CREATIVE ENGLAND ANNOUNCE AMBITIONS FOR SECOND ROUND OF SHORT FILM INITIATIVE SHORTFLIX IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SKY AND THE NATIONAL YOUTH THEATRE

Plans to renew talent development and production programme revealed, alongside the successful final five SHORTFLIX films to be screened with Sky Arts.

Creative England today announced plans to continue their successful collaboration with leading young people’s theatre organisation NYT and global broadcaster Sky on the short film initiative SHORTFLIX. With applications due to open again this autumn, the programme will open its doors to the UK’s undiscovered and ambitious filmmaking talent from diverse backgrounds with a story to tell about their community, heritage and identity, giving them the opportunity to make their first short film.

SHORTFLIX will be open for applications to young people aged 18-25 who are not currently in full-time education, employment or training, as the programme addresses the issue of equal opportunities within the creative industries. It draws on the expertise, network and experience of leading industry experts and stakeholders to take a longlist of projects selected for development from initial idea to script or outline stage, leading to five original short films being selected for production and broadcast to UK audiences.

SHORTFLIX first launched in March 2017 and the five talented winners’ unique and personal projects will be made into short films for Sky Arts with a budget of £10,000 each. These include: Dior Clarke & Blain Ho-Shing with BATTY BOY, an uncompromising look at black gay culture in London; Abena Taylor-Smith’s film LADIES DAY, a warm-hearted story about a young black woman coming out against the backdrop of an Afro-Caribbean hair-shop in Sheffield; LOSING IT by Ben Robins, a pitch black sex-comedy; NOSEBLEED by Hollie Moore, an art-house psycho-drama about a toxic female friendship; and TOGETHER, THEY SMOKE by Henry Gale, a tragi-comedy set in Bath about coping with terminal illness in surprising ways. The five stories were chosen for their intensity and authenticity, and for the filmmakers’ compelling passion to tell them. All the films are based on or inspired by the personal experience of the filmmakers.

Following an open call to talent, with ambassadors Noel Clarke (Star Trek into Darkness, Adulthood, Kidulthood), Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Four Lions, Jason Bourne) and Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones, The Levelling, An Education), twenty-six participants underwent training and intensive development, gaining significant practical skills and experience. The next round of SHORTFLIX will aim to provide the same unique opportunities as young filmmakers underrepresented backgroundstake their first steps in the industry, telling stories that inspire them, affect them and in some cases, have shaped them personally.

Paul Ashton, Head of Film at Creative England, comments: “The sheer force of talent and engagement we have seen so far on SHORTFLIX has been humbling and inspiring, and has absolutely confirmed our belief that the talent is out there in unusual places, looking for the chance to realise what they know they have in them. We’re delighted to announce that we will continue this flourishing partnership with Sky and NYT. We strive to provide opportunities to those who otherwise may not have access to the industry, and with our partners we can’t wait to see the next wave of the unheard voices from across the UK wash over us.”

Paul Roseby, CEO and Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, says: “Shortflix is a game-changer for diverse young filmmakers and audiences alike. I hope this vital initiative receieves the greater support it deserves and needs to reach more talented diverse young people from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the industry.”

Philip Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts, said: “We're delighted to be continuing our partnership with the Creative England and the National Youth Theatre. Shortflix is a really important programme and a great way of giving people from diverse backgrounds the chance to tell incredible stories. We're excited about the first winners and look forward to broadcasting them on Sky Arts, as well as celebrating more talented young people's work with the second stage of the programme.”
SHORTFLIX 1 FINAL
BATTY BOY
An uncompromising take on black gay culture unmasked, set against homophobia and dancehall music. “They say burn them, we say salute them.”
London
Dior Clarke & Blain Ho-Shing
LADIES DAY
A young, black lesbian spends the day in an Afro-Caribbean hair salon, full of fun, sheen spray, gossip and laughter. But how will she deal with the casual homophobia?
Sheffield
Abena Taylor-Smith
LOSING IT
A twenty-something virgin finds his evening taking a turn for the weird, when his new partner shows off a rather unusual fetish. LOSING IT is the story of the worst drunken hook-up in the history of human sexual encounters.
Kent
Ben Robins
NOSEBLEED
It’s a pivotal week for long-time best friends Lilah and Coby, whose friendship is morphing into something far more venomous and toxic. A flower that once delicately bloomed proves to just as easily draw blood with its thorns.
South East London
Hollie Moore [aka Luna Carmoon]
TOGETHER, THEY SMOKE
Following a failed suicide attempt, a depressed young man must contend with the dysfunctions of his family, a cardboard coffin, and his own anxiety in order to say goodbye to his terminally ill mother.
Bath
Henry Gale