Next up was Jack King’s Geezer. the story of a lonely and reclusive man and his relationship with a young boy that also happens to be one of his neighbours. Gritty and sometimes uncomfortable viewing, King lays on a realist’s glare, leaving no place for escape. Shot harshly yet honestly, it is clear that King is a unique new talent and draws some very impressive performances from his cast. Of the selections in this category, Geezer was my own personal favourite, delivering a satisfying and completely convincing twenty-minute experience to the audience.
Pitched as a crossover between fiction and documentary, Concrete Sleep is truly an enigmatic hybrid. Told through the narration of its featured players, filmed in their own urban surroundings, this experience is very difficult to effectively pigeon-hole for the benefit of its potential audiences. More artform than storytelling, this student project is certainly inventive and original and as a calling card for the trio (!) of directors responsible, quite notable. You can thankfully view the film yourself, right here.
Arguably less artistic, but no less intriguing was the penultimate film on this shortlist, Piano And Soul, from
Thomas Mould. Inspired by the conversations he would have in his local pub with an aging, lonely man whilst he was still at university, Mould has created a grieving, angry man that seemingly has nothing to live for. At fifteen minutes, Mould’s movie doesn’t really have too much to say for itself but he nonetheless gets a great performance from Jeff Stewart, who plays Terry. Overall, the film may leave you a little cold, unable to engage with the characters as much as you may like.
Finally we come to the film that drew the most chuckles from the assembled audience. I’ll Be Here All Night is a nine-minute short from writer/director Andrew Parkhill, concerning itself with a pub singers’ both personal and professional problems which all seem to coalesce at the hands of a man who initally appears to be a force for good, at least when handling hecklers. Well-intentioned though he may be, however, it appears that he may just end up doing more harm than good. With some excellent performances and subtle attention to detail, this is was an absolute joy to see and the decision to keep the length of the project down to a minimum helped it achieve a good deal of the plaudits. In and out. Then off. An accomplished and simple piece of work that ended the programme on a suitable and deserved high.