Powerful short films at Upstairs at the Ritzy
by Afroditi K. (follow her on Twitter: @foustoon)
I have been meaning to visit this alternative, independent venue in Brixton for a while now. Plus due to my monthly film column about London’s Free film screenings, I have been hearing all about those exciting stuff happening over at the Short Sighted Cinema space. It seemed there was no better opportunity for me to kill two birds with one stone than to attend a Short Sighted Cinema event: the Drugs edition at Ritzy Upstairs.
Upon arrival, Kate, Gem and Alexander (aka the Organisers!) were waiting for us in complete doctors’ attires distributing prescriptions and medication (but the kind that just satisfies your daily sugar intake and nothing more ;).
Lights went off and the screenings began! You can see an overview of the short films below but can I just say here that it was nothing like I expected (it sounds cliché and I hate clichés but it is 100% true). I expected lots of thinking (which did happen, it is such a serious topic it makes you think) but the atmosphere remained positive till the end. Hollow had such a sensitive storyline and I laughed my heart out with Minnie’s extraordinary story (watch the trailer).
Right after that, there was a Q&A session with the directors which is where all the fun started as it was an opportunity for the audience (me! me! me!) to ask questions freely on the art of short films and any topic really but also for the directors to talk to each other.
Below is a summary of the short films we watched and some random facts about them:
‘A Man Who Delivers’ by Jamie Jessett
A short documentary shaped around an interview with an anonymous drugdealer (known only as ‘Mr’) and a series of text messages from his clients.
‘Aroused – Tom Vek’ by Saam Farahmand
B&W portraits of people smoking acting upon the song
‘Hollow’ by Rob Sorrenti
Hollow is a sensitive observation about Alice and her partner, both addicts, who decide to have a family. It is exploring the idea that love isn’t always enough when it comes to getting clean and the inevitable sacrifice that comes with sobriety.
Random fact: Hollow is a self-funded short film of extremely low budget. Shooting took 4.5 days from beginning till the end and got everyone involved, even Rob’s mum who did all the cooking!
‘Disappoint You’ (Jargon V.A ft Tinie Tempah video) by Ian Pons Jewell
A cop goes off the rails in this entertaining music video for Jargon.
Random fact: Policeman’s eyes caused some sensation among the audience (hello Gollum!) and Ian described how he randomly followed the method described in a video he found online to create that effect successfully. You never know what might happen after watching a youtube video!
‘White’ by Dean Loxton
A struggling Hollywood actress has a sideline, working through the night to support her dream. Devised and filmed in a single evening while driving across Hollywood, ‘White’ is the epitome of Loxton’s series of improvised ‘Instant Film’.
Random fact: Everyone loved the soundtrack and obviously there was a funny story behind it. Dean met a guy on a train (as we all do) who happened to be a talented musician (Peter and the mountain). Peter produced this emotional soundtrack on the spot after watching the film only twice.
‘This Way Out’ by Staten Cousins-Roe
A dark British comedy about Minnie (Poppy Roe), the owner of a euthanasia centre, and her desperate attempts to keep it from closing.
Random fact: Katie (Poppy’s assistant on screen) met with Poppy and Staten for dinner. She casually mentioned euthanasia during the meal (wouldn’t you? such an easily digested subject!) and that’s how the idea for this film came up. They filmed the whole thing in their flat and forgot to remove the “Euthanasia Center” sign on their door for quite some time – creating a worrying mystery for their neighbours!
The team over at Short Sighted Cinema are ready for their next event on 22/04 back Upstairs at the Ritzy… Find them before they are LOST as they promise a night of exploring memory, mystery and misfortune!
See you there!
p.s All photographs taken by me (excuse the phone quality!). Thanks to Short Sighted Cinema team for having us over. It was a brilliant Tuesday evening and I cannot wait for the next one!
You may also want to check Kelly’s Tips for Cheap Cinema in London.