Cell Adore is a brand new short film festival running from Fri 10th – Sun 12th April 2020. The festival is made up of fifteen short films, with five showing each day of the festival. All of the films will be available to watch online and you can register for your ticket now, just follow THIS LINK to sign up! We’ve been lucky enough to see the full programme of films and we’ve put together a review for each of them, read on to see what we thought.
Friday 10th April
Let Her Rip
Directed by Micky Wozny
Written by Micky Wozny
Never could one ever imagine a short animation about farting to be so prolific in terms of society and social expectations. When is it right to fart in public, if ever? Why is farting so frowned upon anyway? In Micky Wozny’s short animation, Let Her Rip, we are faced with the huge dilemma of farting in public, and its consequences. Superbly animated, it is of no exaggeration to champion Let Her Rip as one of the finest short animations of contemporary filmmaking. In fusing both multiplane stop motion (using plasticine) and 2D digitally drawn animation, the result is a skillful animation layered with precision. In this joyful experience, viewers will be bursting…with laughter.
Directed by Dan Gitsham & Sophie Mair
Written by Dan Gitsham & Sophie Mair
Bill proves horror can pack a punch without big budgets and jump-scares, as in about three minutes you’ll be left as open-mouthed as this film’s protagonist. In such a short amount of time the filmmakers and cast have you feeling shifted into their spiritual scenario; one of the occult and the dangers of wishing to communicate with those not of our living realm. Thanks to some creepy sound design Bill does a great job of keeping you interested and on the edge. It’s snappy and spooky; a mini movie revolving around a simple idea of a prop that shifts when looked at, but this aspect is utilised well and is never hammy or over-used and in fact it pays off nicely to an unexpected glass-crunching crescendo of ghoulish proportions.
Directed by Adam Thomas Wright & Tom Carty
Written by Adam Thomas Wright
Starring Tony Clarkin and Eastenders actor Todd Carty as a Father and Son, The Drive explores how their relationship is impacted by the father’s developing dementia. This short film has a touching story at its core, told in a thoughtful way. Anyone who has been through a similar situation will easily appreciate the sentiment here, and even for those who haven’t been affected this will be an emotional watch. The film’s opening credits play out like a feature film and the professional feel to the picture is only reinforced by the impressive casting of the experienced actors. However, the film is maybe most effective when the cast are saying nothing at all. The carefully placed silences throughout allow for audience contemplation and the stirring of emotions, a choice that demonstrates the creativity maturity of the youthful filmmakers behind the camera.
Only Looking Forward
Directed by Shaun Stone-Riley
Written by Shaun Stone-Riley
Is it a comedy? Is it an unintentional action film? Did it really happen? So many questions to be asked of Shaun Stone-Riley’s utterly epic Only Looking Forward. Adan Osborne leads the way as comedic and overly-confident, Paul, a potential bullsh*t artist. The story of recollection begins with the mesmerising and mysterious Jane (Niamh Headron)…vandalising the car of Paul, and then getting off! A series of recollections – both fact and fantasy – follow, leaving the viewer in concern and hysteria. Wonderfully written and edited to perfection, Shaun Stone-Riley successfully blends black comedy with mystery, whilst establishing a commentary on the male mindset on aggression and violence. Directed to perfection also, both Adan Osborne and Niamh Headron manage to adapt to the various situations in which their respective characters are thrown in, and do so with excellence.
Directed by Laurie Barraclough
Written by Frankie Meredith
After returning to her childhood home after a number of years Clem is reunited with her old step sister Clémentine, the pair reminisce about their childhoods but its clear that there is much to their relationship that’s been left unresolved. Laurie Barraclough’s short is shot like a feature film and this, along with its many other strengths really showcase Clementines potential to be just that – feature length. Frankie Meredith’s writing is well thought out, introducing characters gradually, teasing out the context and relationship between them. In doing so constantly provoking questions from the audience. The cast enhance this, demonstrating a chemistry and a history that gives this story and the characters within life beyond the parameters of the film’s running time. Brought together exquisitely by the beautiful music featured Clementines is a fully realised short just waiting to be given the feature length treatment.
Saturday 11th April
Directed by Ronald J. Wright
Written by Michael Bray
Ronald J. Wright’s short apocalyptic horror film sees a father dealing with and implementing a difficult decision that he’s come to in order to protect his family. Road Trip achieves a lot in its short running time, its title gives audiences some initial context but the film refuses to play all its cards straight away. It’s this level of intrigue that the film manages to sustain throughout much of its runtime that makes it such an engaging short film. At first it teases its narrative, not making everything completely clear or obvious but then when all is reveled it holds nothing back. This clever collaboration between writer and director ensures that Road Trip reaches its full narrative potential whilst still delivering plenty of apocalyptic action.
Directed by Micky Wozny
Some say we really don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. Maybe they’re right. Some of life’s most precious memories come from childhood – be it a special occasion, a favourite toy, or even a family pet. In the case of Max, the titular character is of the childhood best friend, the family dog. In animation form, created by sand, a short handful of memories are presented, both of Max and his human, only for the sands of time to transition from past to present. In taking only three days to make, Micky Wozny has managed to condense a childhood into a handful of beautiful and powerful animations. In having the animation in blue, there is an ambiance of calmness and coolness present, perfectly accompanying the wintery memories of snow and woodland. Short, but heartwarmingly sweet.
Directed by Harry Tye
Written by Harry Tye
A radioactive wasteland and snow-covered wood are the backdrops to this ten minute short about a doctors fight for survival and his search for an essential item needed to help his sick mother. The plot is more pressing due to the mother’s condition, a clever narrative decision, but the inclusion of flashbacks can feel jarring and the consistent voice over is maybe not the most engaging focus the film could have. Nonetheless, Percentile showcases the strong eye director Harry Tye has for cinematography, which is gorgeous throughout. The concept for the film is solid but due to cinema’s over-saturation of similar stories from this genre Percentile can fall victim to comparisons. Feature length stories like The Revenant spring to mind and with Percentile’s fish eating and winter punch ups it’s heading in the right direction but could have made a more lasting impact.
Directed by Emma Robson
Written by Jordan John
Witty, fun, and gloriously relevant. Lovebirds taps into the bizarre world of online dating by examining the wonders of the first date. Gary and Helen have spent months speaking online and have decided to take their relationship to the next level, they are finally going to see each other in person. However, for Gary this night doesn’t quite go as planned. With two excellent performances by Jordan John (Gary) and Mara Jacob (Helen) that audiences will find both entertaining and maybe painfully relatable. Lovebirds also reveals its director Emma Robson as an excellent storyteller with a bright future as she tells this quirky tale in a concise runtime that gives you all the good stuff and leaves you wanting more.
Directed by Anthony Hett
Written by Anthony Hett
Scrable is the beautiful and bittersweet final film in a trilogy of narratives focused on old age, dementia and loneliness. It tells the story of Salif, a middle-aged laundrette owner who worries that his only employee, 77-year-old Mary, may stop turning up for work one day. Scrable approaches its subject matter with such commendable sensitivity, triumphing the beauty of an unlikely friendship that relays an important message for the audience to take away. Bhasker Patel (Salif) and Gillian Daniels (Mary) bring this friendship to life, through a series of small conversations over cups of tea and a game of scrabble. Sit back and let this poignant little film pull on all your heartstrings.
Sunday 12th April
Directed by Jonathan Hawes
Written by Jonathan Hawes
Pete embraces its shorter runtime to plunge you straight into a mysterious scenario, with seemingly dark, satirical underpinnings. A couple is laying to rest their recently deceased pet, and are trying to decide the best place to bury him. Many will have gone through the struggle of losing a pet and having to bury them, although not like this, hopefully. Writer and director Jonathan Hawes controls the delivery of information and emotion very well to set it all up for his grand finale. Although dipping into this situation earlier than we do might have served the film better in order to really get the most out of it.
Out on a Limb
Directed by James Joel Dann
James Dann’s Out on a Limb tells the story of three men who are living proof that disabled people don’t have to be held back by any “limitations” that society unfairly places upon them. The short documentary concentrates on their journey to the Swiss Alps and their ability to remain adventurous. Out on A Limb epitomizes the phrase that “you can do anything you set your mind to”. We often get in the way of our own success because we think it’s not possible but the story of these three men will uplift you in ways you could never imagine, empowering you to believe that truly anything is possible. You’ll find yourself studying and analyzing your own potential, and that’s the beauty of this documentary.
When We Were Foxes
Directed by Anthony Hett
Written by Anthony Hett
Love and heartbreak unites us all, no matter where we come from or who we are. When We Were Foxes encapsulates the emotions one feels within these themes. This short film which is made up of a poem is symbolized through one fox’s broken heart as he follows his past lover around, who is now with a different fox. We see love and heartbreak play out in an abstract manner, but it comes together effortlessly. The subtle hand graze to the fox’s stance and posture illustrates the sentiment of the short film. Anthony Hett does a phenomenal job incorporating so many feelings within such a short running time, and while my only criticism is that I wish it was longer, we get all we could desire from the short film.
See You Again
Directed by Jayne Slater
Written by Jayne Slater
Regret is a terrible feeling to deal with. See You Again works to portray this feeling through the devastating story of a mother and her daughter. Society has been groomed to work nonstop, and it comes at the cost of sacrificing time with loved ones. See You Again strives to shed light on the regrets that can come with always putting your work first, and how it results in endless “what-if” moments. What if is a question most of us don’t want to ponder, but it is one that often defines our everyday life. See You Again will certainly break your heart, but in a manner in which it awakens a desire to not put things off for another day.
Directed by Lewis Coates
Written by Lewis Coates
The notion of trauma leading you to suppress memories; therefore altering your perception of past and present are executed greatly in this fifteen minute short. What works better than the dystopian-esque plot though is the visual style. The opening shot of a distorted complex, housing the work of a therapist, which mirrors the distorted trials of patient Leo, to the green and blue colour gels and psychedelic visuals like moving screen-savers. There is an impressive detail in building this uneasy calm of suggestion and confusion. Similar to Jordan Peele’s Get Out, the idea of losing your mind to a trip not entirely in your control, this film possesses its own “sunken place” of entrancing music, quivering lines like radio waves on the screen and forgotten locations as Leo hopes to piece together lost answers.
Written by Troy Balmayer, Ariba Bhuvad, Hamish Calvert, Conor Crooks & Dominic Hastings
Our Top Picks of the Festival
We had a great time watching and reviewing all of the featured films and want to offer our congratulations to all of the artists involved, this is a stellar collection of films. However, we really wanted to give a special mention to our favourites so below we’ve picked our three highlights of the festival.
3rd Place: Bill (dir. Dan Gitsham & Sophie Mair)
2nd Place: Out on a Limb (dir. James Joel Dann)
1st Place: Lovebirds (dir. Emma Robson)
Thank you to Cell Adore Film Festival for screening access and make sure that you sign up for your free ticket to watch all the short films, screening from Friday 10th – Sunday 12th of April