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Striking Film Posters: ASFF Dramas

What makes a good movie poster? Is it the concept, the imagery, the font or everything combined? Clever and considered artwork can truly elevate a film. After all, it’s often the first way of communicating the narrative to an audience. Think of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time and often the poster springs to mind first – like artist Saul Bass’ indelible billboard for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. A silhouetted figure is caught in a vortex, swirling into the unknown. It’s unforgettable. We dig into the ASFF film library to analyse five shorts with captivating imagery.

Eggshelter | Raphaël Bluzet, 2020

The intriguingly-titled Eggshelter is written and directed by Raphaël Bluzet, with an uplifting score by Yovoh & Faubourg. Part-animation, part-live action, it tells the story of 10-year-old Hugo, who is raised by his grandfather – until both are arrested. The poster is an innovative mix of illustration and photography, as Florian Colas, who plays Hugo, is pictured looking up towards a tower block. The photo is topped by an egg-shaped horizon, suggesting the promise of the future.

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Fighter | Bugsy Steel, 2018

Some posters can say so much with a single image. Fighter, directed by Bugsy Riverbank-Steel, tells of a teenage boxer with Down’s Syndrome (Tommy Jessop) who is about to step in the ring – until forces beyond his control threaten to derail his right to fight. The poster is a close-up shot of Jessop, shrouded in black. Has he been in the ring? Has he triumphed? Is he still awaiting his chance? It’s hard to tell, but the image shows the grit and determination on the young protagonist’s face, perfectly encapsulating a film about overcoming ableism.

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Wild Horses | Rory Alexander Stewart, 2017

Emma Curtis gives an affecting performance in Wild Horses, a coming-of-age drama written and directed by Rory Alexander Stewart. She plays Joan, a teenager suffering from M.E. who is fighting for her independence from her mother (Emma Cater). Horses become a symbol of her desire for freedom – she even starts hallucinating about them. The poster smartly depicts a pensive-looking Joan, looking into the distance. Equine beasts circle her head, as if to sum up her conflicted state of mind.

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Night | Joosje Duk, 2017

Night follows a group of friends as they arrive in the city for an evening of fun. The drama, written and directed by Joosje Duk, sees Sue (Kelly McCready) and her cousin Genelva (Katherine Romans), who is visiting from abroad, hit the town with two friends (Genelva Krind, Rachel Hilson). Spiky micro-aggressions soon surface after an unpleasant encounter with a nightclub bouncer. The poster brilliantly sums up the short, with elements of the girls’ faces intermingle like frosted glass.

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I Was Still There When You Left Me | Marie McCourt, 2020

French-Danish director Marie McCourt’s short is inspired by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. I was still there when you left me tells the story of a young girl (Anaé Romnys) who is saved by a neighbour (Joël Bunganga) from a blaze. As their tower block burns, they take shelter in another apartment, finding solace in each other’s company. The poster shows the two actors hugging against a fire-coloured sky, suggesting the need for community, humanity and support in time of duress.

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Discover more short films from ASFF alumni directors on our film library.

Words: James Mottram