Film Studies Students Curate ‘Best Short Films of the Year’ Competition


Film Studies Students Curate ‘Best Short Films of the Year’ Competition

Audiences Invited to Watch, Judge and Decide!

National Film and Television School Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA students have applied their specialist skills to curate the upcoming ‘Best Short Films of the Year’ competition with ODEON (places are still available for this exciting MA course starting end January 2017 – more information on how to apply here). The competition takes place on January 17th 2017 at 8pm in 16 ODEON cinemas across the UK, to showcase the next generation of talented filmmakers and comprises a selection of seven NFTS students’ short films, the majority of which have won or been nominated for major awards.

The live action and animation films will be simultaneously screened in the 16 ODEON cinemas (see full list of locations below). Audiences will be asked to get involved and ‘watch, judge and decide’ to pick their favourite film.

The Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA is delivered in partnership with the BFI to prepare students to build successful careers in film exhibition, programming, criticism or archival work. Curating programmes such as the ‘Best Short Films of the Year’ competition is just one example of the broad range of curatorial and critical skills that the students learn. The running order chosen is as follows:

Sweet Maddie Stone (Fiction: Director/ Co-writer, Brady Hood; Producer, Jake Riley-Hunte)

15-year-old Maddie Stone rules her school yard under the protection of her family name. But after discovering her notorious father has been arrested, she has to make his bail money or lose the yard. The more Maddie fights, the more her world spirals out of control – and the closer she gets to becoming the man she’s trying to save.

Fishwitch (Animation: Director, Adrienne Dowling; Producer, Helene Sifre)

Tooega is a witch who ekes out an isolated existence on an iceberg. It’s a miserable lot, and in Tootega’s case, misery hates company! Derek is a merman – more fish than man really – who spends his days joyously rollicking around the ocean, oblivious to the fact that his dreadful singing is the very reason he remains friendless. Fishwitch is the story of what happens when these two unlikely characters come together…

Ferris & The Fancy Pigeon (Documentary: Director/ Writer, James Gardner; Producer, Helene Sifre)

When Ferris, a teenage boy with a passion for fancy pigeons, leaves school, his father finds him a job at the local factory. Ferris goes along with his father’s plan until the day the school bully he thought he’d left behind confronts him. Ferris abandons his post and the punishment his father exercises forces Ferris to finally face up to some difficult home truths.

A Love Story (Animation: Director, Anushka Naanayakkara, Producer, Khaled Gad)

Two creatures fall in love, weaving a colourful world together. But when darkness threatens to consume one of them, the other must fight to stay together, or risk being torn apart. 

Present (Fiction: Director & Co-Writer, Meg Campbell; Producer Ser En Low)

With her sister slowly succumbing to early-onset Alzheimer’s, Beth struggles to balance her responsibilities as a carer and a mother, whilst dealing with her own fear of developing the genetic disease.

The Alan Dimension (Animation: Director & Co-writer, Jac Clinch; Producer, Millie Marsh)

The divine gift of precognition has been bestowed to a human. That human…is Alan. But Alan’s gift isn’t all it’s cracked up to be - he can barely foresee what’s for breakfast. And now the only person on earth who understands Alan is packing her bags to leave – Wendy has had enough of being married to ‘mankind’s next step in cognitive evolution’. Will Alan realise in time that seeing the future has blinded him to his present?

Patriot (Fiction: Director/ Writer, Eva Riley; Producer, Michelangelo Fano)

Hannah loves her Dad and always wants to be seen next to him. But during the preparations for an anti-immigration protest at her house she is pushed out, being seen as too young. Hannah meets a teenage Romany boy and does her best to push him away but the boy won’t leave her alone, leading to consequences which turn her world upside down.

Commenting on how they devised the programme, MA student, Roberto Gonzalez said: “We considered the themes dealt with by the films and decided to start with Sweet Maddie Stone, which deals with social issues and adolescence. We followed with FishWitch, which portrays the same theme of outcasts through an animated/fantasy prism, while Ferris and the Fancy Pigeon continues the outcast theme to a degree. A Love Story offers a sort of ‘break’ before transitioning into Present, which deals with the serious subject of dementia, and then followed that with The Alan Dimension, which also deals with the psyche but in a more uplifting way. Patriot was chosen to round out the programme as it deals with similar social issues to Sweet Maddie Stone leaving the audience with a powerful message.

This is the first time that these films have been shown to the general public and ODEON is the only major European cinema chain to support new filmmakers in this way. A specially commissioned trailer* will be shown at ODEON cinemas across the UK from Monday 21st November featuring a voiceover by Ashton Smith whose voice is synonymous with global feature film campaigns from the likes of Fox and Sony.

The competition is part of a partnership between the NFTS and ODEON, which has become the School’s first platinum cinema sponsor. ODEON is working with the school’s Board, tutors and students to support the school in a wide variety of new initiatives including an annual student scholarship.

Tickets are on sale now on the Odeon website where you can also watch the trailer.

The Odeon cinema screenings will be held in these locations:

Birmingham New St.




London, Panton Street

Edinburgh Lothian Rd

Glasgow Quay


Liverpool One

Manchester Printworks

Milton Keynes Stadium

Newcastle Silverlinks  





*NFTS Trailer Credits:

Duncan Bruce, Editor (NFTS graduate)

Steven Boneham, Producer

Anna MacDonald, Cinematography (NFTS student)

Stuart Earl, Composer (NFTS graduate)

Ashton Smith, VO Artiste