As another successful and varied Two Short Nights drew to a close, Claire Horrocks and Jonas Hawkins from Exeter Phoenix took to the stage to introduce this year’s bursary films.
This year included a new bursary commission, where the awardee was responsible for funding half of the shorts budget via crowd funding. This film was Host Familie and it kicked-off the premiere.
Directed by Torbay’s Tom Austin, Host Familie was greeted with much laughter by those in attendance, with its tale of Karl, a German exchange student whose host family from Torquay, are far from ‘normal’. It portrays Torquay with a tongue-in-cheek wink, suggesting there’s a secret community of swingers obsessed with booze, football and sex. Clearly Mr Austin has been a Bay resident for some time.
The next short was AHSHI directed by Harrison Willmott -think Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012) via Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979) and you’re somewhat close to picturing this film. Nicely shot.
The third film focused on The Bay again but in the documentary, Old, Grey and Fast, directed by Carrie Hill. This documented the life and career (briefly) of ex-professional cyclist, and Torbay resident, Colin Lewis. This was a touching film that wouldn’t have been out of place in Fresh Choices and Old Conclusions, very well shot, with a mixture of archive and new footage -Carrie Hill is certainly director to watch. This was without doubt my favourite of all the bursary films.
Gnomeland, directed by Francesca Jaynes, was an eccentric and amusing tale, one that is evocative of its region’s residents. Gnomeland is a uniquely Devon tourist attraction but there’s trouble in their midst’s, there’s a saboteur within their number and they need to be found pronto, before all the Gnomes are broken. Entertaining and amusing.
Bird Watching, directed by Leah Gouget-Levy, was about a young boy who is trying to classify a rare bird he discovers and while doing so he sparks a new friendship. Quirky and innocuous.
The festival’s final short was The Grendel Toots, directed by Liam O’hara. Based upon the mythical monster, Grendel Toots is about Grendel atoning for past sins and here we see him caring for the dying Paul -played by Paul Barber of Only Fools and Horses fame. This proved popular with the audience in attendance and the titles were certainly very swish.
And that concluded this year’s Two Short Nights, all that was left to do was present the awards. For more information on the shorts, checkout the festival’s website.