Tackling themes such as homelessness, colourism and creeping urban decay, these shorts showcase the best talent among young UK filmmakersICA’s Playback Festival
Getting your start in the film industry is not an easy feat, especially if you’re a young artist with a very specific or niche vision. Yet by blending poetry, spoken word, dance and drama, the pool of talent on display at Playback’s national tour shows why it is important to spotlight the next generation.
Over 140 short films will make up this year’s UK-wide film exhibit. In collaboration with various media partners, Dazed being on of them, you can expect to immerse yourself in different worlds and landscapes in the interactive stories. Each film tackles a wide diversity of themes – be it is the dreary rubble of post-Brexit Britain, or the animated revenge of a giant, radioactive snail. Many of the featured artists – all of whom are between the age of 16-24 – have since gone onto forge independent careers in art, music, fashion and filmmaking following their selection.
Many of the featured artists – all of whom are between the age of 16-24 – have since gone on to forge independent careers in art, music, fashion and filmmaking following their selection. Following the exhibition’s opening at Modern Art Oxford, we’ve highlighted the work of six young filmmakers to look out for in the schedule.
BODY RITES – NAOMI BERRIO ALLEN
Naomi Berrio Allen’s Body Rites is a visceral documentation of violence, masculinity and threat, set among an opaque inner-city backdrop. Through contemporary dance and movement, Allen – who has already written and directed for the BBC – offers her individual take on the aggressive tribalism of young, angry males, in a way that is somehow both sprawling and unsettlingly claustrophobic.
CHECK THE LABEL – ENO MFON
While studying English Literature and Drama at the University of Bristol, Eno Mfon was told by a lecturer – in no uncertain terms – that there was “no space” to include black writers on the curriculum. Her response? She penned her own play instead, selling out the Bristol Old Vic. And that lecturer, who informed her that space was such an issue when it came to diversifying the course, paid to watch her perform it. That’d be a win. Check The Label, the short that preceded her play of the same name, demonstrates Mfon’s ability to craft intimate, personalised narratives. Through the relationship between two sisters, Mfon confronts colourism, skin bleaching and Eurocentric standards of beauty.
FAG – DANNI SPOONER
Dani Spooner’s experimental short is a “rebellious reflection on the cis-gendered society we exist in, with a quick wink and grin to political correctness ”, which exposes the hypocrisy behind conventions of beauty and acceptance. Featuring three, nameless characters dressed identically, Fag demonstrates how notions of individuality and personal expression are often found empty at the expense of the robotic collective.
DETRITUS – DION KITSON
The Britain depicted in Dion Kitson’s Detritus is crippled and obsolete, with Brexit’s spectral figure haunting the landscape just as much as the monotone, spoken word narration that decorates the film’s brief but memorable running time. Filmed in the artist’s hometown of Dudley, the short consists of a series of desolate snapshots and frames, while Kitson reels off on a stream-of-consciousness tangent. “Market stall, pitbull, still dull/universal scenes, high-street dreams/pushover, pushbikes”. Detritus indeed.
HEAVEN MUST BE MISSING AN ANGEL – ROSA GALVIN
In Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Rosa Galvin blends drama, dance and acrobatics in her take on themes of homelessness, pregnancy and religion. The director – who was nominated for an RTS Documentary Award in 2015 for Dope Boy – blends desolation with provocation in the three-and-a-half-minute short, which stars actress Abigail Lawrite alongside UK circus trio Barely Methodical Troupe.
CAPITAL OF THE C – SASKIA DIXIE
Capital of the C sees filmmaker and trained classical ballet dancer Saskia Dixie exploring the cyclical nature of power and hierarchical structures through movement and choreography. In a one-take, tightly constructed short, Dixie’s character plays voyeur as it ducks in and out of different group interactions. It all gets a bit meta at the end, too.
REACHING – SOPHIA YUET SEE
“I don’t like trying hard, it’s uncomfortable,” muses the speaker in Sophia Yuet See’s Reaching, a pensive maunder through feelings of longing, distance and discomfort. In her short film, the artist and co-creator of Sula Collective – an online magazine for and by people of colour – navigates through the city and one’s psyche in hazy tandem, resulting in an all-encompassing kind of detachment.
Find out what date the Playback tour will be coming to your are here