Submission Countdown: Documentary

Jessica Bishopp brings her unique visual eye to non-fiction filmmaking with Wargames, a pocket-sized ode to the adrenaline-fuelled world of strategy model gaming.

Speaking with members of Britain’s longest-running Wargames group, Bishopp takes a deep dive into life on the scaled-down battlefield and the mentality behind the pastime, with fascinating psychological insight and commentary on how the game can in fact signify some of the strategy behind real-life war.

Blending her findings with cinematic sound design and camera movement to lend vitality to the actions of these tiny warriors and their foe, Bishopp implores people to revisit the game and see it as more than just a hobby, and rather a means for these longstanding players to find comradery amongst their friends while finding a means to blow off some much-needed steam.  It’s a charming, thought-provoking piece of filmmaking that like all good documentaries sets off on one foot and then takes a completely different direction entirely. 

The short film received a Vimeo Staff Pick before playing across several leading film festivals, including the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in 2019 as part of its documentary strand. ASFF – which returns for its 10th edition in 2020 – has expanded its non-fiction strand in recent to include feature films and a groundbreaking programme of interactive factual storytelling. At its heart however, remains a varied, insightful and expansive array of short-form documentaries like Bishopp’s that range from classic linear filmmaking to more visually experimental entries, all from a vast range of different countries. 

Submissions are now open for the 10th edition of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival. BAFTA-qualifying ASFF 2020 takes place from 4 – 8 November with an unrivalled programme of short films and immersive media showcases, networking opportunities, career development initiatives and interactive talks, Q&As and workshops. Submit your work here.