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5 ASFF Films for Winter

Christmas is just around the corner! What better way to light the fires of creative inspiration than delving into the ASFF library? We select five brilliant shorts from our collection for you to enjoy, ranging from fashion to animation and documentary. With works that will make you smile and make you think, all that remains is for you to get comfy and curl up with some of the most innovative films around.


Commissioned by Channel 4’s Random Acts, this documentary short by director Simon Lane acts as a stark warming about the climate emergency. The piece, commissioned by Channel 4’s Random Acts, focuses on two nearby Arctic mining towns: Kirkenes, Norway, and Nikel, Russia. The film explores both encroaching urbanity and the embattled natural world, where the snow-filled landscape is rapidly shifting. Cut to a poem by Laura Kirwan-Ashman and narrated by Adjoa Andoh, it’s both beautiful and frightening.

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Louboutin – The Holiday Countdown

Director Tiwirayi Magwenzi and C41 – a creative production company based in Amsterdam and Milan – bring real pizazz to this collaboration with luxury brand Christian Louboutin. Filmed like a retro TV show, there is a vintage mix of fun, festivities and frolics. It even comes with canned laughter and an audience full of (animated) gingerbread folk. As you might expect, there are plenty of lovely designer boots and shoes slipped into the work, but it’s a hugely innovative way to showcase the garments. Happy holidays!

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Lynx & Birds

“Once again nature has reveals to be just as beautiful as it is unpredictable,” says the solemn narrator in this delightful animation. Directed by Francesco Mazza (b. 1982) and Simone Giampaolo (b. 1989), and coming from the studio Blue Zoo, this colourful cartoon is done in the style of a David Attenborough-like nature documentary, as two little birds face not only the challenges of snowy weather but the attentions of a big cat. A very funny two minutes ensue, involving hairballs, hats and a lot of cuteness. You won’t find a sweeter animation all Christmas.

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The Last Supper

Alicia Macdonald’s 2019 comedy sees two disciples pitch a PR idea to Jesus, as he sits with them over the last supper. Halo aglow, Jesus stays silent while these chancers – played amusingly by Tom Blackwood and Alex Cooper – rattle on about his final day on Earth. “Tomorrow, you’re dead – but we’re thinking ‘Why don’t you come back to life again?’” says one, as they hit on a unique idea to follow his crucifixion. “Traditionally, people stay dead!” Filled with sharp lines and observations about the machine that is marketing, this is one very witty short.

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This may give you shivers, but Amanda Belantara’s experimental work is utterly mesmerising. Sonotoki explores the ephemeral yet recurring movements of life in Aomori City, Japan. Whether it’s in streets or country lanes, the static camera sits calmly as people, cars and wildlife pass by. As night falls, Belantara traces the steps of passers-by in the snow, evidence of human existence even in the most inhospitable of temperatures. A charming – if chilly – work.

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Watch great independent cinema from the festival. Head to the ASFF Film Library.

Words: James Mottram