Stars from film and TV gathered to celebrate the TriForce Short Film Festival (TFSFF), which recognises and supports diverse talent and champions inclusivity.
Film and TV director Gurinder Chadha (Beecham House, Bend It Like Beckham, Blinded by the Light) was joined by O.T. Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale), former Strictly Come Dancing star Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City), Kellie Shirley (In The Long Run, EastEnders) Amanda Mealing (Casualty), Fola Evans-Akingbola (Siren, Black Mirror) and Elarica Johnson (A Discovery of Witches). The Awards were hosted by TriForce Creative Network Founders Jimmy Akingbola (In The Long Run, Cheat, Arrow), Fraser Ayres (Coronation Street) and TCN COO Minnie Ayres.
The Awards were created by the TriForce Creative Network, which aims to readdress the balance of diverse professionals on and off screen in the film and TV industries, as a platform for new and emerging filmmakers to be introduced into the film and TV industry through showcasing their short films. The Festival provides a vital opportunity for underrepresented talent, helping them to access opportunities to further their careers. This year TFSFF showcased the diverse range of filmmaking talent with a high number of BAME and female producers, directors, cast and crew across all the shortlisted films. Building on last year’s gender balanced selections, over 60% of the 16 shortlisted films screened are directed by women, with half of the films having been made by BAME filmmakers.
The star-studded event held at BFI Southbank revealed the winners, which were judged by an esteemed panel including Idris Elba and Gurinder Chadha, at an evening Gala and Awards ceremony.
Winning the Best of the Fest Award and the award for Best Non-Scripted short film was Waves by Jessie Ayles. The short film was recognised for its beautiful cinematography alongside the shocking first-person account of three young girls growing up in one of South Africa's most violent communities.
The Audience Choice Award, voted by the audience on the night, went to Grandma's 80th Surprise directed by actor Fola Evans-Akingbola, who is normally seen in front of camera in sci-fi drama Sirens. The short film told the story of a newly in love respectful young man who is forced to confront his family's rigid traditions as he seeks the approval of the family matriarch, his formidable 80-year-old Grandmother.
Judge Idris Elba, whose credits include Luther, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Marvel’s Avengers franchise, said; “It’s an honour to be part of the TriForce Short Film Festival judging panel. There is a crucial need in the UK film and TV industry to include voices from every walk of life to ensure our community is one of inclusivity, which is why this festival is so important.”
Minnie Ayres, COO of TriForce Creative Network, said: “It's been an exciting year with the move to BFI Southbank helping us offer a bigger day time programme to support emerging filmmakers. Our judging panel agreed this year's winning films were hugely compelling and original stories. It's been an honour to have such a high-profile judging panel, and we can't wait to get started on next year's festival!"
Ahead of the evening gala, TFSFF welcomed the public for a day of filmmaking workshops, where aspiring filmmakers had the opportunity to watch the shortlisted films, be inspired by Q&As with filmmakers and industry professionals, and take part in practical filmmaking workshops.
TFSFF boasts a wealth of high profile patrons which include; writer, director and actor Kathy Burke, The Walking Dead star David Morrissey, Broadchurch’s Marianne Jean Baptiste, actor David Oyelowo (Selma), actress Kacey Ainsworth, (Grantchester), producer Hilary Bevan Jones (The Escape Artist), Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), actor, writer and director Noel Clarke (Bulletproof), Nicholas Pinnock (Marcella), Zawe Ashton (Wanderlust) and award-winning playwright Roy Williams OBE.