Now in its 16th edition, the IWM Short Film Festival, London, returns with nearly 40 shortlisted films that explore war, conflict and oppression through animation, documentary and narrative. Selected from almost 700 submissions from 78 different countries, this year the screenings are being divided into themes, addressing such issues as hope, displacement, sacrifice, trauma and fear. As Matt Lee, Director notes, the themed format “allows new and stimulating ways for audiences to engage with the topic matter”. Across the 10 days of free screenings at the IWM in November, which are all open to the public on a drop-in basis, visitors will also be encouraged to help decide the Audience Vote Award, which will be unveiled at the end of the festival.
With filmmakers in with a chance of having their film screened at Picturehouse cinemas, a further five awards are also on offer – including the Annie Dodds Award for Best Documentary and Best Student Film. To be decided by a panel of industry experts, including renowned producer Kevin Loader, these will be announced at a ceremony on 15 November, two days before the public screenings begin. Prizes include a paid three-month internship with October Films.
One of the featured awards, IWM Special Category: Age of Terror, also links into Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11, a major IWM exhibition that begins this October. Dealing with responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, over 40 contemporary British and international artists’ work will be on display. Using everything from film and photography to painting, prints and sculpture, those featured include Ai Weiwei, Grayson Perry and Gerhard Richter. Also welcoming a new patron, Lord Puttnam, the man behind such British classics as Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields, it suggests this year’s IWM will be the most eclectic and challenging yet. Alongside the short films, the festival promises that special evening events “will offer an insight into the challenges of documenting terror and a chance to experience hostile environment training”. Keep an eye on the festival’s website for more details.
The IWM Short Film Festival takes place at IWM London from 17 November to 26 November. For more details, visit: www.iwm.org.uk/film-festival
1. The Orange Story by Eugene Park and Erika Street Hopman.