Spring Viewing: ASFF Alumni Films
This Spring, treat yourself with some wonderful shorts written and directed by our ASFF alumni. With so many platforms now offering you the chance to revisit or become acquainted with these films, here is a guide to where you can find some of our favourite works from some of our favourite directors.
Music, tech, film and culture are at the epicentre of South By Southwest, one of America’s most cultured festivals. It’s where Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All At Once was launched last year, and the latest edition includes British director Jon Baird’s Tetris, with Taron Egerton. You can also find Sparsh Ahuja and Omi Gupta’s Birdsong. The 2022 ASFF X Audible Listening Pitch winning work explores the dying whistling traditions of the Hmong people of northern Laos, whose sonic exchanges straddle the boundary between music and speech. Running from 10-19 March.
On Channel 4’s streaming platform All4, there a whole manner of delights, including the BAFTA longlisted Iris Prize-winner A Fox in the Night, which played at ASFF 2022. Written and directed by Keeran Anwar Blessie, this South London-set tale stars Blessie as the flamboyant Lewis, who has a surprising encounter with a drug-dealer he’s never met. Also streaming is Morning Song, a short film about the perils of parenthood from director Bijan Sheibani. Starring Scarlett Brookes, its an affecting look at what happens when a young mother suffers from postpartum depression.
Vimeo Staff Picks
The always-excellent Vimeo platform showcases many great shorts, including two works that played at ASFF 2022. Written and directed by Remy Bazerque, Leave To Remain stars Bamshad Abedi-Amin in a powerfully, anarchic drama about the fallout after an Iranian father, Karim, who is living in the UK, is mistakenly threatened with deportation. Also on Vimeo’s Staff Picks is the outstanding award-winning animation The Seine’s Tears, a 3D short inspired by an event in 1961, when Algerian protestors clashed with French police in Paris. There is something for everyone here.
Guardian Documentaries has been responsible for some of the best non-fiction shorts around. Amongst those that played at ASFF include BAFTA award-winner The Black Cop, a docu-drama from Cherish Oteka about a police officer who was both a victim and perpetrator of racism in the police force. Another hugely important film is Ed Perkins’ Black Sheep, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2019, and won Best Documentary and Best of the Festival at ASFF in 2018. It tells the stirring tale of Cornelius Walker, a young boy who lives close by to murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor.
ASFF Film Library
The ASFF film library has a wealth of shorts to enjoy from our hugely talented alumni, spanning all genres from animation to dance, thriller and advertising. Recent additions include the sharply-scripted Tell Me Something I Don’t Know from director Neal Mulani about Cary (played by Mulani), a birthday boy who gathers his friends to tell him what they hate about him. In the documentary strand, you’ll find the fascinating Night Ride, by Todd Karehana, in which the director addresses concerns about his mother’s penchant for caring for stray cats in their old family home.
Words: James Mottram
1. Black Sheep, dir. Ed Perkin (2018)
2. Birdsong, dir. Sparsh Ahuja and Omi Gupta (2022)
3. A Fox in the Night, dir. Keeran Anwar Blessie (2022)
4. The Seine’s Tears, dir. Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Alice Letailleur, Nicolas Mayeur, Étienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Philippine Singer, Lisa Vicente, (2021)
5. The Black Cop, dir. Cherish Oteka, (2021)
6.Tell Me Something I Don’t Know , dir. Neal Mulani, (2022)