Cell Adore Film Festival 2021 – Saturday Selection

This is an image of the Cell Adore Film Festival Official Selection 2021 logo. It is presented on a red and black background and is written in white text. The writing has two large white laurel leafs surrounding it on either side.

Returning after last year’s inaugural event, the Cell Adore Film Festival 2021 is here and it’s screening an official selection of eighteen short films for viewers to enjoy. This year’s festival runs from Friday 29th through until Sunday 31st of October. You can find out all the necessary information about the festival at the Cell Adore Film Festival WEBSITE and tickets for the event are available HERE. Read on to see our coverage of Saturday’s selection of films.



Leonardo

This is an image of two women sitting at a table sharing a meal. There is a dish with food in the middle of the table, a glass of wine, a salad bowl and salt and pepper shakers. Neither woman's face is visible in the picture as, instead the focus is on the two women's hands which one has resting on top of the other in a comforting manner.

Directed by Anthony Hett
Written by Anthony Hett

After winning both the Audience and Jury Prize awards for his touching short film Scrable last year, writer-director Anthony Hett returns to the Cell Adore Film Festival with his latest project Leonardo. With no way of burying their recently passed away pet tortoise, Linda (Donna Coulling) and Abi (Laura Hanna) must find another way to respectfully dispose of him. Hett’s new film manages to find the light-hearted comedy amongst a time of sadness and grief, something that many of us turn to when faced with similar circumstances. The subtle musical arrangement from composer Roma Yagnik complements the mood of the film well whilst never imposing over it. This allows Linda and Abi to engage in a heart-warming and contemplative dialogue with their conversations no doubt proving relatable for anyone who’s also suffered a loss. Hett’s film has a charming and realistic mixture of raw sorrow and joyful remembrance but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle references won’t be lost on audiences either, helping to bring some fun to this well-rounded short film.



Pizzaman

This is an image of an older man and woman. They are wearing aprons and glasses. The woman also has a large white chef's hat on. The man is holding a bowl of cheese. There are several pictures of a young boy hanging on the wall behind them and there is a plastic sheet covering the wall. The man has a manic expression on his face whilst the woman is looking down.

Directed by Katie McBrown and Rosalie Kicks
Written by Katie McBrown and Rosalie Kicks

As Pizzaman begins it’s not immediately obvious what kind of film it’s going to be, but what is certain is that audiences are in good hands thanks to the confident leading performances. The mysterious sounding score adds to the absurdity of the film and the fun of the performances well. Once the main plot becomes clear it’s quickly develops into quite a wild ride and abundantly shows the ambition of writer-director team Katie McBrown and Rosalie Kicks. Their attention to detail is noteworthy too, with clever production and set design leaving clues for the viewers about the context and trajectory of the current story. You’re unlikely to have seen anything like Pizzaman before and McBrown and Kicks have really shown the fun that’s possible with short filmmaking – who fancies pizza for dinner then?



Devour

This is an image from the short film Devour. It is a close up of a woman's mouth. There is what looks like a smear of blood on the left side of her lower lip and she has a her index finger resting on her chin below. It also looks to be smeared in blood.

Directed by Michaela Barton
Written by Michaela Barton

Coming in with a running time under the one minute mark Michaela Barton’s self described horror micro short film Devour is an uncomfortable, yet intimate experience. The spoken word in the film reads like a poem as the camera invades the performers personal space, exploring their bodies as the words go on. The film’s title and its visuals bare somewhat of a resemblance to Julia Ducournau’s 2016 directorial debut Raw, a similar type of narrative could be at work here but the interpretations will surely vary between viewers. The film’s haunting final stare will leave audiences hungry for more whilst they wonder just what the implications of this all consuming love really are.



Pressure Play

This is an image from the short film Pressure Play. It features a young man playing basketball. He is wearing a black and white vest and is looking towards a basket that is outside the frame of the image. The opposing basket can be seen in the background. He looks like he is concentrating and taking a breath.

Directed by Eric Bizzarri
Written by Tavish Gudgeon and Eric Bizzarri

Pressure Play stars Emidio Lopes as young student Fraser who’s forever dreamed of making it as a basketball player. Standing in his way are his fellow players all fighting for a spot on the team but maybe his biggest obstacle to overcome is the problematic Coach Riggs, played here by Andrew Bee. Eric Bizzarri’s short film has excellent production value and benefits from a large cast of characters and extras as well as on location shoots, making the basketball sequences convincing and engaging to watch. Pressure Play certainly rings true to its title capturing all the pressures of high school sports and its final moments are the most effective it manages – a short film slam dunk.



Farewell She Goes

This is an image from short film Farewell She Goes. It features two women with their backs to the camera walking side by side on a beach. They are in period clothing and the wind is catching the back of their robes filling them with air. A large cliff face can be seen in the background.

Directed by Sophie King
Written by Claire Tailyour

What’s immediately evident in Sophie King’s impressive Farewell She Goes is the attention to detail. It’s the lavish costume design paired with the strong hair and makeup which will first draw your attention, at once making the film’s period setting convincing. Furthermore, the on location shoot, feeling reminiscent of scenes from Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire adds another level of detail that would be unrivalled by a set or VFX work. The sound editing and score work in perfect harmony, at times muting the noise of the waves and wind to allow audiences a closer connection with the characters, who are brought to life wonderfully by Isabella Speaight and Cat White. However whilst all the impeccable details combine together to create a gorgeously crafted final product it’s the film’s poignant message of the women’s right to agency over their own bodies that becomes its finest achievement.



The Thing That Ate the Birds

This is an image from the short film The Thing That Ate the Birds. It features two men outside with grassy hills in the background. The man closest to the camera is middle aged and is holding a shotgun, he has it raised and is aiming at something out of frame. The second man is a younger man, he's standing to the side of the middle aged man and is looking at whatever the other man is aiming at.

Directed by Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair
Written by Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair

Writer-director team Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair return to the Cell Adore Film Festival after their short horror film Bill was screened as part of the official selection last year. They are staying with the horror genre for their latest project, The Thing That Ate the Birds and the results are quite astonishing. The film follows head gamekeeper Abel as he continues to discover his grouse savagely devoured by an unknown creature. His home life looks to be even more unsettled though with obvious tensions arising between him and his wife creating an unappealing atmosphere. This uncomfortableness carries through the film from the chilling title card reveal to the terrifying final moment before the credits role. Gitsham and Mair have crafted a genuinely frightening film, creating more scares that many of the genre’s blockbusters manage in a feature runtime. It’s a stunning short film that truly makes Gitsham and Mair essential names in the horror landscape of today.



Top Picks of the Day

1. The Thing That Ate the Birds (dir. Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair)

2. Farewell She Goes (dir. Sophie King)



Written by Hamish Calvert

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