Stars from film and TV gathered to celebrate this year’s recipients of the TriForce Short Film Festival (TFSFF), which recognises and supports diverse talent and champions inclusivity. The star-studded event held at BAFTA revealed the Best of the Fest winner at an evening Gala and Awards ceremony.
Bulletproof star Ashley Walters was joined by Zackary Momoh (A United Kingdom, No Offence), former Strictly Come Dancing star Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City), Leonie Elliott (Call The Midwife), Crystal Yu (Casualty), Lauren Drummond (Holby, Riverdale), Vanessa Hehir (Waterloo Road), Louis Payne (Wolfblood), singer Jermain Jackman, comedian London Hughes and Ellen Thomas (EastEnders, In The Long Run), on the red-carpet at the festival’s gala event, where filmmaker Christiana Ebohon-Green’s Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote was awarded the prestigious Best of the Fest prize. The Awards were hosted by TriForce Creative Network Founders Jimmy Akingbola (Arrow, In The Long Run), Fraser Ayres (Coronation Street) and TCN COO Minnie Ayres.
The Festival, now in its seventh year and hosted by Triforce Creative Network, helps filmmakers access opportunities to further their careers and showcases 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, and 11 out of the 16 directors come from a BAME background.
Over 700 entries were submitted to a panel of judges, which included director and writer Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill), actor David Gyasi (Interstellar, Troy: Fall of A City), producer Nadine Marsh Edwards (Been So Long), Shiver Creative Director Ana de Moraes, BFI curator and TV presenter/ journalist Danny Leigh, agent Lola Williams, Shorts TV’s VP of Acquisitions Simon Young and Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE.
The 16 shortlisted films showcased a range of genres and topics, including traditional documentary, comedy and sci-fi, covering everything from politics, LGTBQ, family and love stories, and were submitted by filmmakers from across the UK and internationally with entries also coming from Mexico and USA. The short films were screened across the day to an audience of peers and key industry representatives.
Winning the Best of the Fest Award Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote was recognised for its startlingly original story of a girl who starts to speak in Shakespearean quotes to tackle the trauma of her parent’s separation. The film starred Sir Lenny Henry, Wunmi Mosaku and Colin Salmon and was directed by Londoner Christiana Ebohon-Green, whose credits include EastEnders, Holby City and Call the Midwife. The prize included a £1000 cash, the chance to pitch to Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE for funding and mentoring for her next short film, and £1000 worth of equipment hire from Video Europe.
Rosie Baldwin’s Letters to Britain scooped the Best Non-Scripted Award. The short film witnesses a group of people aged between 80-100 write letters to the younger generation of Britons today. Having lived through pivotal moments in British history, they use their own experiences to reveal insights on life, and pass on advice about how to deal with the current difficulties facing today’s fast moving and increasingly divided society. Baldwin won a £500 cash prize as well as the opportunity to meet with Shiver Creative Director Ana de Moraes following the festival for advice and guidance on her career.
The Audience Choice Award, voted by the audience on the night, went to Haven by Kelly Fyffe Edwards, about a young girls’ bonding experience with her mother. The Audience Choice Award winner took home a £250 cash prize as well as mentoring from the team at TriForce Creative Network.
The winner of the Williams-Byrne Bursary of £1000 was Richard Prendergast’s Sylvia, based on a true story about a loving family on what seems like a carefree family outing. However, it gradually becomes clear that this isn’t a family outing after all, and that their destination isn’t a happy one.
For the first time this year, TFSFF hosted a new pitching competition for filmmakers, Pitch It! which was supported by partner Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE. The competition saw ten filmmakers, selected from over 300 submissions, pitch live at the event to win the chance to secure up to £10k funding per film. Proving the high-quality of the final films, TriForce and Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE have committed to supporting all ten finalist filmmakers through funding and development.
Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE said: “This is my third year as a judge at TriForce Short Film Festival and it's fantastic to be back at this BAFTA held event. The standard is improving every year and it's always encouraging to see so much new talent coming through. I'm proud to be playing my part in supporting the next generation of British film makers and looking forward to working with the winners to make these Shorts.”
All prize winners also receive a copy of Hit Film Pro, a VFX and editing software to help them with their next project, as well as a free subscription to online film academy, Indie Film Hustle.
Minnie Ayres, COO of TriForce Creative Network, said: “We were overwhelmed by the quality of films at this year’s festival. It was incredibly difficult for our judging panel to decide on the winners but we think these films really stood out. It’s fantastic to see such a diverse range of stories and story-tellers and I believe that having a more diverse judging panel results in a wider range of films being recognized for their quality and originality.”
Actor Chizzy Akudolu added: “TriForce Short Film Festival is brilliant. It’s always such a great night, it’s all about inclusivity and everyone has such a great time. There’s a total mix of films, and it’s the best showcase for short films in this country.”
Judge David Gyasi said; “It's been an honour to be part of the judging panel for this year's TriForce Short Film Festival. I’m a firm believer in supporting and promoting inclusion in the film industry, which is exactly what this festival is about. It’s great to see so many high-quality films coming through, especially from filmmakers from under-represented backgrounds and I’m proud to be a part of the Festival, which is really driving change towards increased inclusion.”
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.
TFSFF, which is a career development focused initiative, is supported by a number of high profile companies and organisations as partners for this year’s festival, including Professor Stefan Allesch Taylor CBE, Creative England, BFI, C21 Media, Into Film Shorts TV, Spark Media, the Mama Youth Project, the National Film and Television School, Indie Film Hustle, HitFilm, Miffy Moments, Popcorn Kitchen, The Athenaeum Hotel, Nails Inc, who will be providing seminar speakers, prizes, opportunities and guidance to entrants and attendees, as well as supporting seminars, awards and the industry expo room at BAFTA.