Our amazing selection of shorts for the 2020 festival. We love short films and think they are a perfect format for science fiction themes.
Each year we receive hundreds of excellent films and it is a difficult task to decide what to select for our shorts programme. A little like DJing, we want to get the mix right and take you on a fantastic journey – we feel we have it right this year with a remarkable range of styles and ideas from around the world.
We have 30+ shorts at the festival this year and you can watch them all for the price of one ticket. Just £5.00 gets you a ticket that will let you watch them anytime during the festival run. Just come back to the shorts page and enter your password in the player.
|A MODERN MAGICIAN
(Dir: Mark Heller, United Kingdom, English, 11 mins.)
Not all great minds think alike... A Modern Magician is a supernatural black comedy that follows Jim; an odd young man with unusual pastimes as he meets up with the love of his life.
|ADAM & EVE MK II
(Dir: Sebastian Kuder, United Kingdom, English, 4 mins.)
In a post-apocalyptic future, human memories from the now-extinct species homo sapiens are loaded into the artificial brain of a robot.
(Dir: Ryan Turner, United States, English, 10 mins.)
A troubled young woman tests out a new app that lets her control when and how she feels emotions.
(Dir: Tulsi Shivaanand, United Kingdom, Chinese, English, 12 mins.)
BROTHER is a tale about fear, family, and the struggles of living in an unfamiliar land. Inspired by the Chinese folklore of the Baku, the film follows the story of brother’s Li Cheng and Zhe Hao as they try to get by in the UK. Their fractured relationship means Zhe Hao is unable to lean on Li Cheng for support and so to stop his nightmares he calls upon the dream eating Baku.
|BUGS & NIXON
(Dir: Jackson Lowen, United States, English, 7 mins.)
Two government agents don playful costumes in order to trick a powerful child-like psychic into thinking they mean him no harm. In reality, he's too dangerous to be kept alive.
(Dir: Lewis Peake, United Kingdom, English, 7 mins.)
N-CORP are deep in the midst of their sinister bio-tech experiments. Enter the next test subject - Volunteer 22. Forced to do painstaking tasks, V22 must complete seemingly arbitrary challenges with his special power, a side effect brought on from the genetic enhancements inflicted upon him. V22 must obey his orders or else he receives 'guidance' via an electrical device surgically attached to his head.
|CIRCLE OF STONE
(Dir: Mark Andrews, United States, English, 19 mins.)
When rural cops respond to a call for help from one of their own, their search through the woods reveals what happened to a young girl stolen away sixty years before. They find themselves stuck in a supernatural world with their only escape to fight their way out.
(Dir: James Copplestone Farmer, Qatar, English, 11 mins.)
In a future global water shortage, a lone private Astronaut is sent to the Moon to search for the valuable commodity. With his life resources running out, Captain Cain Jarvis tries to make sense of the chain of events that have led humanity to this situation, and what to do with the water if he were even to find it.
|DEUS OTIOSUS (THE ILDE GOD)
(Dir: Mat Braddy, United Kingdom, English, 17mins.)
In an iron-age society, Bryana, a pregnant hunter, loses her husband to pestilence. Exiled from home, she hunts for a hermit believed to have magic and demands to know why he does nothing to help. Unfortunately this god has been far from idle.
(Dir: Sofian Khan, United States, English, 15 mins.)
It isn't easy being single in a future society on the verge of technological singularity.
(Dir: Luca Zuberbühler, Belgium, French, 9mins.)
An old theatre is about to be demolished. A construction worker enters the crumbling building to check if there is anyone left inside. In his search, he strays into a mystical, fragile world until he finds himself in the face of the theater's core.
(Dir: Günter Heinzel, Germany, English, 9 mins.)
A rainy night. A young couple, fast asleep after a one-night stand. An unknown caller wakes him up. Threatening to kill him if he doesn't leave at once. He ignores the menace only to learn afterwards, that it's for real and that he won't be the first one to be killed.
(Dir: Tate Young, Canada, English, 13 mins.)
A businesswoman struggles to navigate her increasingly alienating world, disconnected from her work, colleagues, and husband. Lost in grief, can she find a connection amidst the chaos? A spellbinding, visually surprising drama of modern inner life, told using the expansive metaphors of outer space.
|I'LL BE BACK TOMORROW
(Dir: The Summers Brothers, USA, English, 5mins.)
After his partner is woken by an eerie nightmare, a man agrees to investigate a strange noise in their new house. It’s probably nothing.
(Dir: Peter Chownsmith, United Kingdom, English, 3 mins.)
A man finds himself in a surreal landscape and starts his quest in search of meaning.
(Dir: Tom Cozens, United Kingdom, English, 12 mins.)
Elijah is (perhaps the only one) immune to the virus that emptied the world. The only hope he has of seeing other people is the mysterious ‘beacon’; but after getting lost in a storm trying to reach it, he resigns himself to a life alone. Elijah tries to create meaning for himself by attempting to grow plants. When these attempts inevitably fail he once again faces the storms, discovering that his miraculous immunity was perhaps a reflection of the divine within himself.
|LOGAN LEE & THE RISE OF THE PURPLE DAWN
(Dir: Raymond C. Lai, United States, English, 8 mins.)
Turntablist Logan Lee is in love with his best friend, Beatrice Pan, and tonight, she's throwing a party! That means DJ Logan's Fun is in the HOUSE! Now if only he wasn't so nervous. But not to fear, Auntie Bobbie is here with some of the rarest weed she's ever laid lungs on, Purple Dawn. Unfortunately, Logan soon discovers there's much more to this strain than its soothing effects.
(Dir: Razan Takash, United Arab Emirates, English, 13 mins.)
Cybele, a salesperson working for Ex-Nihilo Robotics, is preparing the latest gadgets the Home Robotics Expo. But the tech team in charge of setting up a prototype are going to be massively delayed. Cybele is going to have to set up the prototype herself, something she’s not done before. The prototype, M1DAS, is an android child designed to adapt perfectly to a parent’s preferences. With a handbook, her laptop, and a connection to HQ, setting up little MIDAS, should be a piece of cake.
(Dir: Geoffrey Uloth, Canada, English, 21mins.)
Brutally attacked by three masked men on Halloween night, a homeless girl faces her worst nightmare... until time stops... and she meets two mysterious strangers who can't save her, but might help her save herself.
(Dir: Azhur Saleem, United Kingdom, English, 13 mins.)
An artist turns to his android muse for help when trying to sell his newest paintings, but events take a dark and disturbing turn when the android learns what has inspired the work.
(Dir: Talia Shea Levin, United States, English, 8 mins.)
On the way back from a road trip, a woman tries to save her doomed relationship by stopping at a roadside attraction that promises time travel.
(Dir: Silvia Conesa, Spain, Spanish, 11 mins.)
Year 2065. Charly is a gray man in a world without hope dominated by large corporations, where everything has a price, even to rest without being besieged by publicity. Charly habitually sleep in an old holographic booth, POLVOTRÓN 500, where you arrange so that nobody bothers. One night he accidentally activated the resident sexual hologram, «Niky», without knowing that it is a new model with improved quantum intelligence.
(Dir: James Button, United Kingdom, English, 10 mins.)
Struggling with a quarter-life crisis, Jess feels like there is no one in the world she can talk to. That is when a smiling stranger, claiming to be an alien, turns up at her window asking for a tour guide for his intergalactic holiday in Wales.
(Dir: Dries Vergauwe, Belgium, English, 15 mins.)
It’s the third year of a pandemic and the worst winter in decades. Those who can afford it stay inside, those who can’t collect the dead.
(Dir: Justin Daering, United States, English, 29 mins.)
When a blue-collar man is forcibly implanted with his alien boss's parasitic offspring, he asks his wife to help him remove the parasite -- a dangerous and illegal operation that puts their marriage -- and their lives -- at risk..
(Dir: Keren Chernizon Germany, English, 3mins.)
Samantha is having a difficult day until she receives a surprising call.
|SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE
(Dir: Robert Summers, United States, English, 10mins.)
Through a series of dreams and visions, a woman begins to suspect reality has been altered by mysterious forces.
(Dir: Colin Levy, United States, English, 10 mins.)
When two outcast teens hack into a ubiquitous drone delivery system to pull a prank on their neighbor, they accidentally crash-land a dangerous prototype – and find themselves entangled in a life-and-death conspiracy.
(Dir: Faye Jackson, United Kingdom, , 15 mins.)
Esther and Miriam are being forcibly deported from the UK to Jamaica, when there's an outbreak of a deadly virus that makes you feel calm and only kills white people.
(Dir: Tim Rush, United States, English, 11 mins.)
A young woman wakes in a frozen wasteland. Searching for her lost co-pilot, on the run from a totalitarian regime, she discovers a world with many secrets lying beneath its surface. Along the way, she must face the darkness and find her voice if she hopes to survive.
(Dir: Marco Hülser Germany, English/German, 23mins.)
Scientists in Germany and around the world are trying to get a grip on the problem of space debris, which is threatening everyday life as we know it today. (Documentary: Stranger > Fiction Strand)
(Dir: LIU YIXUAN, JIN LILAI, SHEN LEYI, China, Chinese/Eng Subs, 4 mins.)
Down in the tube station at midnight? Not quite, but this cute student film from China has some nasty little robots to offer.
(Dir: Sam Ainsworth, United Kingdom, English, 14 mins.)
When a workaholic city trader attends a VR property viewing organised by his stay-at-home partner, a chance meeting with the property’s architect offers them a solution that could satisfy their every need.
(Dir: Carl Firth, Australia, English, 15 mins.)
If you had the chance to live forever, would you take it? A man who wants to overcome death learns the secret of immortality, but comes to regret his decision when he discovers that eventually, everything dies - everything except him. The Immortal takes you from the present day to the end of the universe in fifteen minutes.
|THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
(Dir: April Phillips, New Zealand, English, 19 mins.)
TV news reporter, Annie covered the exciting story of “Evolution 2”; the vaccine that promised to eradicate all birth defects. Now, in the aftermath of a resultant global pandemic, Annie is a sole survivor and shelters in the old television studio, broadcasting a desperate message in the hope of finding other survivors.
(Dir: Sean Peter Sakamoto, United States, English, 12 mins.)
Two men sit across from each other in a bunker. Their sons were killed that day at their wedding. Gary believes they should be outside, fighting the militias that have laid siege to their town. Robert argues that there was never a good time to take up arms, and now it’s way too late. As mortars draw ever closer, the two bond over the memory of their sons and remember how they sweet they were in the moments before they died.
|THE SECOND HEARING
(Dir: Stuart Black, Nick Mather, United Kingdom, English, 12 mins.)
A futuristic prison. A broken prisoner. The AI that runs the institution summons Graham from his cell to face a parole hearing where he will have to re-enact his crime. Can he make it through the test without any re-offence? A tale of sex, death and vindictive algorithms.
(Dir: Christopher McGill, United Kingdom, English, 16 mins.)
Set in the UK just a few years from now. The country is unravelling and a massive leaning toward the right has allowed successive governments to bring in increasingly draconian policies. The internet is now militantly controlled and, as a result, has driven audiences toward the now state run TV network where they will be fed politically laced propaganda. The jewel in the crown of the network’s schedule is THE SNATCHER.
(Dir: Kosta Nikas, Australia, English, 15 mins.)
After a long time abroad, a man returns to his country only to find a society where citizens police each other with their mobile phones and where there is more freedom inside prison rather than outside it. Desperate, but unable to escape, the brave act of one woman gives him his freedom.
|WE CHOOSE TO GO
(Dir: Marlene Emilia Rios, United Kingdom, English, 15 mins.)
When Angie awakens from cryosleep on board the Horizon, she notices something seems a bit…off. She soon discovers her crewmates have died in their sleep, and the food on board the ship is beyond expired. As she explores, she discovers that the ship has endured 60 years of directionless drift. As Angie tries to overcome the fatal scenario she’s found herself in, she reflects back on the life she gave up on Earth in pursuit of this mission.
(Dir: Tommie Geraedts, Netherlands, Dutch, 7 mins.)
When the slightly naïve Ronnie gives up a tad too much personal information during verification questions on his computer, he receives a fully customised invitation from his OS in return. After accepting the offer his OS takes over his computer, forcing Ronnie to do everything in his power to keep his dark desires a secret for his approaching girlfriend.