961, when “Algerian workers” took to the streets of Paris to protest the mandatory curfew imposed by the Prefecture of Police.

Whore (film title)

Art and Performance
- The BFI Future Film Festival celebrates the wonders of artistic expression, but this creative instinct isn’t always as simple as putting pen to paper. These films explore the trials and tribulations of creating art, whether dealing with impenetrable institutions, imaginative blocks, or existential dread.

In MODEL OF LIFE (Sascha LO, 2022) an insecure life model is desperate to be someone’s muse. But when a budding artist chooses her for his latest subject, she is not pleased.

PACING THE POOL (Radheya Jegatheva, 2021) offers a glimpse into the extraordinary life of Richard Pace, who finds that healing waters have helped him rise above his physical and mental stresses.

PLEASE CLAP (Khalidah McLarty, 2022) follows Mikey the clown, who must confront the complex feelings he has regarding his persona after being fired from his job.

In STUNT TROUBLE (Kit Warner, 2022), a naive robot looking to break into the film industry encounters the formidable force of the ‘OCD-27’ stunt coordinator robot at an audition.

THE MURDERER (Joaquín García, 2021) sees a painter plunging into an intense and hasty introspection, which drives him to murder the cause of his creative plateau.

WHORE #4 (Florence Winter Hill, 2020) follows an Eastern European actress in London who struggles to come to terms with her casting bracket.

Two people in a car with a teddy bear in the back

Family and Friends
– Love them or hate them, our family and friends are the people we know best. These films spotlight our closest relationships, showing what happens when they break down but also how they can lift us back up. From the secrets we keep, to the lengths we’ll go to help our nearest and dearest.

BEING HUMAN (Klara Bond, 2021) follows eight people who, in various ways, have a connection. We get a glimpse into their inner thoughts – which can be heavy to carry alone.

BET FREDRICA (Daylen Oakes, 2022) finds Mary, a single mother, placing an all or nothing bet on the 2009 Grand National for her gifted daughter Millie.

BY HAND (Rhys Prichard, 2022) sees Oscar and his deaf sister Nia sent to visit their estranged father. Over the space of an afternoon the trio are ripped apart and brought back together in this film surrounding deafness in a family dynamic.

CLOSE YOUR EYES (Manon Bérardengo, Audrey Defonte, Léo Depoix, Denis Koessler, Clémentine Laurent, Pierre Guislain, Chloé Boursier, 2022) is a stunningly animated tale of a heavy secret and oblivious parents.

HOMEBIRD (Caleb J. Roberts, 2022) sees an emotionally reclusive father struggle to reconnect with his estranged gay son during a night at the seafront amusements.

UNDERBELLY (Edie Moles, 2022) takes a look at how one young man’s life is deeply affected by his sister’s lack of access to abortion.

Sad man looking out of a rusty white car

- These are films which examine the quirkier side of life, set in worlds similar to our own by perhaps a little different where it matters. From cross-dimensional cats and pizza deliveries, to dancing cleaners and malfunctioning phones, these comic stories are guaranteed to make you laugh.

CATASTROPHE (Mocong Yuan, 2022) is a reinterpretation of Schrödinger’s Cat and follows a curious feline on an interdimensional journey of discovery.

In EN-ROUTE (Daniel Daniel, 2021), things get Uber weird when a taxi app starts to glitch.

EVERYTHING MUST GO (Alisha Liu, 2022) is an animated documentary exploring the culture and people of American yard sales using real audio from around Los Angeles County.

In FLOOR 43 (Sophya Kebets, 2022), a cleaning lady practices her bossa nova moves during her usual late-night shift on a particularyl unusual night.

HUMANS ARE DUMBER WHEN CRAMMED UP TOGETHER (Laurène Fernandez, 2021) sees a collection of neighbours locked in their apartments. They tell us about the little troubles of community life.

INTERDIMENSIONAL PIZZA PUSHERS (Lije Morgan, 2020) follows Honeybear and Fishlips, who race through dimensions and animation styles to make their pizza deliveries on time.

A man is on his way to priesthood in PREACH MODERN (Lili Gensetter, 2022), but to the surprise of a documentary crew he knows nothing of the concept of celibacy.

VIOLENCE (Harry Plowden, 2022) follows a curious kid who gets in way too deep after entering the competition on a cereal box.

Man with quiff hair sitting at a drum kit

– Music is a universal constant, accompanying us through our lives as we routinely playlist our sorrows and our success. Making use of inventive sound design and thrilling soundtracks, this collection of films ask how our lives are transformed when lived through melodies.

AFTER CLOSING (Carley Byers, 2022) finds a waitress whisked into disco chaos as she tries to get a house full of eccentric customers to leave after the diner’s scheduled closing time.

In BLACK METAL (Riley Street, 2021), a young girl sneaks from the house to see a black metal band in concert, forcing her overly religious parents to follow.

DROP OUT (Ade Femzo, 2022) follows a struggling student who tells his strict African mother that he’s dropped out of school. When it doesn’t go well, he goes back in time to try again.

What if your dog had problems of their own? GOD KNOWS (Mone Frogg, 2022) is an absurd comedy about wanting to be loved, and not being able to help as a friend.

OPERA (Janelle Feng, 2022) sees a Peking Opera troupe performs in North America for the first time, with each member having different feelings about the upcoming concert.

THE AUDITION (David Hubbard, 2022) follows drummer Matty at the biggest audition of his life. He stands out like a sore thumb, before everyone’s voices are swapped with their instruments.

In THE BREAKUP ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Louis Norris, 2022), Jamie gets a voice note from his ex – their first communication in months. She's heard the album and she has some thoughts.

TIPPING POINT (Marta Vitola, 2022) is an experimental dance film exploring the cycles of pointless productivity, our reliance on resources and the need to self-realise.

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